“Dunkirk” Storms the Box Office to Take First Place


July 21--23, 2017

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


Dunkirk $50.5 million
Girls Trip $30.3 million
Spider-Man: Homecoming  $22.0 million
War for the Planet of the Apes  $20.4 million
Valerian and the City
of a Thousand Planets
$17.0 million

Christopher Nolan's World War II epic Dunkirk took charge at the box office, with an estimated $50.5 million. While the film took in more in its opening weekend than his 2014 sci-fi drama Interstellar, it's still off from his box office behemoths like Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy. Still, for a movie that's not a sequel, remake or based on a comic book, that's an impressive debut indeed.

Even more impressive is Girls Trip, the raunchy comedy starring a quartet of very funny African-American women. Like Bridesmaids or The Hangover before it, it delivered a strong debut on a relatively small budget, with audiences praising its non-stop laughs. The film earned $30.3 million this weekend alone, already more than its $19 million budget. It should be one of the summer's sleeper hits.

Spider-Man: Homecoming fell another 50 percent in its third weekend, taking it to just north of $250 million. That means it should pass The Amazing Spider-Man by next weekend, as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier to become the 9th-biggest MCU movie to date. War for the Planet of the Apes slipped to fourth in its second weekend. That's a sizable drop, and means it hasn't crossed $100 million yet. It will definitely be the smallest entry in the franchise. But that's more than you can say for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the bonkers adaptation of the French comic book from Luc Besson. The independently financed $200 million blockbuster managed an extremely weak $17 million. That's about what The Fifth Element opened with 20 years ago in 1,000 fewer theaters.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Landline, the latest dramedy from Gillian Robespierre. The '90s-set film averaged $13,084 on four screens.
  • After eight weeks in the top 10, Wonder Woman finally surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to become the second-biggest movie of 2017. It won't catch the year's most massive success: Beauty and the Beast, which earned more than half a billion dollars.
  • Despicable Me 3 may be the end of the line for Gru. It will be the lowest-grossing film in the franchise, including the Minions spin-off, earning less than $250 million.

Next week:

Charlize Theron kicks all the double-crossing asses in the sexy action thriller Atomic Blonde, from the co-director of John Wick. I think it will be a photo finish with the second week of Dunkirk. I think it will edge Dunkirk slightly with $30 million. And if all our prayers are answered, The Emoji Movie will crash and burn with $18 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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