'Miss Peregrine' tops box office: How it beat rivals, even 'Deepwater Horizon'

The Tim Burton movie 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' came in No. 1 at the box office in its debut weekend. The film is based on the bestseller of the same name by Ransom Riggs.

Leah Gallo/20th Century Fox/AP
'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' stars Eva Green.

Moviegoers were apparently curious about the “peculiar children” of director Tim Burton’s latest film, as “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” opened at No. 1 at the box office in its debut weekend.

“Peregrine,” which stars Eva Green as the head of a home for unusual children, grossed more than $28 million domestically.

Another new film this past weekend, “Deepwater Horizon,” came in second place, bringing in more than $20 million. The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell, is based on the 2010 BP oil spill disaster.

What made “Peregrine” succeed over other films, including “Deepwater”? 

The young adult book on which the film is based was a bestselling novel that spawned two sequels, so there was doubtless some prior awareness of the story from some of the audience. 

The Hollywood Reporter says that younger moviegoers made up 55 percent of the U.S. audience under the age of 25. Females made up nearly 60 percent of ticket buyers.

"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," Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson said Sunday.

And Associated Press writer Jake Coyle credited the movie’s opening weekend success to an intriguing story that made “Peregrine” stand out from the crowd. 

“Originality, that often lamented missing ingredient in studio products, can lead to box office success, just as it can disappointment,” Mr. Coyle writes. With “Peregrine,” originality was a draw for moviegoers. 

Meanwhile, senior media analyst for comScore Paul Dergarabedian told USA Today that Burton’s name being attached the project likely also brought in moviegoers.

“Tim Burton is one of the most unique voices in film and he builds his reputation on being so different from pretty much every other filmmaker," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said.

But The Christian Science Monitor's film critic Peter Rainer wasn't impressed

Burton’s movies always seem a full grade too grotesque for the whimsical stories he is trying to tell, as if he simply couldn’t rein in his darkest impulses. At least in “Miss Peregrine,” his ghastliness fits the fable, although, even at its best, it’s fairly generic Burton.

Other movies topping the weekend box office included the western remake “The Magnificent Seven,” which came in third, grossing more than $15 million this past weekend after having opened earlier in September. The animated film “Storks,” which also opened earlier in September, came in fourth, grossing more than $13 million, while the film “Sully,” another September holdover, placed fifth, taking in more than $8 million this past weekend.

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