Steve Carell's New Movie 'Welcome to Marwen' Bombs Hard at the Box Office

Robert Zemeckis' new dramedy, Welcome to Marwen starring Steve Carell, missed the mark on its opening weekend with just $2.4 million in revenue.

Welcome to Marwen hit theaters on Friday, Dec. 21 and did not do well. The movie competed with holiday blockbusters like The Grinch at theaters, and viewers on break from work or school chose the more festive rout. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie cost between $40 million and $49 million to make before advertising, meaning that it will lose Universal and Dreamworks about $50 million.

Marwen is not likely to make a big comeback either, judging by the reviews that are trickling in. The movie holds a 27 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 40 percent on Metacritic and 5.4 out of 10 on IMDb.

The movie follows Mark Hogancamp (Carell), an aspiring photographer who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Hogancamp was attacked by a group of neo-Nazis who discovered his fetish for wearing women's shoes. To cope, he builds a village for dolls called Marwen, where he photographs the dolls in highly elaborate narratives. He is also addicted to pain medication prescribed to him after the attack, and he is involved in the criminal case against his attackers.

To reviewers, the film may suffer from its many layers of meaning competing with one another for center stage. Hogancamp's fictional town is in Belgium, and is the site of a World War II battle. The stories of his dolls are intricately related to his own life, but also to the war itself. Richard Brody wrote for The New Yorker that these ambitious concepts were well-executed, but ultimately fell flat.

"It's not a dramatically satisfying film; the technique that Zemeckis displays is more impressive than it is moving, and it does aspects of the true story a clearly unintentional injustice," Brody wrote.

The movie's box office failure has continued since opening weekend. By Christmas Day, it had a total gross of $4.1 million. A few days later, Universal Pictures announced that it was halting its plan to release the movie in Australia next month, hoping to save the money it would cost to advertise this time around.


Welcome to Marwen is Universal's second financial flop in two weeks. The weekend before, Mortal Engines debuted to just $2.8 million on its opening day, and $7.5 million on its opening weekend. The movie featured a screenplay co-written by Peter Jackson.

In fairness, the competition at the box office is stiff these days, with heavy-hitters like Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse and Aquaman still going strong.