War Will Reign Supreme Once More at Box Office as “Dunkirk” Leads the Pack

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the box office-2

Box Office 7.20

 Dunkirk

$51 million

Girls Trip

 $29 million

War for the Planet of the Apes

$23.7 million

Spider-Man: Homecoming

$20 million

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

$16.5 million

For the second weekend in a row, war will reign supreme. Christopher Nolan’s latest epic, Dunkirk, is set to top the box office, coming in tens of millions ahead of the rest of the weekend’s movie pack, despite it being one of the more crowded weekends of the summer.

Detailing the very real and harrowing World War II Battle of Dunkirk, which saw the defense and evacuation of British forces on the shores of Dunkirk, France, Dunkirk is another entry into Nolan’s polarizing filmography. His last film, 2015’s Interstellar, had one of his more middle-of-the-road openings with $47.5 million in about 3,500 theaters. Dunkirk is currently being projected lower than this, eyeing an opening between $35 and $40 million. However, there’s reason to believe the film will rise above these expectations. The film is only opening in about 200 more theaters than Interstellar did but a war movie, especially World War II, is far more universal than and time-bending sci-fi project. Not to mention Dunkirk is getting some of Nolan’s best reviews, which should have some impact on audiences perhaps less willing to give Nolan yet another chance. In fact, its current 95 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes is Nolan’s best score ever — far beyond Interstellar‘s 71 percent and in league with The Dark Knight‘s 92 percent and Memento‘s 92 percent.

DunkirkWarner Bros. Pictures

There’s no doubting that Nolan is a divisive filmmaker — there are some who love his works, even his more recent (and largely more debated) films, and some how have grown weary of his penchant for blue and gray color schemes, lack of emotion, and bombastic aesthetics. Dunkirk could be a step towards getting the director back in some film fans’ good graces. While an opening for $50 million or higher won’t be anything too astonishing — except perhaps in beating expectations — it will be enough to lead the weekend and, depending on how long of legs the film has, could propel to be one of Nolan’s better-performing films (in context, at least). Nolan hasn’t had a film unable to surpass $100 million at the domestic box office since 2006’s The Prestige. His lowest film after that is Interstellar, which grossed $188 million domestically when all was said and done and Dunkirk‘s first hurdle will simply be clearing that. While likely nothing he does will be able to surpass his two Dark Knight films, given their IP and anticipation building up to each of them, it could be time to start seeing his original films succeed again, the way Inception did in 2010 with a domestic gross of $292.5 million. And with a $150 million price tag, Dunkirk is definitely hoping to be one of Nolan’s more lucrative films.

Opening Weekend Current Gross Facebook Likes Tweets
Dunkirk N/A N/A 448,794 792,096
Girls Trip N/A N/A 178,322 23,044
War for the Planet of the Apes $56.2m $73.6m N/A 120,844
Spider-Man: Homecoming $117m $225.2m N/A 326,668
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets N/A N/A 282,657 224,360

Next up is the R-rated female comedy Girls Trip, led by Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish, and should be able to blow the summer’s earlier female-led comedy Rough Night, which has only grossed $21.7 million so far, out of the water. The film has a relatively basic premise: four friends reunite for a trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. What follows, of course, is two-hours of debauched fun, hysterical comedy, and great performances by four talented women. So what’s going to propel Girls Trip higher than its brethren Rough Night? Well, for one it’s great counter-programming to all the loud, action-packed blockbusters currently clogging up the top five. It also has way better reviews and word-of-mouth than Rough Night did. Where Rough Night earned a mediocre 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Girls Trip is currently going strong with 86 percent. Girls Trip is also the type of film that will do well with word-of-mouth — after all, a friend suggesting a fun night out seeing a raunchy comedy definitely has its appeals, and the more people see, and rave about, this film, the better it will do.

Girls TripUniversal Pictures

Following these two new films will be two holdovers: War for the Planet of the Apes and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which are both looking at drops a little over 50 percent. War currently boasts a domestic gross of $73.6 million and a worldwide gross of $125.4 million, still the lowest film in the new trilogy by $100 million domestically and over $300 million worldwide. However, there’s plenty more weeks for it to keep rising. Its $150 million budget is the slight matter of concern here, simply because it still needs $25 million to break even and plenty more to make anything of a profit. The silver lining is that the film is out and concludes a set trilogy, with no plans for a fourth film, so there’s less pressure on this film to greenlit anything else.

Spider-Man, meanwhile, has reached $225 million domestically in just two weeks (especially after one of the larger second-weekend drops in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), and is only $15 million away from hitting $500 million worldwide. It’s now the eleventh-highest film in the MCU and will easily cross into the top ten this weekend when it surpasses Doctor Strange‘s $232.6 million. Globally, Spider-Man is thirteenth and could very well beat Ant-Man this weekend depending on how its foreign intake goes.

     
Rotten Tomatoes IMDb Metacritic
Critics Users Stars  
Dunkirk 95 N/A  9.1  96
Girls Trip 86 N/A  N/A  71
War for the Planet of the Apes 94 88 8.1 82
Spider-Man: Homecoming 92  91  8.0 73
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 57  N/A 7.1 52

Finally, while Film Twitter has plenty to say about Luc Besson’s newest film, an adaptation of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, based on the French sci-fi comic series, Valérian and Laurelinethe film will have a tougher time appealing to and enticing the general public as the film isn’t expected to hit $20 million in its opening weekend. In fact, it’s predicted to struggle even reaching those heights. It’s not much of a surprise, given how niche a film like this is, and not easily translatable, as well as, quite simply, it has a lot of better-reviewed and talked about competition this weekend. Valerian has the lowest reviews of any other film discussed here, with an average 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps the most worrying about Valerian‘s expected low opening is that the film’s budget is $180 million. However, like another film from this year with a big budget and more of an appeal overseas (talking about The Great Wall, which grossed only $45 million here but ended up making $331.9 million globally with a $150 million budget), Valerian could very well succeed outside of North America and therefore still justify its price tag.

Elsewhere, mainstays like Despicable Me 3, Baby Driver, The Big Sick, and Wonder Woman are expected to round out the top ten.

(Sources: boxoffice.com, boxofficemojo.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb.com, metacritic.com. Tweets and Likes represent figures for this week only. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may have changed. Tracking Board does not report Rotten Tomatoes user ratings for movies that have not yet seen wide release.)

 | Associate Editor
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