Weekend Box Office: Sinking the Competition

This weekend showed the possibility of two trends coming true: Effects-driven blockbusters will decline and original content will thrive. Christopher Nolan’s war film and the female-led crude comedy both outgrossed expectations. Could we be witnessing the start of a new phase in Hollywood?

Warner Bros. placed a lot of trust in Christopher Nolan when cutting him a $150 million check and approving him to make an indie war film disguised as a summer blockbuster. Leading into the weekend, the studio predicted ‘Dunkirk‘ opening between $35 million and $40 million. However, the film defied expectations by not only landing at the top of the box office, but grossing $50.5 million. Of that total, $11.5 million came from 402 IMAX theaters. The movie’s international performance was just as strong. From 46 markets, it earned $55.4 million, $7 million of which came from 231 IMAX locations. With a $105.9 million worldwide debut, ‘Dunkirk’ is off to a strong start.

In a surprise move, ‘Girls Trip‘ performed more like ‘Bad Moms’ than ‘Rough Night’. The comedy’s stellar $30.3 million opening easily landed it in second place. Considering that the movie was produced with a budget of $19 million, ‘Girls Trip’ will be profitable in no time. This should be a lesson to the filmmakers of movies like ‘Snatched’ and ‘The House’. In the long run, comedies with unnecessarily high budgets are rarely big successes.

In its third week, ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘ once again fell harder than expected. Dipping 50% in attendance, the movie made $22 million and finished in third place. The $175 million Marvel flick has grossed $251.7 million domestically and $320 million overseas, bringing its worldwide draw up to $571.7 million.

Just as ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Transformers’ did this summer, ‘War for the Planet of the Apes‘ showed signs of sequel fatigue. Although it unexpectedly swung into the top spot last weekend, ‘Apes’ dropped a hard 64% and fell into fourth place. The $20.4 million weekend brings its domestic ten-day total up to $97.7 million. Combined with the $77.1 million foreign total, the threequel has $174.8 million all told. Taking into account its $150 million budget, I can’t help but wonder if this franchise will go extinct after this.

Luc Besson’s $210 million CGI-heavy space epic ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets‘ tanked. As the most expensive movie to ever come out of France, its fifth place $17 million opening is a bust. The film’s international kick-off begins this weekend. While it’s expected to play much better overseas than it did in the United States, it’s still going to struggle to make the estimated $500 million necessary to get out of the red.

In other news, the domestic total of eight-week-old ‘Wonder Woman‘ climbed up to $389 million, topping the $387 domestic total for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ and making it the highest-grossing domestic release of 2017.

Top 10:

1. ‘Dunkirk’ (Warner Bros.) – $50,500,000

2. ‘Girls Trip’ (Universal) – $30,370,720

3. ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (Sony) – $22,010,000

4. ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (Fox) – $20,400,000

5. ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ (STX) – $17,020,000

6. ‘Despicable Me 3′ (Universal) – $12,714,475

7. Baby Driver’ (Sony) – $6,000,000

8. ‘The Big Sick’ (Lionsgate) – $5,000,000

9. ‘Wonder Woman’ (Warner Bros.) – $4,630,000

10. ‘Wish Upon’ (Broad Green) – $2,477,816


  1. NJScorpio

    I think part of what made Girls Trip such a hit was because not only was it featuring funny female leads, but it was depicted the bond between black women, without it having to be within a story of them having to prove their value in a racist society (like ‘Hidden Figures’). “According to Box Office Mojo, 59 percent of the audience was black, 19 percent was white, 17 percent was Hispanic and 3 percent was Asian.” It’s like they tapped into the Bridesmaid’s audience, and the Tyler Perry Presents audience, but respected them both enough to make an entertaining movie.

  2. cardpetree

    I know the black womens showed up big time at one of my local theaters Saturday night. I’m assuming they were there to see Girls Trip. I had to fight through a bunch of them to get my tickets to see Dunkirk. That theater lobby was extra rowdy and loud that night.

  3. Nagara

    Not to be that guy but, Wonder Woman is the highest grossing domestic release of the summer. Beauty and the Beast is still number 1 for the year so far.

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