Spielberg's BFG Flops at Box Office

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Spielberg's BFG Flops at Box Office

The BFG CineMarter #1

The BFG debuted at number 4 this weekend, behind Finding Dory, The Legend of Tarzan and The Purge: Election Year.

Our own Matthew Parkinson said that The BFG is one of the worst movies of Steven Spielberg's career, and it seems like it may also be his worst performing movie. The adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's book debuted at number 4 at the box office this weekend, behind Finding Dory, The Legend of Tarzan and The Purge: Election Year.

It pulled in a mere $19.6 million, which considering it boasted a production budget of $140 million, is a pretty major flop no matter what way you look at it.

Here's the top ten for the weekend:

  1. Finding Dory $41.9 million
  2. The Legend of Tarzan $38.1 million
  3. The Purge: Election Year $30.9 million
  4. The BFG $19.6 million
  5. Independence Day: Resurgence $16.5 million
  6. Central Intelligence $12.3 million
  7. The Shallows $9 million
  8. Free State of Jones $4.1 million
  9. The Conjuring 2 $3.9 million
  10. Now You See Me 2 $3 million

Source: Comscore

Permalink

Wow, Independence Day is under-preforming hard and they barely edged their second week out on its first. To say nothing of this big Disney family movie making less then The Purge, and not by a small margin either.

I mean Tomorrowland under-performed last year, but this is a straight up flop. Disney's home brand for live action doesn't seem to be doing well.

Owww...

Anyone besides me think even the name might not of helped? Sorry, but when you say BFG all I'm thinking of is the Doom Gun. I actually wonder how many people were more confused rather than interested by that name.

Good lord, it did worse than the Purge II. Part of me wants to blame the weekend (its a major camping long weekend in both Canada and the US) but at the same time. It did worse than the Purge II.

Case in point: First post completely ignores the subject of the topic and talks about independence day instead, and I didn't even know this movie existed until I read this post. Also, 'BFG' only mean one thing in mind.

kajinking:
might not of helped?

Absolutely disgusting. You're supposed to be a native speaker.

kajinking:
Owww...

Anyone besides me think even the name might not of helped? Sorry, but when you say BFG all I'm thinking of is the Doom Gun. I actually wonder how many people were more confused rather than interested by that name.

Ummm... Believe it or not, the majority of people who this movie is aimed towards aren't gamers who have played the new Doom. Those people will default to thinking about the famous book by Roald Dahl, rather than a singular feature in a game.

To be honest, I had never heard of this so called "beloved classic" before I saw a Regal Cinema FirstLook thing when i went to see Warcraft and Independence Day 2. Of course, the damn thing came out... what, over 30 years ago now?

Perhaps not so relevant to society in general anymore, is what I'm saying.

praisegrima

I guess Dahl's books just don't connect with a filmgoing audience? I mean, besides "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" 2005 and maybe "Matilda", what Dahl adaptations have been more successful than cult classic status?

This strikes me as something we shouldn't have guessed would be a runaway smash or anything.

karkashan:
To be honest, I had never heard of this so called "beloved classic" before I saw a Regal Cinema FirstLook thing when i went to see Warcraft and Independence Day 2. Of course, the damn thing came out... what, over 30 years ago now?

Perhaps not so relevant to society in general anymore, is what I'm saying.

praisegrima

Right; that's why they stopped making Planet of the Apes movies in 1998, right? And it's not like anyone makes movies about Narnia, or World War 2, or the Bible.

"Old" doesn't mean "nonexistent".

I think Spielberg has simply tipped over the brink of sentimentality now that he's a Granddad. He completely missed the point with Tintin, almost wrecked Bridge of Spies with that stupid final scene, and now this.

karkashan:
To be honest, I had never heard of this so called "beloved classic"... Of course, the damn thing came out... what, over 30 years ago now?

Perhaps not so relevant to society in general anymore, is what I'm saying.

praisegrima

Unlike, say, The Hobbit, which came out seventy five years before the movie? I don't really think time has anything to do with it. You could adapt a Jules Verne novel tomorrow and it would still be capable of entrancing a modern audience.

Tbis could be down to marketing, as I wouldn't have even known it was out if it wasn't for this site reviewing it. Whereas the new Tarzan is marketed up the arse everywhere. Plus, as fond a memory that Roald Dahl books have given me, I wouldn't pay to see them in the big screen, they are not really cinema material. Though James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the chocolate factory, the witches etc were all fun movies, they don't seem like experiences that a cinema would enhance. The BFG isn't his best to be honest. And only certain gamers know of Doom's BFG, it isn't as general a knowledge as Roald Dahl books are...I thought anyway. Damn millenials and their distrust of books that aren't harry potter!
Fun fact: I own a double book of Charlie and the chocolate factory/Charlie and the great glass elevator who's cover intentionally has a chocolate scent. Hows that for a useless gimmick? ;)

I would think that anyone who believed that the movie somehow related to the game Doom deserves to be out $14.

