Crimson Peak Movie Review

Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is both a gothic romance and a ghost story that finds the director and his team of visual wizards absolutely crushing the production design of the late 19th century era we find ourselves in. I love movies set in this time period. I adore the Victorian look and the giant sets that pay close attention to detail. I especially dig it when horror is injected into this world. It seems to just fit. Think From Hell or Sleepy Hollow and The Wolfman remake and so on and so forth.

The issue with Crimson Peak is while my eyeballs were more than satisfied – the gothic romance occurring here isn’t terribly interesting and the ghost stuff isn’t too scary. We have intermittent outbursts of gory happenings that sometimes jolt us, but they’re found late in the proceedings. This is after I’d determined that there’s more to meet the eye than the substance of what’s filling the sumptuous sets.

Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith Cushing of Buffalo, New York, daughter of an aristocratic businessman (Jim Beaver) and aspiring writer of ghoulish tales. She’s got a bit of experience with her musings as she’s been visited by the CG rendering of her late mother. Ghost Mom has one key message to impart – “beware of Crimson Peak”. Edith’s path soon crosses with Englishman Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who’s trying to hawk an invention to her father. He’s not buying what Sharpe is selling, but Edith is quite taken with him.

A confluence of circumstances – some of which involves a bit of ultra violence – sends Edith with Thomas to his family home in England. Thomas’s creepy sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) makes up the rest of the trio at Allerdale Hall, the run down manor that is the aforementioned triumph of the designers behind it. This massive and beautifully rendered estate has another name. I’ll give you a guess.

The screenplay by del Toro and Matthew Robbins doesn’t exactly keep you guessing as to story developments and we see many coming from a mile away. What did surprise me is how flat a number of the performances are from Wasikowska to Hiddleston (he has moments, but that Loki charm is buried for long stretches) to Charlie Hunnam in the thankless role of Edith’s lifelong friend whose romantic interest in her is not reciprocated. Chastain is a terrific actress and she’s about the only one who sometimes rises above the material in a part that reminded me of Mrs. Danvers from Hitchock’s Rebecca.

Yet I could never shake the feeling that Peak just isn’t as frightening as it should be. Then there’s the feeling that the pic is centered on this connection between Edith and Sharpe and it’s a connection we don’t really feel. All that said, the look of it all is damn near enough to give it a bloody recommendation but not quite.

**1/2 (out of four)


Box Office Predictions: October 30-November 1

Three new films open this Halloween weekend and I have every one of them debuting to below $10 million. They are: Bradley Cooper drama Burnt, zombie comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and Sandra Bullock political comedy/drama Our Brand Is Crisis. You can peruse my detailed individual prediction posts on each here:

After the downright embarrassing performances of some of last week’s newbies (much more on that below), I’m not even supremely confident that putting each of these new entries in the $7-9 million range is correct, but we shall see.

**blogger’s update: due to the previously unknown knowledge that Scouts Guide is only opening on 1500 screens, I am downgrading my $8 million estimate to just $4.2 million

As for the top spot, it could continue to be a battle between The Martian and Goosebumps and my estimates reflect a photo finish. Bridge of Spies, in its third weekend, should continue its small declines from week to week.

And with that, we’ll do a top five projections for what should be a sluggish frame before Spectre and The Peanuts Movie roll out the following weekend:

  1. Goosebumps

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million (representing a drop of 28%)

2. The Martian

Predicted Gross: $10.8 million (representing a drop of 31%)

3. Burnt

Predicted Gross: $8.9 million

4. Bridge of Spies

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million (representing a drop of 29%)

5. Our Brand Is Crisis

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

Box Office Results (October 23-25)

Well, I thought it might be an unpredictable weekend and was it ever! Not too often that my #1 pick comes in seventh and my #4 pick finishes on top, but that’s exactly what happened.

Ridley Scott’s The Martian climbed back into the #1 position with $15.7 million, ahead of my $12.5M projection to bring its fine total to $166M in four weeks.

Last weekend’s champ Goosebumps fell to second with $15.5 million, under my $17.8M estimate for a two week tally of $43M. As mentioned above, I expect this and The Martian to duke it out for box office supremacy once again this weekend.

