Steve Carell's 'Welcome to Marwen' suffered the worst box office opening for a studio movie this year

UniversalSteve Carell in ‘Welcome to Marwen.’
  • Director Robert Zemeckis’ “Welcome to Marwen” only earned $US2.35 million at the domestic box office.
  • That’s the lowest opening by a major studio this year, beating the $US2.39 million earned by Paramount’s “Action Point” in June.
  • It’s also the second-straight box office bomb for Universal releases, following the weak opening last week by “Mortal Engines.”
  • For Zemeckis, it marks the director’s third straight release that has been a box office failure.

The problem with having a diverse slate of movies is that some will strike out. And Universal is definitely in a slump, with two box office bombs in the last two weeks.

The latest was over the weekend with the most recent film from director Robert Zemeckis, “Welcome to Marwen.” The Steve Carell-starring, CGI-heavy adaptation of the acclaimed 2010 documentary, “Marwencol,” focuses on a man who heals from a vicious attack by creating a mini World War II-era town. Though the movie was right up the alley of the director of “Forrest Gump,” it failed to grab audiences, earning only $US2.35 million domestically over the weekend on 1,911 screens.

That beat out Paramount’s “Action Point,” which was released in June, as the lowest opening weekend performance by a major studio this year. The Johnny Knoxville comedy earned $US2.39 million on 1,176 screens in its opening.

Mortal engines UniversalUniversal‘Mortal Engines’ was a bust for Universal last week.

“Marwen” follows Universal’s release a week ago for the Peter Jackson-produced “Mortal Engines.” The $US100 million-plus CGI-spectacle only earned $US42.3 million worldwide in its opening. It could potentially lose the studio (and the movie’s other financiers) up to $US150 million.

Read more: “Aquaman” tops “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” to become king of the weekend box office

Though that’s two straight weeks of busts for Universal, the studio, which prides itself on releasing a diverse mix of titles every year (2018’s slate ranged from the musical “Mama Mia: Here We Go Again” to the horror “Halloween” to the blockbuster “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” to holiday season hit “The Grinch”), is still one of the biggest earners this year among the major studios.

The weak performance by “Marwen” may be more hurtful going forward for Zemeckis.

Brad pitt marion cotillard alliedParamount Pictures‘Allied’ was also a box office failure for director Robert Zemeckis.

It marks the third straight release by the legendary director that has underperformed. The 2016 spy drama, “Allied,” starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, only had a $US12.7 million domestic opening and ended up only having a $US119.5 million worldwide gross.

2015’s “The Walk,” an adaptation of the Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire,” only had a $US3.7 million opening when it eventually had its wide release. It went on to make only $US61.1 million worldwide.

With a recent track record like this, it’s likely studios will react more cautiously to Zemeckis’ future ambitious movie ideas.

Universal had no comment for this story.

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