The movie looks cute, but I wouldn't go to a theater to see it. This kind of movie will likely see a majority of its sales in blu-ray releases. This looks like one of those movies that kids pop into a blu-ray player and watch over and over and over again. I can't speak for the actual quality of the movie since I haven't seen it, but the commercials for it display some very stunning visual designs.

In regards to advertisement I am not surprised at all that the movie underperformed. I only know about it because of a random commercial on some channel I can't even remember. This wasn't covered at all online like other similar movies usually are.

Wasn't even a big original Doom player and I automatically linked BFG to the gun rather than a Roald Dahl book I'd never heard of. In all honesty, didn't even realize Roald Dahl had written Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, etc. I'd seen the movies (including the creepy Johnny Depp remake), but they were just so boring in my opinion that I never bothered pursuing the source material. To clarify though, I don't mean boring as in snooze-fest, I mean boring as in they have no value to me personally to watch more than once.

Xsjadoblayde:
Whereas the new Tarzan is marketed up the arse everywhere.

I agree with this wholeheartedly, Tarzan and Independence Day: Resurgence have/had ad spots everywhere.

Evonisia:
I guess Dahl's books just don't connect with a filmgoing audience? I mean, besides "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" 2005 and maybe "Matilda", what Dahl adaptations have been more successful than cult classic status?

This strikes me as something we shouldn't have guessed would be a runaway smash or anything.

I'd like to mention 'The Witches'. Can't be called a classic, but it's a cult movie for quite a few people now. And from all the Dahl adaptions I've seen, this one captures the threat of the book the best. Seriously, there are loads of dark and scary moments for a children's book.

I guess I will give it a watch if I got the time for it seeing how I loved the cartoon film.

When is Finding Dory coming out to the UK?

EvilRoy:
Good lord, it did worse than the Purge II. Part of me wants to blame the weekend (its a major camping long weekend in both Canada and the US) but at the same time. It did worse than the Purge II.

Purge III, actually... Them again, no one remembers the first one with Ethan Hawk in it, anyway... :p

OT: I haven't seen any of those movies listed, but that ranking seems appropriate somehow...

Other than that, I guess we'll never get a proper adaptation to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator now, let alone The Twits... At least we still got Willy Wonka, James, Matilda, The Witches, Mr. Fox, and the animated BFG...

As a huge fan of the original BFG Movie (starring David Jason.) I'm really not sure why this was made, the original's animation still looks good.

Hell I would even say it looks better than this one.

Evonisia:
I guess Dahl's books just don't connect with a filmgoing audience? I mean, besides "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" 2005 and maybe "Matilda", what Dahl adaptations have been more successful than cult classic status?

This strikes me as something we shouldn't have guessed would be a runaway smash or anything.

Yeah, Roald Dahl adaptations have had a spotty record. Pretty much the first thing that came to mind too.

Though I guess the surprise was more due to it also being a Spielberg film. Then again, he's not the movie juggernaut he once was anymore (at least not in terms of critical and commercial success).

I also think the name had at least something to do with it. They should have no shortened it. Not because of confusion regarding "Doom", the target audience isn't really 18+ gamers after all, but because it just doesn't sound very much like a childs movie, which are the target audience.
"Big friendly giant" would have been a better title in my mind. It's immediatly clear that it's a childs-movie.

Looking at this thread I am shocked, SHOCKED that so few people had even heard of the BFG. Maybe it's because I was a massive bookworm as a kid. I loved Roald Dahl books, his stories were so much fun. Even enjoyed the movies, like Matilda, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches...

Buuut if many people haven't heard of the BFG I can understand why this flopped. I'd heard about it, but seeing Disney make all these live action CG movies just kills my interest.

... Although if somebody could make a good adaptation of a Roald Dahl book, I would LOVE to see George's Marvelous Medicine on screen, that one's definitely my favorite.

... Maybe a 10 minute animated short of The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me

Yeah, this book was never a part of my childhood, I only heard about it lately through the Internet (after being very confused for a bit)

Why not call it a 'Big Friendly Giant'? Might have gotten more families watching it... I saw some posters about a 'IKJ' movie which just looked confusing... That poster would likely make a parent go 'so, uh is this for kids or..?'

kajinking:
Sorry, but when you say BFG all I'm thinking of is the Doom Gun. I actually wonder how many people were more confused rather than interested by that name.

