Paramount and Nickelodeon’s Wonder Park finally reached movie screens this weekend after a bumpy and troubled production, earning an estimated $16 million, Box Office Mojo is reporting. That’s well above the single digit millions that were originally being projected for it, but still might not be enough of a start to push it forward for a lengthy box office ride.
That’s because the budget for Wonder Park reportedly ballooned over the course of its five year production to as much as $100 million, although no official budget information has been released by Paramount. This was at least in part due to the surprise firing of director Dylan Brown, who was booted from the project in 2018 (back when it was called Amusement Park) following alleged allegations of misconduct from multiple female employees at Nick (Brown denied the accusations at the time, saying they were a character assassination). This resulted, bizarrely, in the finished movie having no credited director, which might be the first time such a thing as happened for an animated feature from a major studio since Don Bluth demanded his name be removed as helmer of The Pebble & the Penguin back in 1995.
This may or may not have played a role in the film getting a poor critical reception, as the bad press surrounding it couldn’t have done it any favors with reviewers, with Wonder Park sitting with a current RT “freshness” score of 30%. Still, apart from an intriguing teaser trailer released last summer, most of the movie’s marketing targeted a younger audience (outside of that “what the chuck?” joke). Wonder Park is hoping to serve as a pilot for a new TV series for Nickelodeon, so aiming for the kids made sense, even as the film faced competition not only from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, but from Captain Marvel as well.
Despite all of the so-called “controversy” surrounding Captain Marvel, nothing can stop the Marvel gravy train once it gets rolling, with the film leading the weekend with $69 million. It stands with a total of $266 million after ten days of release. Hiccup and Toothless, meanwhile, didn’t feel much of a burn from Wonder Park as the sequel dropped just 36% from last weekend, giving the DreamWorks adventure a current take of $135 million. It has a global tally of $466 million.
Elsewhere, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part finally crossed the $100 million mark this weekend, while Alita: Battle Angel managed to hold on to a place in the top ten as it looks to go past $400 million worldwide over the coming days.
Final figures are due tomorrow.