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CGI elephant in live-action Dumbo

Disney is about to fly high with its own brand of live-action nostalgia this year with four of its kind, including remakes for Aladdin, The Lion King and a sequel to Maleficent. Tim Burton’s take on the 1941 classic, Dumbo is starting things off, and it's kicked off its box office run with a debut of $2.6 million during Thursday night screenings starting at 6pm.

While these early numbers are on the low side compared to where Disney live-action films have previously soared on opening night, per Deadline, the circus-set flick has been tracking between $40 and $60 million for its debut weekend. Dumbo’s $2.6 million is just ahead of the live-action Cinderella’s $2.3 million evening entrance back in 2015, which went on to open at $67.5 million. Dumbo has already made double of last year’s Christopher Robin and Alice Through the Looking Glass, both of which took $1.5 million on their Thursday nights.

This debut is behind the early earnings of The Jungle Book, which made $4.2 million on preview night before a huge $103.2 million opening, and Tim Burton’s other Disney reimagining, 2010’s Alice In Wonderland, which stole away $116.1 million in its first weekend. No other live-action Disney flick has touched Beauty and the Beast’s Thursday night preview record of $16.3 million before dancing into a magical $174 million opening weekend.

Dumbo comes up against Jordan Peele’s buzzy horror film Us, which opened at No. 1 last weekend at $94.6 million and even topped Dumbo last night by making $4.5 million on Thursday alone. The two titles benefit from targeting different audiences, and the Disney flick will be the first new family film to open in two weeks.

Box Office Mojo believes Dumbo will soar over Us this weekend for the top spot, perhaps as audiences are ready to recover from the terrifying doppelganger home-invasion thriller. Us is said to take the second spot and Captain Marvel is expected to still make bank as well. Dumbo has the benefit of opening next to the Matthew McConaughey-led stoner comedy, The Beach Bum, which has suffered brutal reviews thus far and made just $200K last night in Thursday night previews.

Globally, Dumbo should do well for itself too, as it is tracking to make $140 million during its first weekend opening in foreign markets, including China. It certainly helps that the movie starring the adorable circus elephant has received positive praise from critics. CinemaBlend’s own Jessica Rawden gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars in her review and the film has a green-splat of 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, so the consensus isn’t exactly glowing.

Dumbo marks Tim Burton’s first movie since 2016’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and a continued collaboration with Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton after Batman Returns. The film now in theaters also stars Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins.

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