Bridge of Spies was third in weekend two with $11.3 million, on target with my $11.9M projection for a $32M total.

The first newcomer of five lackluster debuts belonged to Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter, taking in just $10.8 million compared to my $15.8M prediction. Poor reviews and a blah marketing campaign didn’t help.

Animated holdover Hotel Transylvania 2 was fifth with $8.8 million (I said $7.6M) for a current $148M haul.

In sixth was Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension with $8 million (as opposed to my $9.7M projection). The latest and reportedly final entry in the franchise went out with a whimper, partly due to its low number of screens due to controversy about it debuting on VOD in just two weeks. This caused several theater chains to boycott it. While this opening is certainly soft, it is worth noting that it had the highest per screen average of anything in the top ten.

The big surprise of the weekend was the performance of Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, which came with sizzling Oscar buzz. I predicted it would win the weekend with $19.6 million, but it stumbled with a seventh place showing at $7.1 million – obviously way less than expected. Jobs will hope for small declines over subsequent frames as the studio hopes it can possibly play well into awards season.

Guillermo del Toro’s dud Crimson Peak was eighth in its sophomore frame with $5.6 million (I said $6.1M) for a lackluster $22M gross.

Positions nine and ten belonged to holdovers that I didn’t predict would be there – The Intern with $3.7 million and Sicario with $2.8 million. Their respective grosses stand at $64 and $39M.

That’s because two other new flicks had disastrous debuts. Bill Murray’s critically reviled Rock the Kasbah made just $1.4 million compared to my extremely generous $7.8M estimate and the live-action version of 80s cartoon Jem and the Holograms posted a pathetic $1.3 million (I said $4.1M). That’s good for respective 13th and 15th position debuts. Ouch.

And that’s all for now, my friends! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: October 23-25

It’s an extremely busy weekend at the box office as five new titles open up: the wide release of the acclaimed Steve Jobs, Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter, sixth franchise entry Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Bill Murray comedy Rock the Kasbah, and 80s cartoon live-action adaptation Jem and the Holograms. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

With the quintet of newbies premiering, it’s creating some real unpredictability as to what will come out on top, especially considering the fact that current champ Goosebumps could see a minimal decline in its second weekend due to the Halloween frame.

I’m going with Steve Jobs and its hot Oscar buzz coming out on top, but it could certainly debut a little lower than my estimate with meager drop-offs in subsequent weekends. The Last Witch Hunter could certainly over perform, though it appears unlikely Paranormal Activity has any shot at the top of the charts due to its lower theater count (my individual post on it explains further). Kasbah and Jem seem likely for single digit debuts outside the top five.

As for other holdovers, look for Bridge of Spies to have the tiniest decline of all unless Goosebumps holds up even better than my forecast. Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is likely to have the worst sophomore decline after its lackluster opening.

And with that, on a supremely unpredictable weekend, my estimates for the top ten:

  1. Steve Jobs

Predicted Gross: $19.6 million

2. Goosebumps

Predicted Gross: $17.8 million (representing a drop of 25%)

3. The Last Witch Hunter

Predicted Gross: $15.8 million

4. The Martian

Predicted Gross: $12.5 million (representing a drop of 41%)

5. Bridge of Spies

Predicted Gross: $11.9 million (representing a drop of 22%)

6. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

Predicted Gross: $9.7 million

7. Rock the Kasbah

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

8. Hotel Transylvania 2

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million (representing a drop of 39%)

9. Crimson Peak

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million (representing a drop of 53%)

10. Jem and the Holograms

Predicted Gross: $4.1 million

Box Office Results (October 16-18)

Kid friendly Goosebumps managed to knock The Martian off its two week perch on top as it grossed a solid $23.6 million, beyond my $19.4M projection. As mentioned, this should hold up well in weekend #2.

The Martian slipped to second with $21.3 million, a bit under my $24.6M forecast for a terrific three week total of $143M.

Landing in third was Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed Bridge of Spies, posting an OK $15.3 million (compared to my $21.2M estimate). The good news is that Spies should perform well throughout the fall with its own Academy Award buzz going for it.

Crimson Peak flopped in fourth place with just $13.1 million compared to my $15.8M prediction. This one more or less got lost in the shuffle and represents a disappointment for director Guillermo del Toro.

