Elsewhere, ‘Atomic Blonde’ opens to $18.6 million, while Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ and Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ test the waters in select theaters.
Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed World War II drama Dunkirk out-smiled new family animated film The Emoji Movie at the North American box office, earning $28.1 million in its second outing to win the weekend.
Dunkirk, declining just 44 percent, passed the $100 million mark domestically to finish Sunday with $102.8 million in total ticket sales. Overseas, the event film marched to $45.6 million from 62 markets for a foreign tally of $131.3 million and $234.1 million globally (including a hefty $40.1 million from Imax theaters). Dunkirk‘s total in the U.K. is $35.4 million, already surpassing the lifetime runs of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper and Nolan’s last film, Interstellar. Dunkirk continues to conquer in Asia as well, having already earned $16.7 million in South Korea, where the filmmaker has a huge fan base.
The Emoji Movie, from Sony Animated Pictures, overcame withering reviews and a mediocre B CinemaScore to land at $25.7 million, in line with tracking, if not slightly higher. “We are thrilled the audience has spoken and embraced The Emoji Movie,” says Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein.
Sony says the film is a major victory, considering it cost $50 million to produce, a modest sum for a major studio animated pic. Earlier this year, DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which cost $38 million to make after outsourcing the animation, debuted to $24 million.
Based on the ubiquitous ideograms used in text messages on other social platforms, The Emoji Movie revolves around Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller) who, unlike the other inhabitants of Textpolis, has multiple expressions. Determined to be a normal emoji, he and his friends embark on an adventure to locate the code that will fix him, only to find themselves in a race to save the world. The ensemble voice cast also includes James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Jake T. Austin, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara and Patrick Stewart.
The weekend’s other new nationwide release, Charlize Theron’s edgy action pic Atomic Blonde, took in a solid $18.6 million for Universal specialty label Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity. Internationally, the film earned $5.9 million from its first batch of markets, including Russia, where Sierra is handling distribution duties. Universal has much of the world, and crafted much of the marketing with input from Focus.
David Leitch (John Wick) directed Atomic Blonde, based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, which centers on an MI6 spy during the final days of the Berlin Wall. James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones also star in the movie, which cost a net $30 million to produce and, like Emoji Movie, earned a B CinemaScore.
“This film takes a lot of chances. David takes action to another level, and Charlize Theron an unbelievable job being able to kick ass just likes the guys. This is a stylized, provocative, sexual and brazen film, which is why Focus got involved,” says Focus distribution president Lisa Bunnell, noting that it is one of the best openings ever for the specialty label.
Atomic Blonde placed No. 4 behind R-rated comedy sensation Girls Trip, which fell just 36 percent in its second outing to $20.1 million for a domestic total of $65.5 million. Girls Trip is by far the most successful live-action comedy of the year to date.
Among other highlights, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming hit $278 million domestically for a global total of $633.8 million in its fourth weekend, while Universal’s Despicable Me 3 crossed the $800 million mark worldwide.
Among other holdovers, the news remained grim for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which tumbled 60 percent to $6.8 million for a 10-day domestic total of $30.6 million.
There was major action on the specialty front as both Kathryn Bigelow’s period drama Detroit and Al Gore’s climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power opened in select theaters.
Detroit, the first release marketed and distributed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, grossed $365,000 from 20 theaters for a solid screen average of $18,273 a week ahead of its nationwide launch, which will be the big test for the film. The movie played in 10 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
From a script by Mark Boal, the pic recounts the riot of 50 years ago in the titular city that left seven black men and two white women dead. John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie star in the $40 million drama, financed and produced by Annapurna. “This is a film for everyone. When I look at the job Bigelow did, it isn’t like anything else in the market place,” says Annapurna president of distribution Erik Lomis, noting that 32 percent of the audience was African-American, and 42 percent, Caucasian.
Paramount and Participant Media’s An Inconvenient Sequel earned $130,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a screen average of $32,500, a good number for a doc even if it pales in comparison to the screen average of $70,332 for An Inconvenient Truth 11 years ago. An Inconvenient Sequel is now planning to expand slowly, versus expanding nationwide immediately. Next weekend, it moves into a total of 100 theaters.
“We wanted to take more time,” says Megan Colligan, Paramount’s
Elsewhere at the specialty box office, Sony Pictures Classics’ dramedy Brigsby Bear, directed by Dave McCary, bowed to $45,060 from three theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a screen average of $15,020.