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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Dunkirk’ Wins the Weekend

Dunkirk
Warner Bros.

What did you see this weekend? Was it the dour World War II epic? The raunchy New Orleans sex comedy? Or the movie where Cara Delevingne shoves her head into a telepathic jellyfish’s butt? Truly, with options like this, anyone who complains about the death of cinema has no idea what they’re talking about. Anyways, here’s the box office numbers through Sunday afternoon:

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Dunkirk $50,500,000 $13,575 $50,500,000
2 Girls Night $30,370,720 $11,722 $30,370,720
3 Spider-Man: Homecoming $22,010,000 (-50%) $5,329 $251,711,581
4 War for the Planet of the Apes $20,400,000 (-63%) $4,976 $97,750,914
5 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets $17,020,000 $4,790 $17,020,000
6 Despicable Me 3 $12,714,475 (-34%) $3,607 $213,322,700
7 Baby Driver $6,000,000 (-31%) $2,397 $84,233,939
8 The Big Sick $5,000,000 (-33%) $1,925 $24,539,378
9 Wonder Woman $4,630,000 (-31%) $2,349 $389,033,279
10 Wish Upon $2,477,816 (-54%) $1,150 $10,522,081

As always, let’s start with the new releases. Finishing in first this weekend with just north of $50 million is Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan‘s World War II epic. Nolan has always occupied a unique position in Hollywood; while critics often describe the director’s films in the language of arthouse pictures, Nolan’s movies are budgeted alongside some of the most expensive Hollywood summer blockbusters. Interstellar, Nolan’s most recent original work, featured a budget of $165 million and grossed more than $675 million worldwide; Inception cost $160 million and pulled in $825 globally. This means that good reviews aren’t enough for Nolan; he’s also expected to gross a solid chunk of change at the box office, and with a budget of $150 million – and an opening weekend gross solidly between those two films – Warner Bros. is certainly hoping that Dunkirk has a similar track record as Nolan’s non-Batman work.

In second place this weekend with $30 million is Girls Trip, another exhibit in the ongoing case for more diverse casts and stories in Hollywood. It’s hard not to notice that Girls Trip made more in its opening weekend than Rough Night did during its entire theatrical run. Not only did the former feature a more diverse cast, but it also took the time to create three-dimensional characters, with Girls Trip‘s wildly positive reviews praising the cast and the inventive mature humor in equal amounts. With a budget of $19 million, Girls Trip is already set to do big business over the next couple of weeks. Take note, Hollywood: it’s not enough to throw together a few funny actors and let them profanely improvise their way through a summer comedy anymore. You’ve got to actually do the work of creating a real, three-dimensional movie with character people want to see.

In fifth place this weekend is Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which pulled in $17 million. If ever a movie needed to earn a bajillion dollars at the international box office, it’s this one: Valerian had been projected in the $17-20 million range for quite some time now, a paltry return on the movie’s budget of around $200 million (estimates vary a bit depending on the source). It’s certainly not impossible. Both The Fifth Element and Lucy earned more than 70% of their box office grosses on the international market, and each of those movies earned $200-plus million internationally when all was said and done. But based purely on the financials, Luc Besson is looking at a King Arthur: Legend of the Sword type disaster, and that’s not exactly the sort of return anyone was hoping for from a movie like this. It’s possible that Valerian will find its audience a few years from now and emerge a cult classic, but until then, it seems destined to be another box office flop.

That does it for the new releases, so let’s quickly hit on the returning features. Spider-Man: Homecoming earned another $22 million this weekend, pushing its worldwide gross up to $571 million. Homecoming should easily pass The Amazing Spider-Man on the charts in the next week or two, but Sam Raimi‘s original trilogy does seem solidly out of reach for the latest Spider-Man reboot. It seems like Spider-Man fatigue might actually be a thing after all. In fourth place with $20.4 million is War for the Planet of the Apes, the conclusion to the Caesar trilogy of Planet of the Apes prequels. That 63% drop is kind of surprising for the franchise; both of the previous two entries were around 50% between its first and second weekends, showing that fans might also be having a little bit of ape fatigue, too. Is the new market inefficiency forgoing trilogies in favor of duologies? Why has nobody in Hollywood hired me to brainstorm for their movie franchises yet?

Despicable Me 3 finishes in sixth place with $12 million, bringing the movie’s global gross all the way up to $727 million so far. It’s amazing to me that we can describe Despicable Me 3 as falling well off the pace of the last two movies in the franchise – Despicable Me 2 and Minions – despite the fact that Universal has already seen a tenfold return on its investment. These movies are breathtaking cash cows, and provided they enforce lower budgets, Universal should be able to make two or three more of them before the market bottoms out. In seventh place is Baby Driver, which grossed $6 million and keeps inching its way closer to a $100 million domestic gross. There’s something to be said for hitting big, round numbers at the box office, so while Edgar Wright and company would certainly be thrilled if their film ends up with around $97 million domestically, that $100 million mark would be quite the feather in their cap.

In eighth place this week is The Big Sick, which pulled in another $5 million, bringing its domestic gross up to $24 million. Remember, Amazon Studios acquired the film for $12 million right out of Sundance, so they’ve already made a solid return on their investment independent of the VOD market. Compare this to The House, which cost $40 million to make and also has only earned $24 million theatrically, and you realize how strong the world-of-mouth has been for this film. In ninth place is Wonder Woman, which hung around for one last weekend at $4.6 million. You need only to watch this weekend’s Comic-Con Justice League trailer to know how much this movie’s impact has been felt in Hollywood. Finally, rounding out this week’s Top 10 is Wish Upon, which earned another $2.4 million en route to a $10.5 million total. That’s still a little shy of the film’s $12 million budget, but if Broad Green Pictures can have this one on VOD by October, I think they’ll end up making a fair chunk of change.

Why Is That First Part of ‘Dunkirk’ Called ‘The Mole’?

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