Weekend Box Office: “Dunkirk” and “Girls Trip” Soar While “Valerian” Bombs

Warner’s World War II epic Dunkirk soared above the competition this weekend at the North America box office. Universal’s R-rated comedy Girls Trip also excelled, delivering the year’s largest opening for a live-action comedy. STX’s domestic release of the Luc Besson epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, on the other hand, was an outright bomb.

Opening on 3,720 screens, Dunkirk scored a big $50.5 million in its first three days. The latest epic from Christopher Nolan was predicted to open around $35-40 million, but strong reviews and an aggressive marketing campaign urging viewers to see the film in 70mm and IMAX venues pushed totals considerably higher. How effective was the marketing? The 402 IMAX venues playing Dunkirk contributed a huge 23% – $11.7 million- to the opening numbers.

Dunkirk scored some of the best reviews to date for a Christopher Nolan film. The feature scored a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 94/100 on Metacritic. The British war feature also struck a nerve with ticket buyers as well. They gave Dunkirk an “A-“ on CinemaScore, a good indicator that positive word-of-mouth should keep the future awards contender afloat at the North America box office throughout the remainder of the summer.

Overseas, Dunkirk also took in an estimated $55 million from 46 markets. Not surprisingly, the United Kingdom was the top spot where it made $12.4 million. 14% of that total came from large format venues. France contributed $4.9 million while South Korea brought in $10.3 million.

R-rated comedies have taken it on the chin this year at the box office, the highest grossing so far being Baywatch with $58 million. Universal’s comedy Girls Trip should reverse that curse quickly and is already halfway there thanks to a $30.4 million opening from 2,591 theaters. The $20 million Malcolm D. Lee production was championed by critics, who gave the comedy an 89% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 72/100 on Metacritic. The public liked it even more, giving the film an “A+” on CinemaScore.

While two original features soared this weekend, two others continued to be the recipients of franchise fatigue. Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming swung 50% less in its third session on 4,130 screens to bring in an estimated $22 million. The film’s domestic total stands at $251 million so far, with the $290-300 million looking to be the finish line. Overseas, young Peter Parker has collected $320 million so far.

Last week’s number one flick War for the Planet of the Apes took a big tumble down to fourth place. The acclaimed Caesar finale dropped a troubling 64% to score an estimated $20.3 million from 4,100 theaters. After ten days, the domestic total for War is currently $98 million with a disappointing $120 million in the cards for a final total. Foreign totals are currently at $77 million.

Rounding out the top five with a loud thud was this week’s third wide release, STX’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The latest fantasy epic from French director Luc Besson, the $210 million Valerian couldn’t overcome a bland marketing campaign and bad reviews, winding up with only $17 million from 3,553 screens.

  1.  Despicable Me 3 (Universal) $12.7 million (-34%); $213.3 million
  2.  Baby Driver (Sony) $6 million (-31%); $84.2 million
  3.  The Big Sick (Lionsgate/Amazon) $5 million (-33%); $24.5 million
  4.  Wonder Woman (2017) (Warner) $4.6 million (-32%); $389 million

On Saturday night, the Warner blockbuster officially became the biggest hit of the summer movie season. Next stop: the $400 million club, which it should hit by mid-August.

  1.  Wish Upon (BG) $2.4 million (-55%); $10.5 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Atomic Blonde and…God help us…The Emoji Movie. Dunkirk should remain in the top spot for a second straight week.

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