The Dark Tower barely beat Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in its opening weekend, rounding out what’s been a slow summer box office. Director Nikolaj Arcel’s highly anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s novel opened to mostly poor reviews, sitting at 18% on Rotten Tomatoes as of Sunday. But The Dark Tower was still projected to beat out fellow new release Detroit and give Dunkirk a run when it first hit theaters.
The Dark Tower was projected earlier this week to land at around $20-25 million in its first weekend, making back a good chunk of its relatively modest $66 million budget (including reshoots). Detroit was also slated to gross about $10-15 million in its wide release. But the weekend totals are in, and while The Dark Tower managed to win, it came in lower than expected – underlining how the summer box office as a whole had a steep drop-off from last year.
As reported by Variety, The Dark Tower managed to unseat Dunkirk at the top spot of the domestic box office with $19.5 million from 3,451 locations. While that fell below its earlier projections of $20 million, it narrowly beat out Columbia’s estimate of $19 million. Dunkirk, meanwhile, finished second with $17.6 million at 4,014 locations, which is only a 34% drop from last weekend. Already one of the most commercially successful World War II movies ever, Dunkirk should end up with about $133.6 million domestically and passed the $300 million mark worldwide on Saturday. Made mostly with IMAX cameras, Nolan’s latest grossed $4 million this weekend from IMAX screenings alone.
Sony’s The Emoji Movie checks in at third place with $12.35 million from 4,075 locations, only a 50% drop from last week. Universal’s Girls Trip continues to be the summer’s biggest comedy, bringing in another $11.4 million from 2,582 theaters to finish fourth. Rounding out the top-5 is Aviron Pictures’ Halle Berry-led thriller Kidnap, which earned $10.2 million from 2,378 locations.
Detroit, meanwhile, fell short of its $10 million projection with just $7.3 million at 3,007 locations. The movie opened to widespread acclaim with an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Sunday and will likely get plenty of attention come awards season, but it’s nonetheless a disappointing start for Bigelow’s latest collaboration with writer Mark Boal. The overall summer box office is down from the same time period last year, when Suicide Squad opened to $133.7 million in the U.S. Despite the continued success for blockbusters like Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Wonder Woman, a string of recent disappointments has left the box office lagging behind 2016.
It’s not all bad news for the summer box office, as Wonder Woman is poised to cross the $400 million mark domestically in the coming days. But several other big-budget summer releases have not caught on with audiences. Some, like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, have outright flopped, while the critically panned The Dark Tower is also likely to drop off significantly from here. The box office should see an end-of-year surge with Star Wars: The Last Jedi and other tentpoles, but it has nonetheless been an underwhelming summer overall.
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