|Film||Weekend||Opening Weekend||Current Gross|
|War for the Planet of the Apes||$20.8m||$56.2m||$98.2m|
|Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets||$17m||$17m||$17m|
There are plenty of ways I could’ve started my very first box office column. I could’ve opened with how impressive it is that an original movie like Dunkirk — a period war film, no less — opened to $50 million based on the strength of its director’s name. I could’ve opened with how distributors around the world took a bath on Luc Besson’s poorly-timed sci-fi flop Valerian. But here’s how I’m actually going to open it. I’m going to open with the most predictable box office outcome of the weekend. Something that should hardly be considered news, because to call it that would be to suggest it comes as a surprise. That’s right. I’m opening with the fact that Universal’s Girls Trip opened to $31 million. It is not the “sleeper hit of the summer,” because only a fool would’ve slept on this movie, which looked hilarious from the start, and judging from its 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, delivered on that promise.
Most box office writers will say that Girls Trip came out of nowhere, but only someone who hasn’t been paying attention to recent box office trends would agree. It’s been a rough summer for comedies at the box office, but this is the most successful one yet, and it helps to have the goods. I saw more people talk about “grapefruiting” on social media this weekend than any gag from Baywatch or Rough Night.
Meanwhile, $50 million for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is nothing to sneeze at. It surpasses the 5-day total for Interstellar, and sci-fi movies typically out-gross war films. A technical marvel, Dunkirk came in 92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and word-of-mouth likely propelled it past that all-important $50 million benchmark.
Valerian has to be considered a disappointment for director Luc Besson, who practically staked his company on its success. The casting and the release date were never right here, and as gorgeous as this movie was, I can’t believe that STX stuck to its guns by releasing the movie in mid-July, surrounded by franchise films and Nolan’s latest. It seemed like suicide at the time, and sure enough, Valerian wound up dead in the water. Same opening weekend number as The Fifth Element… 20 years ago. Not good, and all the foreign pre-sales in the world won’t make it a winner.
Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes came in third and fourth at $22 million and $20 million, respectively. That put Spidey past the $250 million mark at the domestic box office, where Apes fell 63% in its second weekend. Matt Reeves’ trilogy closer should cross the $100 million mark at some point on Monday. The critics have been kind to both franchise films, which each boast a higher Rotten Tomatoes score than Dunkirk. Surprised?
That said, the third Apes film suffered sharper second weekend declines than its two predecessors, and is running behind both installments, though there’s plenty of summer left for it to catch up.
As for Spider-Man: Homecoming, it will pass The Amazing Spider-Man at the domestic box office this week, and all in all, this film has to be considered a success for Sony, which teamed up with Marvel to make the superhero movie.
Finally, The Big Sick continues to perform well in wide release, taking in another $5 million to bring its domestic cume to $24.5 million. Elsewhere, Baby Driver and Wonder Woman are creeping up on $100 million and $400 million, respectively.
(Source: boxofficemojo.com. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may have changed.)
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief