Weekend Box Office: Brits Blast Emojis to Stop Multiplex Armageddon

To quote Lando Calrissian from Return of the Jedi, that was too close.

A Multiplex Armageddon hinted at on Friday in theaters across North America was ultimately avoided by Sunday thanks to Dunkirk. Moviegoers opted to keep the Christopher Nolan hit at the top of the box office for a second straight week, despite making the reviled Sony cartoon The Emoji Movie top dog on its first day of release. Elsewhere, the Charlize Theron action flick Atomic Blonde kicked moderate ass in its fourth place debut while Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit got off to an explosive start in limited release.

The second week of Dunkirk showed great resolve as the film dipped a modest 44% to earn an estimated $28.1 million in its second round on 3,748 screens. After ten days, Dunkirk has a domestic total of $103 million. It was the first film to repeat as the number one film since Wonder Woman achieved the feat in early June.

Once again, large screen venues made a big impact on Dunkirk’s grosses. 403 IMAX venues made up 22% – or $6.2 million- of this weekend’s figures. Nolan’s latest should continue to benefit from word-of-mouth and play strong throughout the rest of the summer, propelling the future awards contender to finish with a gross near the $175 million mark. Overseas, Dunkirk has brought in $131.3 million so far.

After achieving moderate success with The Angry Birds Movie, Sony Animation Studios delved right into searching their cellphones to find their next cinematic masterstroke. Unfortunately, The Gmail Movie and Snapchat This! were already being developed by the likes of Lars Von Trier and the guy who made The Human Centipede*. So instead, Sony opted to spend $50 million –and most likely another $50 million in marketing- to make the “number two” movie in the country this week, The Emoji Movie.

Featuring the voice talents of T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris and a seriously slumming Sir Patrick Stewart, The Emoji Movie brushed off the worst reviews of the summer movie season – quite a feat given June’s Transformers: The Last Knight – to earn $25.6 million from 4,075 theaters.

The film managed to take the top spot at the box office on Friday with $10 million but slipped to second thanks to a 14% dip on Saturday once the negative word of mouth began to spread. The consensus on Emoji was as follows: an 8% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, a 9/100 from Metacritic and a “B” from viewers via CinemaScore.

Universal’s acclaimed comedy Girls Trip sped along just fine in third place with a solid $20.1 million from 2,648 theaters. Like Dunkirk, the great reviews that helped launch the film have now been replaced by great feedback from ticket buyers, guaranteeing a solid late summer run. Off only 36% from its debut, Girls Trip has captured $65.5 million after ten days and should be able to finish around $110 million by the end of its run.

Landing in fourth place with an $18.5 million from 3,304 venues was the Focus Features release Atomic Blonde. The latest slick action epic from John Wick co-director David Leitch stars Charlize Theron as an elite MI6 agent and co-stars James McAvoy, John Goodman and Sofia Boutella. The 1980s-set espionage thriller received largely positive reviews from the press: 73% approval from Rotten Tomatoes and 63/100 on Metacritic. The public’s embracing of this particular Blonde, however, wasn’t as warm. They gave the $30 million production a “B”, the same grade given to future waterboarding substitute The Emoji Movie.

Rounding out the top five was Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, which stabilized a bit in its fourth round on 3,625 theaters. The latest adventure for Peter Parker dropped only 38% for a $13.5 million weekend. To date, Homecoming has brought in $278 million and could still manage to squeak by the $300 million domestic mark by summer’s end. Foreign totals stand at $355 million.

Opening in limited release just outside the top ten was the Kathryn Bigelow drama Detroit. The first film to be independently released by Annapurna Pictures, Detroit opened on twenty screens to score an incendiary $365,455. Reviews were strong for the docudrama, which stars Anthony Mackie and John Boyega. The film will go wide this upcoming Friday.

  1.  War for the Planet of the Apes (Fox) $10.3 million (-50%); $118 million
  2.  Despicable Me 3 (Universal) $7.7 million (-41%); $230 million
  3.  Valerian (STX) $6.8 million (-60%); $30.6 million
  4.  Baby Driver (Sony) $4.4 million (-33%) $92 million
  5.  Wonder Woman (Warner) $3.5 million (-23%); $395.4 million

Baby Driver should cruise past $100 million within the next two weeks while Wonder Woman will finally conquer the $400 million milestone in a similar timespan. Congrats to both.

In addition to the wide expansion of Detroit, next weekend sees the arrival of Sony’s anticipated The Dark Tower and the Halle Berry feature Kidnap. While Dunkirk will continue strong, the weekend should go to The Dark Tower.


* = Not really. But can you imagine if they were?

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