Dark Shadows Gets Staked at the Box Office
Last night I attended a midnight screening of Dark Shadows. Opening weekend of a big budget Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie, and there were all of seven people in the theater, myself included. Yeah, that’s not a good sign.
This was a great weekend at the box office if your movie was called The Avengers. The Marvel superhero dream team mega blockbuster broke box office records last weekend for highest opening weekend of all time with over $200 million, and this weekend it broke even more records, becoming the first film to make over $100 million in its second weekend.
The only thing Dark Shadows broke was hearts. The hearts of diehard fans of the late Sixties Gothic soap opera upset to see their beloved program made into a big screen comedy. The hearts of “Dark Shadows” fans Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, who had hoped audience would flock to a film that both paid loving tribute to the show while poking fun at its inherent campiness. And the hearts of Warner Brothers, as they spent reportedly somewhere between $150-$175 million producing Dark Shadows, and the opening weekend take probably won’t even cover the marketing expenses.
Despite the name brand that is “A Tim Burton Film” and starring Johnny Depp, generally regarded as one of the only movie stars who can truly open an event film, Dark Shadows underperformed with a highly disappointing $28.5 million second place finish for the weekend, so sayeth Box Office Mojo.
I’m sure many questions will be asked as to why Dark Shadows didn’t open better than it did. Was it because “Dark Shadows” isn’t really that well known to today’s moviegoers? Was it because of the middling reviews? Was it because Warner Brothers waited so late to even so much as put out a trailer for it? Was it because everyone still had Avengers fever and weren’t interested in a Goth vampire fish-out-of-water comedy? Was it because horror comedies are such a hard sell that even the combined box office might of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp couldn’t make it a hit? Was it because people just didn’t like what they were seeing in previews?
I’ll leave that debate to you and the executives at Warner Brother, who, no doubt, are crossing their fingers that Depp is a big enough box office powerhouse internationally to not make Dark Shadows a financial boondoggle.
Speaking of financial boondoggle’s relying on international box office, Battleship sets sail at American theaters next weekend. Word-of-mouth from those that have already seen it overseas is not good at all, and the film is tracking softly, not boding well for its opening weekend. How many headlines next week will feature some variation of the “you sank my battleship” line?
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