Monday, 19 October 2015

Box Office: Why Crimson Peak Just Flopped

In spite of a loyal fanbase that follows him from project-to-project and avidly defends even his weakest work, Guillermo Del Toro seems to be a director who simply can't strike a chord with mainstream audiences. This unfortunate fact really hits home when you take a look at the opening numbers of Del Toro's new release Crimson Peak, as the $55 million film brought in a meagre $12.8 million over the weekend. This of course isn't hugely surprising, given that Del Toro's recent directing gigs Pacific Rim and Hellboy II also underperformed at the box office in such a way that has left both franchises in dangerous territory.

Indeed, to the relief of fans across the world a sequel to Pacific Rim was greenlit back in 2014, however just last month the film was pulled from Universal's release calendar with many speculating that the project is shaping up to be too expensive after the first film only barely turned a profit. Meanwhile, star Ron Perlman has been aggressively campaigning for a third Hellboy film for some time now, but after the underwhelming haul of the second instalment combined with Crimson Peak adding another box office disappointment to Del Toro's filmography, Perlman's much-desired sequel seems further away than ever before.

There were other indicators that Crimson Peak might not have been the box office win that Del Toro arguably needs to keep himself credible to studio executives. Most notably, Del Toro himself admitted that the film is 'harder to market' than other recent horror features and it was because of this that the director took a 30% pay cut in order to get the film made. Speaking of the largely dormant gothic romance genre that Peak falls into, Del Toro told Little White Lies magazine:
It's a very cagey genre because if you go expecting pure romance, there's a lot of human and emotional darkness in it. But if you go expecting a straight horror movie, it's more atmospheric than it is purely scary. It's a genre that is harder to market.
The 'cagey' nature of the gothic romance genre may have played havoc with audience expectations, and could have been the reason for the film's B- CinemaScore - for those unaware, the strange grading system used by the polling service essentially deems anything lower than an A as poor.

Then there was the competition: namely Goosebumps. While seemingly a film for younger audiences, the Jack Black horror comedy could have drawn people away from Del Toro's darker offering as many adults grew up reading R. L. Stine's popular series of horror stories. Perhaps this is also an indication that after hitting a slump with the critical and commercial flops Gulliver's Travels and The Big Year, audiences are finally ready to once again embrace Jack Black, who not only bested Peak stars Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska but also one of Hollywood's brightest stars as Tom Hanks' Bridge of Spies settled for number three.

Things look bleak for the gothic horror moving forward, with competition from Vin Diesel's The Last Witch Hunter and the final Paranormal Activity film just a week away. Perhaps international sales could give the film a boost as was the case with Del Toro's last film Pacific Rim, but that is far from a sure bet.

Elsewhere at the box office, the aforementioned Goosebumps took the top spot with $23.5 million in ticket sales knocking Ridley Scott's The Martian to number two after a fortnight in the top spot. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks latest collaboration Bridge of Spies debuted slightly lower than expected but due to it's likelihood of awards recognition should turnover a solid profit by the end of its run. In its second week, Pan saw a drop of 61% all but confirming its 'box office flop' status. The Steve Jobs biopic simply titled Steve Jobs expanded to 60 locations sending it surging up the chart to number eleven with a solid per theater average of $25,833. In comparison, the debut of Idris Elba's controversial drama Beasts of No Nation seems underwhelming as the film's per theater average was a mere $1,635; however its worth remembering that having been simultaneously released on Netflix the film may have been seen by more people than these figures would suggest.

Here's the top ten in full:

1. (-) Goosebumps - $23.5 million
2. (1) The Martian - $21.5 million
3. (-) Bridge of Spies - $15.3 million
4. (-) Crimson Peak - $12.8 million
5. (2) Hotel Transylvania 2 - $12.2 million
6. (3) Pan - $5.8 million
7. (4) The Intern - $5.4 million
8. (5) Sicario - $4.5 million
9. (-) Woodlawn - $4.1 million
10. (6) The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - $2.7 million



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