20th Century Fox’s ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’ tops this week’s box office charts, taking in $28.5 million, from an audience that was mostly female, which was expected as it was adapted from a YA novel by Ransom Riggs that was largely popular with young girls.  (Also, keep in mind a lot of this female audience was moms taking their kids.)  51% of those in attendance said they were fans of the book, while 22% were fans of director Tim Burton.  And those that saw it liked it, as it earned a B+ CinemaScore, while it’s reasonably fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 64% rating.

Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson remarked:

“Tim Burton’s creative touch and his original take on a best-selling book resonated with its target audience and has delivered something that younger moviegoers are seeking out.”

The one caveat to all this, however, is that the ‘Miss Peregrine’ opening is actually lower than that of Burton’s 2012 flop ‘Dark Shadows’ which scored $29.5M its first weekend.  But ‘Miss Peregrine’ stands a better chance of making more money over the long haul, as everyone hated ‘Dark Shadows’ which has a 37% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and aslightly kinder 46% audience score.

‘Miss Peregrine’ soared over Peter Berg’s ‘Deepwater Horizon’ starring Mark Wahlberg, based on the true story of 2010’s BP oil spill.  The true story earned $20.6M which surpassed expectations and got a glowing 81% Rotten Tomatoes rating and an A- CinemaScore.  The film mainly appealed to older audiences (the ‘Sully’ crowd) and was split evenly between men and women.

Lionsgate distribution chief David Spitz responded, saying:

“We think the signs are very positive for a long run.”

Though ‘Deepwater Horizon’ exceeded expectations, it is Mark Wahlberg’s lowest opening for a big budget film and some say that Lionsgate dropped the ball in its promotions, failing to paint it more as a ‘Sully’-style true American hero story.  They also felt that the emphasis on action didn’t do justice to the gripping tension in the actual film.

Even so, this film has strong buzz and that may lead to a strong run in the long run, as older audiences are not the ones that insist on flocking to theaters on opening weekend.

The remainder of the Top Five were holdovers:

  1. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (20th Century Fox) – $28.5M
  2. Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate) – $20.6M
  3. Magnificent Seven (Sony) – $15.7M
  4. Storks (Warner Brothers) – $13.8M
  5. Sully (Warner Brothers) – $8.4M

Next week sees the release of thriller ‘The Girl On The Train’, awards buzz-y ‘The Birth of a Nation’ and ‘Middle School’.  Of these, ‘Girl’ probably has the best chance of taking on this week’s champs.  A controversy early this year involving director Nate Parker may impede ‘Birth’.  ‘Middle School’ has been heavily marketed to the kid/tween crowd and may knock ‘Storks’ out of the Top Five.

What did you check out this weekend?

Sources: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter