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.