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Box office hits and misses: ‘Dunkirk’ edges out ‘Emoji Movie’ to win the weekend

Dunkirk movie review
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It wasn’t a commanding victory, but Dunkirk still managed to win the battle at the weekend box office. Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed World War II drama narrowly beat Sony Pictures Animation’s The Emoji Movie to take the top spot at the box office over the weekend, slipping past the animated feature by an estimated $2.5 million to extend its reign for another week. Nolan’s film dropped a mere 44 percent from its first week in theaters to its second week, and benefitted from a somewhat underwhelming debut for Emoji Movie, which was savaged by critics headed into the weekend.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Dunkirk $28.1M $102.8M $234.1M
2. The Emoji Movie $25.6M $25.6M $25.6M
3. Girls Trip $20M $65.5M $67.5M
4. Atomic Blonde $18.5M $18.5M $24.4M
5. Spider-Man: Homecoming $13.4M $278.3M $633.7M
6. War for the Planet of the Apes $10.3M $118.6M $224.5M
7. Despicable Me 3 $7.7M $230.4M $819.2M
8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets $6.8M $30.6M $30.6M
9. Baby Driver $4M $92M $138.6M
10. Wonder Woman $3.5M $395.4M $786M

The acclaim for Nolan’s dramatization of the 1940’s Battle of Dunkirk and the filmmaker’s impressive ability to attract an audience time and time again served the film well, and helped it overcome an unlikely surge by Sony’s much-maligned animated feature.

Going into the weekend, Emoji Movie had achieved the dubious status of being one of the worst-reviewed major releases in recent years, carrying an 8-percent approval rating by professional critics on RottenTomatoes. Paired with its unusually low “B” grade on audience review aggregator CinemaScore, where animated movies rarely dip below the “A-” mark, the buzz on Emoji made it difficult for pundits to predict how the final box-office rankings would shake out. The movie seemed poised to prove the haters wrong after a strong Friday at theaters, but then declined on Saturday — a day that usually brings bigger numbers for animated features due to family-friendly matinee screenings — likely due to the intensely negative reviews from professional critics and general audiences.

The only other new release to make an appearance among the weekend’s the top ten films was Atomic Blonde, the much-hyped action film starring Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) and helmed by John Wick co-director (and upcoming Deadpool sequel director) David Leitch. The film’s premiere fell a little below expectations due to the positive buzz surrounding it, but its $18.5 million in U.S. theaters and $24.4 million worldwide is solid for the first weekend of an “R”-rated, female-led action film that cost just $30 million to make.

It’s worth noting that the continued success of Wonder Woman has Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero movie fast approaching another milestone. After adding another $3.5 million over the weekend, the film’s total domestic ticket sales now sit at $395.4 million, putting it right on the verge of becoming just the 27th movie to ever cross the $400 million mark in U.S. theaters.

This upcoming week’s big release is The Dark Tower, which will likely push Dunkirk out of the top spot. Director Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s acclaimed saga is a bit of a wildcard right now, as there aren’t any early reviews at this point and very little buzz outside of the movie’s extremely active marketing campaign. It’s a movie more than a decade in the making, though, and with its studio hoping to spin off the film into sequels and a television series, there’s a lot riding on its success.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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