Weekend Box Office: 'Dunkirk' Heads for $50M U.S. Debut; 'Valerian' Bombing

Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Pictures
'Dunkirk'

Elsewhere, Universal's femme-centric 'Girls Trip' nabs a coveted A+ CinemaScore. And on Saturday, 'Wonder Woman' will overtake 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' to become the top-grossing domestic title of summer.

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk easily won the Friday box-office battle with an estimated $19.8 million from 3,720 theaters for a projected $50 million debut, the best opening for a World War II movie in recent memory.

Dunkirk is getting a wide berth in Imax theaters and on 70mm screens (Imax's Friday share was a hefty $4.7 million). The critically acclaimed film, from Warner Bros., earned an A- CinemaScore and currently sports a 91 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Nolan's last film, Interstellar, debuted to nearly $50 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, including $47.5 million for the three-day weekend. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was his biggest opening ($160.9 million), followed by 2008's The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), 2005's Batman Begins ($73 million, including a three-day weekend of $48.7 million) and 2010's Inception ($62.8 million).

Dunkirk, recounting one of World War II's most famous battles, stars Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, One Direction's Harry Styles and Aneurin Barnard. At 107 minutes, it is the shortest film of Nolan's career, outside of his first movie. The production budget was $150 million or more.

Overseas, Dunkirk has earned $8.6 million in its first two days after beginning to roll out in select markets on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Universal's Girls Trip is laughing loudly. The femme-centric pic placed No. 2 Friday from 2,591 theaters for a projected $28.1 million weekend —  the best showing of the year so far for an R-rated comedy, a genre that's been decidedly challenged. Girls Trip earned a coveted A+ CinemaScore.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who also produced alongside Will Packer, Girls Trip stars Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as lifelong friends who go to New Orleans for a wild weekend of fun.

The news isn't good for the weekend's third new release, Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets. The sci-fi epic, costing $180 million to produce, bombed Friday with $6.5 million from 3,553 theaters for a domestic opening in the $16 million-$17 million range.

From Besson's EuropaCorp and U.S. distributor STX Films, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as a duo who must travel through space and time to save the universe. EuropaCorp put together financing for the movie and provided marketing funds, minimizing STX's exposure. Valerian earned a B- CinemaScore.

At that pace, Valerian won't be able to beat holdovers Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes. Among other holdovers, Universal and Illumination's Despicable Me 3 jumped the $200 million mark at the domestic box office on Thursday.

And today, Warner Bros. Wonder Woman will overtake Gaurdians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in North America to become the top-grossing film of summer and the second-biggest title of the year to date behind Beauty and the Beast. Through Friday, Wonder Woman's total was $385.7 million, versus $386 million for Guardians 2.

Wonder Woman will finish the weekend with a cume of nearly $389 million, meaning it is now assured of hitting $400 million domestically. The timing of today's milestone could prove fortuitous. On Saturday at CinemaCon, Warners is likely to officially announce the Wonder Woman sequel, as well as a release date of June 5, 2020.

 

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