Opening on the heels of The Avengers isn't the easiest placement for Dark Shadows but Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton's fantasy comedy could follow in the box office steps of their previous collaborations, Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for another success.
Far from the horror vampire themes of The Twilight Saga, Tim Burton's comedy fantasy Dark Shadows oozes with mystery, allure, romance and action. It will ply its magic this weekend as it opens May 9-11 worldwide to try to move The Avengers from the top spot, which grabbed $157 million last weekend and is in its third go-round now.
Set in the 1970s, Dark Shadows has a retro feel that could appeal to different generations -- vampire fans who like The Twilight Saga and boomers who loved the original televised gothic soap opera from their youth, 1966-'71, which inspired the film.
With the star box office appeal of Johnny Depp, BoxOfficeMojo predicts it could make $125 million, along the lines of Snow White and the Huntsman or Rock of Ages, not the comic book blockbusters of Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises which push upwards of $300-500 million.
The story follows a reluctant vampire, Barnabas Collins, who is released from a coffin after 200 years to reclaim his position with the family at Collinswood and reestablish the canning business from his spurned lover, a witch who has cursed him. Ghosts and strangeness ensue as the vampire is thrust into 1972.
Burton insists the film is "inspired by Dark Shadows, but it's not a remake or a redo" of the television show. Presented in a different way, he attempted to show the television series' strange dynamic and weird humor.
Burton, Depp and Pfeiffer were among the many kids fascinated and obsessed with Dark Shadows, who rushed home to catch the show every day after school. "We wanted to capture the spirit of why we love the show," Burton told Relaxnews.
To reach the tricky tone, the cast was a key element, he said. Dark Shadows costars Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Christopher Lee and Chloe Grace Moretz.
Jonathan Frid and other original cast members appear in the Dark Shadows film during The Happening party with Alice Cooper performing. Frid died at age 87 in April. "He embraced my character which was important to me," said Depp. "I feel lucky that he was supportive."
"We hope that people like the film and get it," Burton said.