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Audiences slam door on Welcome to Marwen; Film expected to lose $50+ million

Hope everyone had a happy holiday filled with warmth, family, gifts and a delicious Roast Beast. If you did, then you’re certainly having a better time than Universal Pictures, as they are yet again looking down the barrel of yet another costly bomb with their new movie, WELCOME TO MARWEN. Scorched by terrible critic reviews the movie from director Robert Zemeckis is having a disastrous opening after making about $2.5 million through the weekend, with analysts (via Deadline) believing it could lose as much as $50-60 million by the end of its run.

Starring Steve Carell, this true story follows Mark Hogancamp, who after being savagely beaten by some thugs one night, deals with his memory loss and PTSD by building a makeshift WWII-era town and filling it with people from his life. Along with Carell, the movie stars Leslie Mann, Janelle Monae, Merritt Wever, Eisa Gonzalez, Diane Kruger, Gwendoline Christie and more. Hoping to get some Oscar love (at least in the tech categories), the movie is now expected to lose about as much as it cost to make, with the movie having an estimated global cost of about $60 million, including advertising.

MARWEN's opening is the worst of the year for Universal and their second major bomb of the season after last week’s abysmal debut of the big-budget action movie MORTAL ENGINES, which opened to about $7.5 million last weekend and has plummeted even further at the B.O. After a 77% drop, the movie has now made $12 million domestically and $55 million around the world and is expected to lose over $100 million when all is said and done. MARWEN could have an equally big drop, meaning it may struggle to get to $10 million domestically. 

MARWEN’s failure isn’t just a negative for Universal. Zemeckis has not been having a great time at the box office recently, with this being his third straight disappointment at the B.O. First, his 2015 movie THE WALK (which like MARWEN, was also based on a story that was first an acclaimed documentary) made only $61 million globally off a $35 million production budget (before marketing), followed by 2016’s ALLIED with Brad Pitt, which did better with $120 million globally, but off a near $90 million budget.

While holiday movies can often start low and have a solid run going into January, things will likely stop for MARWEN before they start. Coming off both terrible critical and audience reactions, viewers will likely flock to the other, bigger holiday releases, like AQUAMAN or BUMBLEBEE. But in hindsight, things were always looking bad for MARWEN. A tough sell from the get-go, this movie that meshed live-action and CGI was always a bit too high-concept for typical audiences of the simple, life-affirming drama. As a result, people looking for a feel-good movie likely went to MARY POPPINS, while thrill-seekers went for the other blockbusters out there. Thank god for that JURASSIC WORLD money. 

WELCOME TO MARWEN is currently in theaters (but probably not for long).

Source: Deadline

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