A Wrinkle in Time May Be in Trouble at Second Place in Box Office Debut

When “Black Panther” made its record-smashing $201 million start last month, it was expected to easily keep the No. 1 spot at the box office until Disney released its next film, Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” But as Madeleine L’Engle’s famous science fantasy adaptation gets ready to enter theaters on 3,980 screens this weekend, that expectation may have been premature.

When tracking for “A Wrinkle in Time” first came out three weeks ago, opening weekend estimates were set at approximately $35 million against a production budget of at least $103 million, according to California Film Commission reports. Despite Disney’s usually intense marketing campaign which included TV and digital spots throughout NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage, tracking has remained stuck in the mid-30 range.

With a start like that, the closest comp for “Wrinkle in Time” would be Disney’s 2015 flop “Tomorrowland,” which opened to $33 million and ended up making $209.1 million against a $190 million budget before marketing costs. While “Wrinkle in Time” cost less to make, it’s not the ideal start for a film directed by an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, “Wonder Woman” star Chris Pine and rising actress Storm Reid as the young female lead.

Also, while many Disney releases have had the advantage of good word-of-mouth before release thanks to reviews, the word from advance screenings has been muted. Disney has set the review embargo for “Wrinkle in Time” to drop on Wednesday morning, as opposed to three days before release for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and 10 days for “Black Panther.” Advance screening attendees have been allowed to discuss the film on social media, but response on Twitter has been sparse and mixed.

“This movie’s really going to need good word-of-mouth from the opening weekend crowd for it to do well,” said Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock. “It’s got Oprah in it, but the trailers have been very confusing and the film is coming out at a time when audiences just haven’t shown a lot of interest in movies based on YA novels.”

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Source: The Wrap