Dunkirk continues to excel at the worldwide box office and has now become the highest-grossing World War II movie ever to release. Christopher Nolan has established himself as one of the most ambitious and influential directors in the filmmaking industry ever since he burst onto the scene in the late '90s. However, it wasn't until he made his first comic book movie, Batman Begins, that he started to become a household name.
Nolan spent years cultivating a professional relationship with Warner Bros., who have distributed each and every one of his films since Insomnia in 2002, with the exception of Interstellar, which was distributed by Paramount Pictures. However, Warners handled distribution internationally for that movie. The filmmaker then harnessed that unyielding relationship to get the studio to produce and distribute a WWII movie that didn't involve a single American: Dunkirk. The film followed a handful of British soldiers - who were among 400,000 other soldiers - as they attempted to evacuate France, as well as the air force pilots and civilian sailors who came to rescue them in June 1940.
The film hit theaters in July and has already proven to be yet another success for the admired filmmaker. So far, it has nabbed $183.8 million at the domestic box office - the third highest-grossing WWII film, behind Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan ($216.5 million) and Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor ($198.5 million) - and $316.8 million internationally, thus bringing its total cume to $500.6 million globally. That number surpasses both Saving Private Ryan ($481.8 million) and Pearl Harbor's ($449.2 million) unadjusted grosses, thus making Dunkirk the highest-grossing WWII movie ever to grace the silver screen.
Considering that Dunkirk is a movie featuring mostly British and French soldiers, about a battle that most Americans aren't aware of, the film's gross, especially in North America, is exceptional, to say the least. Furthermore, it only recently opened in China - the world's second largest moviegoing market - where it has already raked in over $47 million. That number contributed to Dunkirk pushing past the half-billion dollar mark just a few weeks after it broke past the $400 million threshold.
Currently, Dunkirk's $500 million gross makes it the filmmaker's fifth highest-grossing movie he's ever made, behind The Dark Knight Rises ($1.084 billion), The Dark Knight ($1.004 billion), Inception ($825.5 million), and Interstellar ($675.1 million), and ahead of Batman Begins ($374.2 million). Judging by the gap between Dunkirk and Nolan's fourth highest-grossing film, Interstellar, it's certainly possible that the film may not hit that mark unless it performs exceptionally well in China and has a last-minute push towards the end of its run in other markets. From now on, though, Nolan and Warner Bros. executives may not concern themselves with box office grosses but rather Dunkirk's Oscar potential.
Source: Box Office Mojo