Tim Burton's new movie about an orphanage for fantastically gifted kids is expected to debut at the head of its class at the box office this weekend, expelling last week's victor, "The Magnificent Seven," from the top of the charts.
"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," from 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment, is expected to gross $25 million to $30 million in its opening in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed prerelease audience surveys. That should be enough to unseat Sony and MGM's western remake starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, which bowed to $35 million and is expected to drop about 50% in its second go-around.
"Miss Peregrine," adapted from the popular fantasy novel by Ransom Riggs, cost $110 million to make. Though it boasts high interest and parallels to the "X-Men" and "Harry Potter" series, it remains to be seen if the film will prove popular enough to start a Hollywood franchise. Critics have given the PG-13 movie mixed reviews so far.
A strong debut for "Miss Peregrine" would be a positive omen for Burton, whose darkly quirky films haven't enjoyed much commercial success since his 2010 3-D megahit, "Alice in Wonderland."
Also opening this weekend is "Deepwater Horizon," the Mark Wahlberg action movie about the BP oil-spill disaster of 2010. The big-budget Lionsgate movie is likely to open with $16 million to $20 million in domestic ticket sales, according to analysts. It cost more than $100 million to make, after factoring in tax credits.
"Deepwater," which focuses on the members of the crew on the ill-fated rig in the Gulf of Mexico, is a major gamble for the companies behind it, at a time when the big funding typically goes to superhero movies and other franchise material rather than original ideas based on recent news events. But the filmmakers are hoping generally positive reviews (88% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), the heroic themes and Wahlberg's star power will bolster long-term prospects for the picture.
Movies about American heroes can surprise at the box office, with Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks' "Sully" as the latest example. "Sully," about airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger, has grossed an impressive $92 million since it was released Sept. 9.
"Deepwater" is directed by Peter Berg, whose last effort, "Lone Survivor" (also starring Wahlberg), was a major heartland hit in 2013. Lorenzo di Bonaventura of "Transformers" fame produced the "Deepwater" film for Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment, with co-financing from Participant Media.
Relativity Studios will try to alleviate its post-bankruptcy woes this week with the debut of "Masterminds," a comedy featuring Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig. It's expected to debut with less than $10 million, a modest start for a comedy with two high-profile stars.
The movie had originally been scheduled for release last summer, but was held in limbo as Ryan Kavanaugh's studio languished in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company's previous offering, "The Disappointments Room," faltered this month with $2.3 million in ticket sales.
Also, Walt Disney's "Queen of Katwe" expands to more theaters this weekend, hoping to draw a bigger audience to the critically acclaimed movie about a young girl in a Uganda slum who becomes a formidable chess player. Expectations are set at about $5 million for this weekend, after the movie posted tepid results from its limited run last week. It opened to $305,000 from 52 theaters, but has enjoyed rave reviews for its inspirational story and a stellar A+ audience rating from polling firm CinemaScore.