"Don't just fly. Soar," Timothy Q. Mouse tells an apprehensive Dumbo in Disney's 1941 animated classic of the same name.
The live-action remake of the film, due out March 29, seeks to fulfill that sentiment, as it tracks toward a $50 million to $60 million opening weekend. Directed by Tim Burton ("Beetlejuice"), "Dumbo" retells the classic tale of the baby elephant with oversized ears.
"'Dumbo's tracking really well," said Shawn Robbins, a senior analyst at BoxOffice. "I think Tim Burton's fan base is going to add a lot to the appeal that is already there. It's a multigenerational family movie. A lot of parents grew up with the original, and this will introduce today's generation of kids to that story."
"Dumbo" is one of four live-action remakes coming to the big screen from Disney this year. The film is part of a new chapter for Disney, which appears to be bolstering its arsenal of films ahead of the launch of its online streaming service Disney+.
Notably, CEO Bob Iger has said that "Captain Marvel" would be the first film that would not be licensed to any other streaming services. That means "Dumbo" and every other Disney movie that hits theaters from now on will likely follow suit.
The new film follows circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) as he enlists the help of Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his two children to care for the newborn Dumbo. However, when they discover that Dumbo can fly, they attract the interest of V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), an eccentric entrepreneur.
Vandevere recruits Dumbo to be part of his entertainment venture, Dreamland, alongside aerialist Colette Marchant (Eva Green). The cast soon discovers that Dreamland is full of dark secrets.
Robbins said "Dumbo" is the last true family film to hit theaters until "Detective Pikachu" arrives in May.
Earlier this year, "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part," "How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World" and "Wonder Park" were released. While "Lego 2" and "Wonder Park" struggled to draw audiences, "Hidden World" was able to eke out a solid theatrical run, earning $467.3 million worldwide.
Comparatively, "Lego 2" hauled in $171 million globally, less than half of what the original earned, and "Wonder Park," which was released last week, brought in only $21 million globally.
Even if "Dumbo" pulls in an opening weekend haul on the low end of estimates, it would still be on track to surpass "A Wrinkle in Time," Disney's family-friendly film released during the same period as "Dumbo" last year, Robbins said. "Wrinkle" earned $33 million in its opening weekend and grossed $132 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run.