Robert Zemeckis is not used to box office failure. His resume includes some of the biggest and best movies ever made: all three “Back to the Future” installments, “Forrest Gump,” “Cast Away,” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” are among his achievements.
But his new “Welcome to Marwen,” based on an odd documentary, is one of the biggest bombs of 2018– if not the biggest. The whole weekend produced just $2.4 million. Universal dumped it, and the audience responded by staying away. The budget is $40 million, but you know that number is probably closer to $50 million. And all of it will be lost.
Steve Carell and Leslie Mann star in this strange narrative take on “Welcome to Marwencol” a documentary about the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a man living with PTSD. After a physical assault, Hogancamp memory was erased so he created a fictional village to ease his pain.
Unfortunately, the whole thing just didn’t come off with Zemeckis’s uusual aplomb. Critics hated it. There was no way of describing it to the public. So “Marwen” repeats the failure of last year’s “Downsizing”– something interesting that appeals to a small group and can’t be explained.
For Zemeckis that’s three disappointments in a row, after “The Walk” (which had a $1.5 mil opening and was a bigger disaster) and “Allied,” a Brad Pitt movie everyone slept through. Zemeckis will be back, no doubt. So will Carell, who’s always good. This was just a bad concept going in.