July 29, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Dunkirk” Battles “The Emoji Movie,” “Atomic Blonde” Non-Explosive


The box office race is likely to be tight this weekend, with contenders at either end of the quality spectrum.  THE EMOJI MOVIE (Columbia/Sony) drew first blood with a $10.2M opening day (including $900K from Thursday night), according to preliminary numbers at Deadline.  That’s $2.2M better than the first day of Captain Underpants last month, which roughly tripled its Friday for the weekend.  But Saturday will be the critical day for Emoji:  animated movies typically do well at weekend matinees for obvious reasons (Captain Underpants climbed 11% on its 2d day), but Emoji has to cope with reviews and polling that suggests bad word of mouth, so its trajectory is unclear.  For now, let’s call the weekend $27M.

DUNKIRK (Warners) slid 58% from last Friday to $8.2M, a hair better than the 59% drop that Wonder Woman had on its 2d Friday.  (Both are far ahead of the norm for blockbusters:  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 fell 71%, and Spider-Man: Homecoming dropped 73% on their parallel days.)  If Dunkirk continues on a Wonder Woman path, it will decline around 43% for the weekend to $29M, on its way to $160M+ in the US.

GIRLS TRIP (Perfect World/Universal) is holding even better than Dunkirk, down an exceptional 50% Friday-to-Friday to $5.9M.  Its weekend drop may be 40% or less, giving it a $19M weekend, and a solid chance of hitting $100M in the US at a decidedly non-blockbuster cost.

Despite a big-studio level marketing campaign that seemed to have star/producer Charlize Theron just about everywhere, ATOMIC BLONDE (Focus/Universal) isn’t sparking at the box office with a $7M opening day ($1.5M from Thursday night).  An $18M weekend would be OK, but still with a distance to go toward profitability, even with moderate production costs.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Marvel/Columbia/Sony) held well on its 4th Friday, down 40% to $3.8M for a likely $13M weekend.  If it can hold onto its theatres, it might still reach $300M in the US.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (TSG/20th) fell around 52% on its 3rd Friday to $2.9M for a $10M weekend, and is likely to end up around $140M in the US, the lowest of this Apes series.

DESPICABLE ME 3 (Illumination/Universal) wasn’t troubled by the arrival of Emoji Movie, down 37% from last Friday to $2.4M for a $9M weekend, continuing to chug its way to $240-250M in the US.

No one expected good news from the 2d weekend of VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (Europa/STX)–the press it’s received this week has been almost exclusively about which of its financial backers is likely to bear the worst of its losses–and it dropped an ugly 73% from last Friday to $1.7M, for a $6M weekend and a US total that won’t get much past $40M.

BABY DRIVER (MRC/TriStar/Sony) and WONDER WOMAN (RatPac/Huahua/Tencent/DC/Warners) continue to be the summer’s audience favorites.  Baby Driver declined 29% Friday-to-Friday to $1.3M, with a $4.5M weekend ahead and a route to $100M in the US.  Wonder Woman held even better, down a mere 17% on its 9th Friday to $1M, for a $4M weekend and an appointment with $400M dead ahead.

There were no real standouts among the limited releases.  DETROIT (Annapurna) is facing a rather blah $19K weekend average at 20 theatres before it goes wide next weekend.  AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (Paramount Vantage) may average $25K at 4, but that’s with an extremely aggressive program of in-theatre Al Gore Q&As to provide a boost.  BRIGSBY BEAR (Sony Classics) could average $14K at 3.  MENASHE (A24) may average $12K at 4.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."