Newcomers reigned supreme at the box office this weekend, though one of them did not fare as well as the others.
Securing the top spot is Dunkirk (read our review), the latest film by fan-favorite director Christopher Nolan. The World War II thriller earned $50.5 million domestically in its first three days, riding the waves of positive buzz following the enthusiastic reactions. Some pundits called the effort one of Nolan's best (if not the best of his career), so there was much interest and demand to see what all the hype was about. Dunkirk actually bested the projections heading into the weekend, becoming one of the rare summer releases that surpassed expectations. Many of the biggest films this season disappointed commercially, but Dunkirk kept a near month-long hot streak for Hollywood going.
Dunkirk should also be in a nice position for a long, fruitful run. There aren't many high-profile titles left on the release schedule as we make our way to the end of summer, meaning Nolan's film could be the one of choice for many audience members looking for an experience that's worth the price of admission over the next few weeks. With Nolan's fan base coming out in full force and (extremely) early Oscar talk surrounding Dunkirk, it has a lot of selling points moving forward.
Coming in second is the new comedy Girls Trip, which brought in $30.3 million during its opening weekend. Comedies have had a tough time at the box office this year, but this ensemble piece managed to reverse those fortunes. The biggest factor here was the reviews, which were widely positive. That helped sell Girls Trip as a fun "girls night out" movie, appealing to a demographic that hasn't had much to choose from recently. The production budget for the film was an economic $19 million, so it's already well on its way to turning a profit for Universal. Girls Trip should end up doing quite well, particularly since there no other big studio comedies set to come out in the next few weeks.
Coming in third is Spider-Man: Homecoming with $22 million. The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe now stands at $251.7 million domestically through three weeks of release.
Taking a sizable hit and falling to fourth is last week's champ, War for the Planet of the Apes. The sci-fi sequel made $20.4 million in its second weekend, a 63.7 percent decrease from its debut. Despite the very positive reviews, Apes received some stiff competition from Dunkirk, which seemed to be geared for a similar audience. Its Stateside total now stands at $97.7 million. The international numbers have given it a bit of a boost, as the global total is $174.8 million. There's a long way to go before it reaches profitability, and Fox has to hope War can steady out now that it took its second weekend drop.
Rounding out the top five is newcomer Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (read our review), which made just $17 million domestically in its first three days. The project was facing an uphill climb from the start for a variety of reasons. For starters, the source material comic book is not well-known, meaning there was probably a lack of awareness amongst casual audiences. The demand to see these characters on the big screen is not nearly as high as someone like Spider-Man or Batman. Also, the word-of-mouth was decidedly mixed, which was a red flag for some viewers. Especially as Dunkirk was earning raves (on top of the acclaimed holdovers still playing), there was little incentive to see Valerian.
Despite that low figure, Valerian is in an interesting position. It may not end up being a commercial failure because of Luc Besson's savvy business move by incorporating full-equity financing in order to get the movie made. This is when the producers bankroll a project by finding people willing to invest in a movie against its future performance. Then, the distribution rights are sold around the world. In Valerian's case, Besson sold $80 million of presale in a day, so the endeavor was relatively risk-free. However, only $17 million in three days indicates there is not much interest in the property as a whole, so the question of whether or not there will be sequels remains up in the air.
In sixth is Despicable Me 3 with $12.7 million. Illumination's newest animated hit raised its domestic total to $213.3 million.
The #7 film of the weekend is Baby Driver. Edgar Wright's acclaimed heist film made $6 million in its fourth weekend to raise its domestic total to $84.2 million.
In eighth is The Big Sick with $5 million. The rom-com now stands at $24.5 million in the U.S.
Wonder Woman came in ninth with $4.6 million. DC's blockbuster, which is now the biggest movie of summer 2017, raised its domestic total to $389 million.
Capping off the top 10 is Wish Upon. The horror movie made $2.4 million in its second weekend and now stands at $10.5 million.
[NOTE: These are only weekend box office estimates -- based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales coupled with adjusted expectations for Sunday. Official weekend box office results will be released on Monday, July 24 -- at which time we'll update this post with any changes.]
Source: Box Office Mojo
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