If more people associate "BFG" with Doom that Roald Dahl, then that's a pretty sad sate of affairs in the cultural gestalt.

Evonisia:
I guess Dahl's books just don't connect with a filmgoing audience? I mean, besides "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" 2005 and maybe "Matilda", what Dahl adaptations have been more successful than cult classic status?

James and the Giant Peach?

Also, I haven't seen many people discuss the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with much fondness.

JemothSkarii:
Looking at this thread I am shocked, SHOCKED that so few people had even heard of the BFG. Maybe it's because I was a massive bookworm as a kid. I loved Roald Dahl books, his stories were so much fun. Even enjoyed the movies, like Matilda, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches...

You're not the only one. I absolutely adored Dahl's works as a child, and I still have a high regard for them today. The film adaptations have been pretty good as well - James and the Giant Peach, Danny, the Champion of the World, the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda, which, IMO, actually surpasses the book it's based on.

JemothSkarii:
... Although if somebody could make a good adaptation of a Roald Dahl book, I would LOVE to see George's Marvelous Medicine on screen, that one's definitely my favorite.

Disagree there though - I can't see you getting much more than a short based on that. It's based more on humour than anything else - George shrinks his grandma, and she continues shrinking, story over.

Speaking personally, a Dahl work I'd love an adaptation of would be The Minpins. It's a work I don't see discussed nearly as much as the others, and I think it has great potential for a good adventure story, if one extends the story for the required running time.

JemothSkarii:
I would LOVE to see George's Marvelous Medicine on screen, that one's definitely my favorite.

Me too, but I think they'd have big problems getting it made because of the safety issues. Any kid ingests a whole bunch of household chemicals in the hope of getting fireworks coming out of their mouth, the film makes would have a big lawsuit on their hands. (Obviously the same is true of the book, but there's so much more money in films it would be a bigger risk)

There was rather a good 'Jackanory' series in which GMM was read out by Rik Mayall:

Recusant:

Right; that's why they stopped making Planet of the Apes movies in 1998, right? And it's not like anyone makes movies about Narnia, or World War 2, or the Bible.

"Old" doesn't mean "nonexistent".

karkashan:
To be honest, I had never heard of this so called "beloved classic" before I saw a Regal Cinema FirstLook thing when i went to see Warcraft and Independence Day 2. Of course, the damn thing came out... what, over 30 years ago now?

In fairness to both of you, I'm not entirely sure how much relevance Dahls work has outside of the UK. His books were a staple of my early childhood and most of my friends have certainly heard of/read them. My non UK friends....not so much. It's entirely possible it just doesn't have the appeal outside of the states, as Charlie and Chocolate factory is the only one that's famous to any degree. Plus Finding Dory is out at the same time and children are more likely to want to see that in this moment in time.

I'm with the other people in the thread who hated the name because I also thought of the BFG 9000. That gun has been around since I believe 1994 and the only Dahl movie I'd heard of was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Only in this thread did I learn he was behind Matilda and James And the Giant Peach (capitalized the second And due to an and also separating the two movies).

elvor0:
In fairness to both of you, I'm not entirely sure how much relevance Dahls work has outside of the UK. His books were a staple of my early childhood and most of my friends have certainly heard of/read them. My non UK friends....not so much. It's entirely possible it just doesn't have the appeal outside of the states, as Charlie and Chocolate factory is the only one that's famous to any degree. Plus Finding Dory is out at the same time and children are more likely to want to see that in this moment in time.

I can attest that Dahl is very big in Australia. In a place like Dymocks, if I look in the children's section (which doesn't happen that often admittedly), the shelves are full of Dahl books. And as someone who works in a library and processes a lot of children's books (shelving, loans, etc.), Dahl has always been present. There are more popular children's book series, true (Geronimo Stilton seems to be the most popular in that respective age range), but it wouldn't take me long to find a Dahl book on the shelves.

I suppose that maybe in the US Dahl isn't nearly as big, but is Doom really so big that a frickin' GUN that happens to be in a game is more popular/well known than a book that came out 11 years before Doom was released, and had a film adaptation 4 years prior as well? I suppose this being The Escapist, that would skew a lot to people who've at least heard of Doom, but, well, yeah. And I might as well admit that The BFG is probably my second favorite Dahl novel (Matilda would be the first), so I guess I have a vested interest in shouting my lamentations from the rooftops.

