Box-Office Preview: 'Emoji Movie,' 'Atomic Blonde' to Battle 'Dunkirk'

Left, courtesy of Columbia Pictures, right, courtesy of Focus Features
'The Emoji Movie' (left), 'Atomic Blonde'

Elsewhere, Kathryn Bigelow's 'Detroit' and Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Sequel' both debut in select theaters a week before opening nationwide.

If moviegoers ever wanted to hear Sir Patrick Stewart voice the poop emoji, they are about to get their chance.

This weekend, Sony Pictures Animation unfurls The Emoji Movie, based on the popular ideograms that have become their own popular language. But it remains to be seen whether the animated pic can pass Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, which opened to $50.3 million last week, and win the weekend.

The Emoji Movie is tracking to debut in the $25 million-$27 million range, although Sony is being more conservative in suggesting $20 million.

Tony Leondis directed the film, which revolves around an emoji named Gene who, unlike the other inhabitants of Textpolis, has multiple expressions. Determined to be normal, he and his pals 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 includes T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Jake T. Austin, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara and Stewart. 

The Emoji Movie cost $50 million to make, according to Sony.

Atomic Blonde, a period action-thriller starring Charlize Theron, also makes its big-screen appearance this weekend. According to tracking, the $30 million pic should open between $20 million-$22 million for Universal's specialty label Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity. Some box-office observers believe it could easily overperform, considering Scarlett Johansson's Lucy debuted to $44 million in late July 2014.

David Leitch (John Wick) directed Atomic Blonde, which chronicles the breakneck adventures of a lethal 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. Atomic Blonde is based on the Oni Press graphic novel The Coldest City.

There is also major action on the specialty front as both Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit and Al Gore's climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power open in select theaters on Friday, a week ahead of their nationwide debuts.

Detroit — the first release from Annapurna Pictures, director Megan Ellison's new indie studio — will roll out in 20 theaters in 20 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The period crime drama recounts the riot of 50 years ago in the titular city.

Bigelow reteamed with her Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal on Detroit. In recent days, Annapurna decided to first open the movie in select theaters after a successful screening program. The pic stars John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie.

Paramount and Participant Media will debut An Inconvenient Sequel in two theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk directed the doc, which opens 11 years after An Inconvenient Truth, likewise steered by Gore, hit theaters. In hopes of luring younger moviegoers, Snapchat is partnering with Paramount and Participant to offer free tickets to consumers 18 and younger.

Elsewhere at the specialty box office, Sony Classic Pictures will open Dave McCary's dramedy Brigsby Bear in New York and Los Angeles.

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