Box Office Report: 'Dunkirk' Repeats at #1 While 'Emoji,' 'Blonde' on Path to Profit

Box Office Report: 'Dunkirk' Repeats at #1 While 'Emoji,' 'Blonde' on Path to Profit

Jul 31, 2017

The Emoji MovieHere's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Dunkirk - $28.0 million ($102.8 million total)

2. The Emoji Movie - $25.6 million ($25.6 million total)

3. Girls Trip - $20.0 million ($65.5 million total)

4. Atomic Blonde - $18.5 million ($18.5 million total)

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming - $13.4 million ($278.3 million total)

6. War for the Planet of the Apes - $10.3 million ($118.6 million total)

7. Despicable Me 3 - $7.7 million ($230.4 million total)

8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - $6.8 million ($30.6 million total)

9. Baby Driver - $4.0 million ($92.0 million total)

10. Wonder Woman - $3.5 million ($395.4 million total)


The Big Stories

After the season kicked off with the very well-liked and tremendous hit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the summer definitely hit the lulls in terms of both quality and outright success. Many would agree, though, that sometime around the arrival of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, the summer took a turn for the better; some may even say exceptional.

Last summer at this time, the top ten consisted of three sequels (Jason Bourne (57% RT), Star Trek Beyond (85%) and Finding Dory (94%)), two wannabe reboots (Ghostbusters (73%) and The Legend of Tarzan (35%)), a film about women behaving badly (Bad Moms (63%)) and at least one animated film nobody asked for (Ice Age: Collision Course (12%)) with an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 62.5%.

This weekend, the top ten consists of two sequels, a pair of superhero flash-sideways, a film about women behaving badly and at least one animated film nobody asked for. But at least their average critical score is 74.8%.


It Gets Four Poops Down

Sony clearly knew what they had in The Emoji Movie (8%). As the reviews trickled out, there was a time the animated film was sporting a solid 0% at Rotten Tomatoes, hoping not to join such notable failures like the American remake of One Missed Call and the forgotten Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.

Since 1998 there have been over 175 wide releases to receive a single-digit score at Rotten Tomatoes; more than you might have imagined. In fact, here are the top 20 opening weekends of films starting with less than 10% critical support.

Grown Ups 2 ($41.5), The Last Airbender ($40.3), Taken 3 ($39.2), 10,000 B.C. ($35.8), Norbit ($34.1), The Devil Inside ($33.7), Big Momma’s House 2 ($27.7), The Emoji Movie ($25.6) Fantastic Four (2015) ($25.6), Jack and Jill ($25.0), White Noise ($24.1), Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 ($23.7), Saw 3-D ($22.5), When a Stranger Calls ($21.6), Christmas with the Kranks ($21.5), Prom Night ($20.8), Date Movie ($19.0), Epic Movie ($18.6), Meet the Spartans ($18.5), Premonition ($17.5), Old Dogs ($16.8).

The Emoji Movie marks the ninth Sony film on that list, so the positive spin is that the studio at least seems to know how to open a bad film. Or you can do the research and see that of the 26 films prior to Emoji that Sony released with a sub-10% RT rating, the average opening is $13.1 million. Emoji did more than twice that average, giving the $50 million production a chance to actually make a profit.

Last year’s Ice Age: Collision Course opened to $21.3 million and made $64 million. In 2013, Turbo (67%) opened to nearly the same amount and grossed over $83 million. Films opening in July between $25-30 million have a strong multiple average of 3.50, but the four films with a “B” Cinemascore or less averaged just 2.93, giving The Emoji Movie a first final estimate between $75-90 million. With a little international help, Sony will have a hit on their hands.

It doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of shame to go around. The Emoji Movie got the same 6% rating that Gigli and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 received. It ranks just above Rings (also with 6%) as the second worst-reviewed film of 2017. It’s not, though, the worst-reviewed animated film in the modern era of Rotten Tomatoes. (That would be Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie at 5%.)

With a “B” it’s not even the worst-scored animated film at Cinemascore. Strange Magic (20%), Norm of the North (9%), The Wild Life (15%), Doogal (8%), Teacher’s Pet (76%), Osmosis Jones (55%) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (18%) all received a “B-.” Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (44%) received a “C+” while both Happily N’Ever After (4%) and Monkeybone (20%) received a “C.” If you want to be sick, know that both South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (B- / 81% RT) and Rango (C+ / 87% RT), also received lower grades, proving once and for all that Cinemascore is dumb.


Atomic Bah-londe

Audiences this weekend caught up to the realization of what many critics have been saying since South by Southwest, in that Atomic Blonde (75%) has some amazing action…in-between the 90-or-so minutes of pretentious Cold War plotting. David Leitch at least gives Charlize Theron something to do in this film compared to The Fate of the Furious (66%), but this film may end up finding its audience later when the film’s stunning action set pieces are edited into an easily digestible mash-up on YouTube.

