“The Emoji Movie” Gets a Frownie Face as “Dunkirk” Wins Close Box Office Race


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Film  Weekend Opening Weekend Current Gross
Dunkirk $26.6m $50.5m $101.3m
The Emoji Movie $24.5m $24.5m $24.5m
Girls Trip $19.6m $31.2m $65.1m
Atomic Blonde $18.3m $18.3m $18.3m
Spider-Man: Homecoming $13.3m $117m $264.9m

here, joining up with the Tracking Board team as their East Coast Editor. I’ll be taking over the Box Office Reports from now on, as well as hopefully introducing a few more regular columns. And don’t worry, Jeff’s still around and did a pretty good job with what might be his one and only Box Office Report. (Insert smiley emoji here.)

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a weekend when there’s potential for a horse race between movies positioning at the box office, rather than one movie dominating over all the rest. This weekend was a particularly good one where almost everyone thought Sony Pictures Animation’s The Emoji Movie would be sitting pretty at the top of the box office. Instead, the reviews coming in on Thursday were mostly terrible—as of this writing, it’s at 8% Rotten on RottenTomatoes!–and Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk held better than expected, making it a lot less definite The Emoji Movie could win the weekend .

Despite sub-$1 million Thursday previews — it didn’t play in many theaters before Friday, for obvious reasons — The Emoji Movie ended up winning Friday with $10 million, while Dunkirk took in $8 million, yet early projections still began favoring Dunkirk for the win.

Dunkirk continued to hold up through the weekend with $26.6 million, a drop of around 47%, which is impressive when you consider how many similarly-praised movies had been dropping 60% or more in their second weekends. Dunkirk has already grossed $101.3 million just in North America and is well past the $200 million mark worldwide. Not bad for a movie not based on an existing IP, and what’s become one of the late summer cures for the franchise blues. It should be no surprise that the movie is doing especially well in IMAX theaters worldwide since Nolan filmed much of the film using IMAX cameras. It has grossed $40.1 globally just in IMAX theaters and $23.1 million in North American IMAX or about 23% of its total domestic gross.

Sony Pictures Animation

The Emoji Movie ended up making just $24.5 million in 4,075 theaters, its $6,000 per-theater average being lower than Dunkirk’s average in its second weekend. This was the second attempt by Sony Pictures Animation to release a movie over the summer after last year’s Angry Birds Movie, which opened with $39.2 in mid-May 2016. The studio used to stake out a weekend in late September to great success with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Adam Sandler’s Hotel Transylvania and their respective sequels. Fortunately, the two previous animated sequels, Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3, hadn’t connected with audiences like their precursors, which did leave an open field for a new animated movie.

Unfortunately for Sony, The Emoji Movie wasn’t what anyone wanted, and it’s doubtful that actual box office numbers will help it, as it indeed ends up being #2 or rather… ?.

Third place also looked like it might be a battle between David Leitch’s Cold War action-thriller Atomic Blonde and Malcolm D. Lee’s hit comedy Girls Trip in its second weekend. Instead, Girls Trip had a negligible second weekend drop with positive word-of-mouth (and that crazy and rare “A+” CinemaScore last week!), so its $19.6 million weekend was down just 36% from last week. That’s pretty astounding when you consider that Lee’s previous hit The Best Man Holiday dropped 58% in its second weekend despite getting the exact same CinemaScore in 2013. Currently, it’s at $65.1 million — another profitable hit for producer Will Packer — and it looks pretty good to end up with $100 million or more.

Focus Features/Universal

Focus Features’ Atomic Blonde, a graphic novel-based vehicle for Charlize Theron, brought in $1.5 million in Thursday previews, better than Emoji, but that was also catering to a male action crowd that might go see a movie as soon as it opens. It made $7.1 million for Friday and ended up below $20 million for the weekend with $18.3 million in 3,304 theaters or $5,536 per theater. While that might be lower than expected, that’s a pretty good opening for Focus Features, which has only had two movies that opened over $20 million, both of them being sequels (London Has Fallen and Insidious Chapter 3). This probably won’t be seen as a failure even though Universal took point on marketing, because this is a relatively-known property taking on bigger movies like Dunkirk.

Then again, both those new wide releases ended up with a “B” CinemaScore, which isn’t awful but also isn’t great when you compare it to movies like All Eyez on Me, which had a better score but still dropped dramatically in following weeks.

Spider-Man: Homecoming continued to do well with $13.3 million for the weekend to take fifth place with $278 million grossed domestically. It’s looking good to hit $300 million in the next couple weeks, making it the third highest grosser of the summer.

Even bigger news was that Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman, with $395 million grossed through the weekend, is likely to cross the $400 million benchmark sometime next week! Only one other movie, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, has achieved that amount, and that’s just a really good way for moviegoers to say, “We want to see more female-led movies, and if they’re directed by women, even better!”

As it may have been expected, Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets took a more typical 2nd weekend decline, dropping 63% with $6.4 million to end up in eighth place. It may be pushed out of the Top 10 by next weekend, and probably forgotten by mid-August. It’s a shame since Besson was clearly trying to do something different, hoping the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and the new Star Wars movies meant more moviegoers were open to space opera.

On top of that, two movies platformed this weekend in anticipation of expanding nationwide in early August.

Annapurna Pictures

Katheryn Bigelow’s potentially controversial Detroit, set during the 1967 Detroit riots, and featuring young talent like John Boyega, Jason Mitchell, Jacob Latimore, Will Poulter, Algee Smith and more, opened in 20 theaters this weekend. The first release by Annapurna Pictures as its own distribution company took in $350,000 or $17,500 average per theater, which isn’t bad when you consider that the decision to platform the movie this past Friday was fairly recent. This coming Thursday night, Detroit will expand into more theaters across the nation with a wide release against Sony’s The Dark Tower starting August 4. We’ll have more on that in Thursday’s upcoming Box Office Report.

The update on Al Gore’s Oscar-winning climate change doc, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, also opened in four theaters in New York and L.A. where it brought in $125,000. Paramount’s expansion plans are somewhat vague, but it’s thought to expand to more cities next weekend and then be nationwide by August 11, but who knows how wide that will actually be? There’s still an open market for this type of documentary, but are Americans as open to this movie ten years after An Inconvenient Truth grossed $24.1 million? That’s pretty good for a doc, actually. More on this one later.

The last limited release of note was Kyle Mooney’s Brigsby Bear, which was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics out of Sundance and released into three theaters in New York and L.A. Friday. It’s a different type of movie for Sony Classics, who acquired Call Me By Your Name just before Sundance and will give that film by Luca Guadagnino a big awards push for Oscars. By comparison, Brigsby Bear is looking to bring in Mooney’s younger Saturday Night Live fans, although the movie isn’t based on a specific character Mooney plays on the show like previous SNL hits Wayne’s World and films like Night at the Roxbury and others. Brigsby ended up with $45,000 or $15,000 per theater, which was less than A24’s all-Yiddish no-name indie Menashe (another Sundance purchase) grossed, also in three theaters.

I’ll be back on Thursday with the box office forecast for the weekend of August 4.

(Source: boxofficemojo.com. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may change.)

  | East Coast Editor

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