Defiant Ninja Vampires Soars Past Dumbo

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Defiant Ninja Vampires

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Yes, Disney’s Dumbo was expected to soar to the top of the box office, pink bubbly elephants and all. And, if the plucky elephant couldn’t top the charts, surely Jordan Peele’s Us or Marvel’s Captain Marvel would make a triumphant return to No. 1, right?

Instead, Defiant Ninja Vampires—a movie starring Taylor Kitsch, April Tontos, an undead Edward G. Robinson and Bill Murray as President Herbert Hoover—defied all sensible prognostications and landed at No. 1, banking an impressive $70 million en route.

Even with such a haul, the romantic horror docu-drama still has some work to do: Director Christopher Nolan reportedly spent $400 million to craft this passion project of his (based, reportedly, on a dream he had when he was 8 years old). He notoriously refused to utilize CGI for Ninja Vampires, and, I mean, let’s face it: Training poodles to snorkel probably doesn’t come cheap. And who could forget the gigantic Jell-O sculpture of legendary Plugged In writer Bob Hoose that forms such an integral part of the Prague-based subplot? Who even sells Jell-O molds that large? And how did they get Bob Hoose to hold still long enough to make it?

The success of Defiant Ninja Vampires notwithstanding, Dumbo had a fine outing. The Disney movie earned an estimated $45 million en route to its second-place finish—not exactly peanuts, though those numbers were a bit below what tracking for the film had suggested ahead of time. Two former No. 1 films, Us and Captain Marvel, finished third and fourth respectively. Us got the upper hand and carved up another $33.6 million, bringing its North American haul to $128.2 million. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel collected $20.5 million, which pushed its own domestic total to $353.8 million. Moreover, Marvel’s second-most famous captain has earned nearly twice that much overseas, bringing the movie’s overall tally to near the $1 billion mark. (The movie now stands at $990.6 million.)

Five Feet Apart closed out the top five, finishing just a hair ahead of the upstart Christian R-rated, pro-life movie Unplanned: (Five Feet earned about $6.3 million, compared to $6.1 for Unplanned.) Fittingly, the latter movie’s success was definitely unplanned for many: While its box-office take was not as unexpected as Defiant Ninja Vampires, of course, the Christian flick more than doubled what most prognosticators were predicting, and it did so without help from much marketing. Several television networks, including Lifetime, Hallmark and HGTV, turned down ads for the controversial film. Still, distributor Pure Flix has announced that the film will be expanding by about 650 screens for its second weekend in theaters.

The Beach Bum, the weekend’s other wide-release, finished well outside the top five, banking a rather dismal $1.8 million. Clearly, this Matthew McConaughey stoner comedy is far from all right, all right, all right.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 7 months ago
Saw Dumbo this weekend and really liked it. Wasn't quite as awesome as I was expecting it to be, and did take a while to get off, but once it did it was very cool and quite emotional as well. Most of the adults in the movie had to grow on me, but I absolutely adored the little girl and Dumbo right away. All in all it was a nice retelling of the classic movie with plenty of awesome flying scenes and a really suspenseful escape at the end too. Not to mention a scene where someone quotes part of Hamlet (being a huge Shakespeare fan I definitely appreciated that). When it comes to live action Disney remakes Beauty and the Beast still reigns supreme and even Tim Burton's own Alice in Wonderland might be better than Dumbo, but it's at least on par with Maleficent and Pan, and sure beats the stuffing out of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, so all in all it's a movie definitely worth seeing with lots of heart, lots of sweet adorable moments, and of course lots of cool looking flying scenes too.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Yeah, uh, about Pan. It wasn’t a live action Disney remake.
Anonymous 7 months ago
For me it was a retelling of the Peter Pan Disney film from the 50s.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Or maybe it was a retelling of the British story made by Warner Bros (Disney is actually working on their own remake of Peter Pan, via Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery).
Anonymous 6 months ago
I know all about the original book by James Barrie, have read it several times in my life, but for me the Pan movie will always be a fresh retelling of the original 1953 Disney classic. To me all these live action Disney updates have tweaked the original animated versions and given them completely new storylines to work with. To be fair some of them may have stayed closer to the original novels than the actual animated versions of them, but since it's the animated version that's the most popular I don't consider it a remake of the book. I'm sure the new versions of Aladdin, The Lion King and Lady and the Tramp (all of which are supposed to come out this year) will do the exact same thing.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

It's fine to say that Pan feels like a remake of the 50s animated Disney film. I'm just saying that it's incorrect to say that Pan IS a remake of the Disney's animated film.
Anonymous 7 months ago
LOL! Had me there until the part about the sculpture of Bob Hoose in Defiant Ninja Zombies! Good one!
-C
Anonymous 7 months ago
Funnily enough, there is a zombie movie starring Bill Murray coming later this year. So I guess you "Defiant Ninja Vampires" joke wasn't actually that far off...

-Evan
Karl The Klown 7 months ago
Haha! I know. Really looking forward to it.
Did you see the first Zombieland?
Julienne Dy 7 months ago
Mr. Asay, if you were trying to be clever, I just thought I ought to let you know that Tantos is Spanish for "so many."  Spanish for "fools" is "Tontos."
Paul Asay 7 months ago
You rock. Changing now. Awkward ...
Karl The Klown 7 months ago
*off topic*
RIP Nipsey Hussle.
Anonymous 7 months ago
RIP

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Kind of ironic how Disney released a movie about a larger corporation buying and eating up a smaller one, when just a couple weeks ago Disney was the studio that bought out Fox.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I'm just going to say it. Dumbo is Dumb. I will not be seeing the remake as it looks completely changed from the original (which I am OK with). And that really stinks because Michael Keaton/Batman/Vulture is one of my favorite actors!

Oh well.

Anyway. People should just stay home and watch the key MCU films in preparation for the biggest movie of the last 7 years! (The Dark Knight Rises came out in 2012 so what can you do?)

It makes me much happier than a Christopher Nolan film did better than Dumbo. And it's hilarious that the movie that beat what should have been one of Disney's biggest films is called Defiant Ninja Vampires! I also had never heard of the film until I just read the article.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Or, they could not and instead read a book, catch up on homework, spend time with family, or replay Horizon Zero Dawn on Ultra Hard mode (the latter applying to myself).
Anonymous 7 months ago
These are all possibilities. Just don't waste time with dumb Dumbo.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 7 months ago
@Mouse
That Chris Nolan film is a April Fool joke XD
Anonymous 7 months ago
Wait. Wut. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
OH, MY WORD! They had me. They really had me. I knew I should have looked it up first. Dang.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 7 months ago
Hahaha! Same. I was all over IMDB thinking "What the heck....oh..."
Anonymous 7 months ago
Hahaha! Yep. I went and looked all over it once I saw your post.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
charitysplace 7 months ago

Ha, ha, Plugged In. Ha. ;)


I saw Dumbo yesterday. I laughed and cried my way throughit. For me, it was a beautiful experience. I absolutely loved it. I haven'tbeen impressed with the Disney remakes before (except Maleficent) but I enjoyedseeing a brand new story with vague homages to the original.