I don't know if the BFG story is more of a british thing (especially since the Queen is a pivotal character in the story) but seriously how the hell do so many people think of DOOM first when hearing BFG? Perhaps "BFG: The Big Friendly Giant" would have been a better title but I'd hope that people would see a big friendly looking giant on the poster rather than demons and work this shit out for themselves.

Maybe the whinging by "concerned" parents about children playing video games instead of reading books has had some truth to it all along if people are finding it too difficult to understand what this film is about and stupidly linking it to something that is obviously irrelevant.

Hawki:

elvor0:
In fairness to both of you, I'm not entirely sure how much relevance Dahls work has outside of the UK. His books were a staple of my early childhood and most of my friends have certainly heard of/read them. My non UK friends....not so much. It's entirely possible it just doesn't have the appeal outside of the states, as Charlie and Chocolate factory is the only one that's famous to any degree. Plus Finding Dory is out at the same time and children are more likely to want to see that in this moment in time.

I can attest that Dahl is very big in Australia. In a place like Dymocks, if I look in the children's section (which doesn't happen that often admittedly), the shelves are full of Dahl books. And as someone who works in a library and processes a lot of children's books (shelving, loans, etc.), Dahl has always been present. There are more popular children's book series, true (Geronimo Stilton seems to be the most popular in that respective age range), but it wouldn't take me long to find a Dahl book on the shelves.

I suppose that maybe in the US Dahl isn't nearly as big, but is Doom really so big that a frickin' GUN that happens to be in a game is more popular/well known than a book that came out 11 years before Doom was released, and had a film adaptation 4 years prior as well? I suppose this being The Escapist, that would skew a lot to people who've at least heard of Doom, but, well, yeah. And I might as well admit that The BFG is probably my second favorite Dahl novel (Matilda would be the first), so I guess I have a vested interest in shouting my lamentations from the rooftops.

Yeah, I don't think Dahl is nearly as big here in the US, especially if you don't pay attention to children's books. He's a common name, or at least he was when I was younger (probably far less so now), but the names of his actual works are far less enduring than his name itself. If I've ever heard of The BFG before, then it was probably something like fifteen-twenty years ago and I'd long since forgotten its existence because it's just not the sort of thing people talk about, around here at least.

Tbf, any kids film that comes out against Finding Dory is going to flop.

kajinking:
Owww...

Anyone besides me think even the name might not of helped? Sorry, but when you say BFG all I'm thinking of is the Doom Gun. I actually wonder how many people were more confused rather than interested by that name.

I still don't know what it's supposed to stand for. "Big Fucking Giant?"

Zydrate:

kajinking:
Owww...

Anyone besides me think even the name might not of helped? Sorry, but when you say BFG all I'm thinking of is the Doom Gun. I actually wonder how many people were more confused rather than interested by that name.

I still don't know what it's supposed to stand for. "Big Fucking Giant?"

The Big Friendly Giant, yeah the movie title was bad and the writers should feel bad. I think whoever made it isn't very familiar with American culture.

Xan Krieger:

Zydrate:

kajinking:
Owww...

Anyone besides me think even the name might not of helped? Sorry, but when you say BFG all I'm thinking of is the Doom Gun. I actually wonder how many people were more confused rather than interested by that name.

I still don't know what it's supposed to stand for. "Big Fucking Giant?"

The Big Friendly Giant, yeah the movie title was bad and the writers should feel bad. I think whoever made it isn't very familiar with American culture.

I'd argue that they don't realize that gamer culture has become fairly mainstream.

Recusant:

karkashan:
To be honest, I had never heard of this so called "beloved classic" before I saw a Regal Cinema FirstLook thing when i went to see Warcraft and Independence Day 2. Of course, the damn thing came out... what, over 30 years ago now?

Perhaps not so relevant to society in general anymore, is what I'm saying.

praisegrima

Right; that's why they stopped making Planet of the Apes movies in 1998, right? And it's not like anyone makes movies about Narnia, or World War 2, or the Bible.

"Old" doesn't mean "nonexistent".

No, but "Old" and not being well known basically does in the movie world of today.

Comparing BFG to other books like Narnia and Planet of the Apes is pretty uneven. The other books you mentioned have been very well known for decades. The BFG, not so much. There was also next to no promo for this movie. Most people just saw it and went "kid's movie". It also came out the same month as Finding Dory.

Reading these comments makes it super clear we are on a gaming website. I watched the BFG animated movie as a child and wasn't a fan so never even considered going to watch this one. I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned The Fantastic Mr Fox when talking about Roald Dahl adaptations, even though it was a Wes Anderson movie, it was very well received (nominated for the Golden globes and Oscars) with an all-star cast. But yeah an adaptation of an old British kids book vs Find Dory was always going to end one way.

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