Hotel Transylvania 2 was fifth with $12.6 million, lower than my $16M projection and its total is at $136M.

Languishing in sixth is the bomb Pan with $5.8 million in its second weekend (I said $6.8M). Its embarrassing two week haul is at $25M.

Finally, faith based football drama Woodlawn debuted in ninth (as I predicted) with $4 million, right in line with my $4.3M estimate.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: October 16-18

It’s a very bustling weekend at the box office as four new titles make their debuts: Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks, family friendly Goosebumps, Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror offering Crimson Peak and faith based football drama Woodlawn. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each one of them here:

Even with the slew of high profile premieres, they all could fall behind Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed and audience pleasing The Martian, which looks to three peat. After a great second weekend, the pic is likely to only lose about a third of its audience once again. As I see it, only Bridge of Spies and or Goosebumps could dethrone it, but I’m doubtful.

As for other holdovers, Hotel Transylvania 2 should continue its stellar run in week #4 while box office bomb Pan will probably lose over half its audience, leaving it flailing in sixth place.

And with that, my top 6 projections for what promises to be a fascinating weekend:

  1. The Martian

Predicted Gross: $24.6 million (representing a drop of 33%)

2. Bridge of Spies

Predicted Gross: $21.2 million

3. Goosebumps

Predicted Gross: $19.4 million

4. Hotel Transylvania 2

Predicted Gross: $16 million (representing a drop of 31%)

5. Crimson Peak

Predicted Gross: $15.8 million

6. Pan

Predicted Gross: $6.8 million (representing a drop of 55%)

My prediction for Woodlawn, opening on a relatively low 1500 screens, is $4.3 million and that probably puts it in ninth place.


As expected, The Martian kept rolling along with its impressive numbers while new entries to the weekend all failed to gain an audience. The Ridley Scott/Matt Damon sci fi blockbuster added $37 million to its coffers, right on pace with my $36.8M estimate to bring its total to $108 million (matching its reported budget).

Hotel Transylvania 2 remained in runner up position with $20.4 million, in line with my $21.7M projection for a three week haul of $116 million.

Another family offering, Peter Pan origin tale Pan, stumbled badly to the tune of a $15.3 million start. This is below my $17.6M prediction. With a rumored budget of $150 million, this represents a massive bomb for Warner Bros and it will struggle to even earn a third of that budget domestically. Ouch.

Holdovers populated spots 4-6: The Intern with $8.6 million compared to my $8M estimate to bring its total to $49 million; Sicario with $7.5 million compared to my $6.9M estimate to bring its total to nearly $27 million; and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials with $5.3 million for a $70 million overall gross. I incorrectly had Maze outside the top six.

That’s because I gave far too much credit to Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk, which expanded nationwide and posted a paltry seventh place showing of only $3.7 million. I predicted $11.9M. Oops. This easily gave the Oscar winning director of Forrest Gump the worst opening of his long career and pretty much snuffed out any chance of the critically respected effort garnering Academy Awards attention.

Finally, the Andrew Garfield/Michael Shannon thriller 99 Homes opened in limited fashion. I said it’d eek out a $1.8 million gross, but it managed just $647,000.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Crimson Peak Box Office Prediction

Guillermo del Toro has earned his reputation as one of the most visionary directors working today with credits including the Hellboy pics, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Pacific Rim. Next weekend comes his latest effort: the gothic horror tale Crimson Peak, which features Alice in Wonderland star Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam.

The $55 million dollar production isn’t expected to reach the box office numbers of the Hellboy movies or Pacific Rim. It doesn’t help that competition is rather fierce with Bridge of Spies and Goosebumps opening the same day with The Martian in its third weekend. Crimson Peak could get somewhat lost in the shuffle for film goers that aren’t del Toro or horror aficionados. Strong reviews could help (they haven’t yet been released but I wouldn’t be surprised if it earns solid notices), but I still will predict this peaks at mid to high teens for its debut.

Crimson Peak opening weekend prediction: $15.8 million

For my Bridge of Spies prediction, click here:

For my Goosebumps prediction, click here:

For my Woodlawn prediction, click here: