Variety‘s Dave McNary is reporting that Steven Spielberg‘s The BFG is a shortfaller, based on early Friday estimates. This is music to my jaundiced ears, of course, but why? Why have American families said “maybe but not so much” to an expensive, technically accomplished giant-in-a-fairytale movie by the great Spielberg? I was no fan after catching The BFG in Cannes, but I didn’t fantasize for an instant that families wouldn’t embrace it.

McNary says The BFG “is underperforming forecasts, which had projected an opening in the $30 million range. Friday’s debut day looked likely to hit between $6 million and $8 million [for a] disappoint $25 million. The Roald Dahl adaptation has received plenty of affection from critics with a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, thanks to Mark Rylance’s motion-capture work as a giant who befriends an orphan girl. But The BFG will likely struggle to break even, given its high-priced $140 million budget, funded by Amblin Partners, Disney and Walden Media.”