On a list of “R”-rated action heroines, the 74%-rated Atomic Blonde opened to less than Lucy (66%), Terminator 2 (93%), both Kill Bill movies (85% and 84%), the first four Underworld films (31%, 16%, 29% and 26%) and the middle four Resident Evil movies (21%, 22%, 23% and 31%). Using the Emoji formula, films in July to open between $16-20 million have an average multiple of 3.32. Amongst those films, the ones with a “B” Cinemascore or less (a list that unfortunately includes Halle Berry’s Catwoman (9%)) the average is 2.88, which puts the $30 million production finishing somewhere between $53-62 million. Again, if international audiences can find their way to match that, Focus could have their first hit since last March’s London Has Fallen (27%).  


Tales of the Top Ten

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (93%) joins a not-so-exclusive list of films that reached $100 million in their first ten days. It’s the 195th, actually, but that makes it no less of an accomplishment, particularly given the subject matter and that the film’s biggest star is its director.

So how does its future look? Pretty bright. It has made over $234 million globally and is already surpassing the pace of last year’s Jason Bourne domestically, which finished with just $162 million. Ant-Man (80%) had $106.2 million in ten days and finished with $180 million. Dunkirk is at $102 million and had a nearly $4 million-higher second weekend that is also nearly on par (albeit slightly higher) than Nolan’s own Interstellar (72%). Dunkirk is over $6 million ahead of the overall pace of that film and it finished with $188 million.

Nolan’s Batman Begins (85%) had $122.3 million at the end of its second weekend, yet Dunkirk posted better overall weekends. Can it reach the $205 million of that film? With August practically a dead zone from universally-anticipated films, Dunkirk should be able to cruise through it, remaining in the Top Five at least until August 17 and the Top Ten until September 14.

Universal’s Girls Trip (88%) is taking a page out of the Bad Moms (63%) playbook. More specifically, open in late July, exceed expectations, an take advantage of the desire for more comedies. Didn’t work for Snatched (35%) or Rough Night (36%), so congratulations, I guess. The film’s Rotten Tomatoes score is higher than those two films combined and now its box office will also outgross them combined in just a few days.

Malcolm D. Lee’s film is $14 million ahead of the pace of last summer’s Bad Moms (with about $5 million added to that this weekend.) It is looking to join The Fate of the Furious and Get Out (99%) (both also released by Universal) as films directed by African-Americans to gross more than $100 million domestically. The studio can also be proud of their continued partnership with Illumination, as Despicable Me 3 (61%) is now over $819 million worldwide and is their most profitable film of the year.

Aside from Dunkirk, there are four other films in the top ten with a 90% or higher score at Rotten Tomatoes. As mentioned last week, WB’s Wonder Woman (92%) is the domestic champion of the summer; it will be hitting $400 million next weekend and is approaching $800 million worldwide. Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming (92%) has just reached the $633 million mark and finally broke apart from the Man of Steel pace, as it is headed to become the fourth film of 2017 to reach $300 million domestic.

Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes (93%) has been falling much faster and looks like it will fall at least $30 million lower than the trilogy’s Rise kickoff. The film is also in dire need of finding another $250 million internationally to recoup its costs. We’ll see if WB tries to meddle with Matt Reeves’ vision for The Batman after this.

The final 90%+ film in the Top Ten is also the best surprise of the summer. Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver (94%) lost 542 theaters this weekend and yet still posted a drop of just 25%. It has also jettisoned itself from the comparison of John Wick: Chapter Two (86%), surpassing that film’s final gross in the next day or so and it is now very likely to surpass $100 million. This is a tremendous victory for Wright, Sony and original films everywhere.

Except maybe Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (52%). Source material aside, the now $177.2 million production (according to Box Office Mojo, where it was $209.184 million last week) dropped 60% and is all but dead in the U.S. You may not even see it in the Top Ten next week and it will be falling somewhere below $45 million when the final numbers are set.

The lowest-grossing domestic releases with budgets over $175 million have been 47 Ronin ($38.3 million / 15%) and this summer’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ($38.9 million / 28%). Valerian is still a couple million ahead of Guy Ritchie’s debacle, but lost over a million of its pace this weekend. King Arthur’s third weekend had the benefit of a Memorial Day holiday and its three-day was still just $3.3 million. Expect Valerian to fall below that and when it does it may still have a chance to best the King and the Ronin on this very exclusive list.

Finally, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit (94%) shifted its release strategy just last week by getting itself into 10 cities and 20 theaters this weekend ahead of its wide opening next week, and it grossed $365,455. As Wonder Woman is pushed out of the Top Ten next week, it is likely that one 90%+ film at Rotten Tomatoes will be replaced by another, though the appearance of Sony’s The Dark Tower is likely to take down that 74.8% average a bit.

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[Box office figures via Box Office Mojo.]

Categories: News, Box office, Geek, Animation
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