Dunkirk over­whelms Va­le­rian

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE -

The World War II epic Dunkirk, a po­ten­tial Os­car con­tender from di­rec­tor Christo­pher Nolan, led the do­mes­tic box of­fice in its de­but, while the costly sci­encefic­tion film Va­le­rian and the City of a Thou­sand Plan­ets flopped with movie fans.

Dunkirk, from Warner Bros., opened with week­end sales of $50.5 mil­lion in U.S. and Cana­dian the­aters, re­searcher ComS­core Inc. said Sun­day. The R-rated com­edy Girls Trip made its de­but with $31.2 mil­lion, top­ping es­ti­mates. Va­le­rian took in $17 mil­lion, miss­ing al­ready low ex­pec­ta­tions.

Nolan, who di­rected Warner Bros.’ suc­cess­ful Dark Knight films, re­turns with a movie that some crit­ics say should con­tend for the best­pic­ture Os­car. The stu­dio is en­joy­ing a solid year at the box of­fice. Sales are up 7.2 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to Box Of­fice Mojo, on the strength of Won­der Woman from its DC Comics fran­chise. Warner Bros. also is re­leas­ing Blade Run­ner 2049 and Jus­tice League later this year.

Dunkirk fea­tures Tom Hardy, Ken­neth Branagh, Os­car win­ner Mark Ry­lance and One Di­rec­tion singer Harry Styles in a story about the his­toric res­cue of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Al­lied sol­diers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France.

The movie had a bud­get of $150 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Box Of­fice Mojo. Crit­ics gave Dunkirk 92 per­cent pos­i­tive re­views, ac­cord­ing to ag­gre­ga­tor Rot­ten­toma­toes.com.

Many an­a­lysts ex­pected a tepid start based on the film’s ap­peal among older men. But the pic­ture, which re­ceived an A-mi­nus Cine­maS­core from au­di­ences, saw a 60 per­cent male turnout, and 75 per­cent were 25 or older.

Jeff Gold­stein, pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion at Warner Bros., said he was elated with the film’s per­for­mance.

Gold­stein ex­pects the au­di­ence de­mo­graphic to broaden in the com­ing weeks, cit­ing word of mouth as the film’s pri­mary mar­ket­ing scheme. This is ev­i­denced by box­of­fice fig­ures, which re­flect a 23 per­cent jump in ticket sales be­tween Fri­day and Satur­day.

With its fifth-place open­ing, Va­le­rian is one of the sum­mer’s big­gest fail­ures and a poor show­ing for di­rec­tor Luc Bes­son, whose cred­its in­clude The Fifth El­e­ment.

The film is one of the most ex­pen­sive in­de­pen­dent movies ever, based on data from Box Of­fice Mojo and the distributor STX En­ter­tain­ment, which pegged the pro­jected cost at $150 mil­lion even af­ter gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies.

Pro­duced by Bes­son’s EuropaCorp and Orange Stu­dio, the pic­ture opened at just $17 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Hol­ly­wood Stock Ex­change. Crit­ics were split on the film, which gar­nered 56 per­cent pos­i­tive re­views.

Girls Trip, from Uni­ver­sal, opened in sec­ond place with $ 31.2 mil­lion. Regina Hall, Queen Lat­i­fah, Tif­fany Had­dish and Jada Pin­kett Smith star as life­long friends who travel to New Or­leans for the an­nual Essence Fes­ti­val. They rekin­dle their friend­ship and re­dis­cover their wild sides.

Al­though some an­a­lysts fore­saw the suc­cess of Girls Trip, the movie acts as a stark coun­ter­point to Hol­ly­wood’s his­tor­i­cal un­der­es­ti­ma­tion of films led by black women.

In third place was Columbia’s Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing, and in fourth, Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes.

Ken­neth Branagh stars as Com­man­der Bolton in the new Warner Bros. Pic­tures’ ac­tion thriller Dunkirk. It came in first at last week­end’s box of­fice and made about $50.5 mil­lion.

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