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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Len Dinghy

Weekend Estimates 2017-07-23 at 9.32.20 AM

Dunkirk‘s opening is soooo Nolan.

I get that it was above expectations. I know that the studio was thinking mid-30s. But with Inception‘s $63m opening and Interstellar‘s $48m opening, you wonder why Nolan didn’t do Inchon.

Wait… no… I’ll go with three’s a trend in this case. No one else has delivered like this with original dramas at a studio level. Yes, they are huge spectacles and that is a big part. But still.. these numbers are consistent and remarkable.

But that is not the only remarkable opening this weekend!

Girls Trip at $30 million is in rarefied comedy company at the box office. It’s not only the biggest comedy opening of this summer and this year—and by a lot—but it’s also a big number for any group of actors who don’t generally open movies in this range.

Oh yeah… and it has four actresses in the leads… and they are black.

I don’t want to get too far into the whys and wherefores about this, because I don’t really know.. nor do many others. We do know that black audiences are committed, in many cases, to show up for black movies. But this number suggests a greater-than-might-have-been-expected white audience for this film, particularly women.

What I do think is that we will see a wave of films like Girl Trip, even though we’ve had an R-rated girl group comedy fail this summer (Rough Night) and three other R-rated comedies flop (Snatched, The House, Baywatch).

Of course, stories like “Why the R-Rated, Raunchy Comedy’s Box Office Partying Days Might Be Over” were always stupid on their face. That is one big lesson of Girls Trip. Media wants every story to double as a trend story. And that is absurd. There will be original hits… and misses. There will be comedies in all kinds of combinations. Dramas will have a glass box office ceiling… until one blows right past it.

The reality of the film industry is that there is a pretty healthy black comedy business. There are not a lot of comedies being made (or films, in general) with female leads of color. We have had moments where that was a trend, most recently around Queen Latifah, who is in Girls Trip. Ideally, this success will create opportunity for everyone involved in this film, though a number of participants have strong, consistent careers.

Valerian and The City of 1000 Planets didn’t do a big opening number. Oddly, it is almost identical to the opening number of The Fifth Element. That film did $200 million overseas. The expanded international box office could double that easily… or not. Look at China as a huge opportunity for this film that has the touch and feel and positivity of Stephen Chow, who is a massive box office hero in China.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is doing okay, but just passed the domestic haul of Amazing Spider-Man (both after 17 days) and is a couple hundred million behind internationally. It might catch up with ASM internationally… but maybe not. Journalists generally like this film. Didn’t like ASM. So…

War For The Planet of the Apes is not going to catch up to its predecessor. Fox tried to play the “big finale” card, but no one seems to have bitten.

Baby Driver and The Big Sick are having nice holds… but they are holds now… no more expansion… but $100m and $40m for these films are big, unexpected successes.

$12,850 per for Landline on 4 screens.

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19 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Len Dinghy”

  1. Aaron Aradillas says:

    So, is Warner/DC gonna be able to push WONDER WOMAN across the $400 million mark?

  2. TrackerBacker says:

    Aaron, that should be pretty easily doable. If it doesn’t get it during first run, it’ll definitely be over that amount by the time it hits second-run/discount theaters. It’ll probably have another $2.2M or so before next weekend, gross a little under $3M next weekend–so it’ll be around $394M or so by end of next weekend.

  3. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’d be surprised if it didn’t at least squeak by $400 million. Even if WB fudges the numbers a bit.

    I watched Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire last night. It was as I suspected just a lark but a fun one. Kind of pointless but the performances were fun. I know he seems to like staying independent but if anyone deserves a shot with a big budget it’s him. And I don’t mean a comic book movie. Give him $$ and let him do something big and original. He and Amy Jump deserve it. Maybe Freak Shift will be his break-out.

  4. Bulldog68 says:

    Looks like we have another Jupiter Ascending on our hands. I really wanted to like Valerian more, but the leads just didn’t do it for me. Valerian had the better script, although cheesy in parts, but JA had better chemistry between its leads.

    Also I just felt they were too young to be considered the best in their field. Maybe I’m looking at it through my old man glasses but I agree with Dave about the impact Bruce Willis had on Fifth Element. Even if you didn’t want to go that old, I think thirty-something actors would have better, or change your script to them being rookies caught up in a bigger mission than they expected.

    Thought Rihanna was good.

    Like Dave said, something was missing to elevate this.

  5. Night Owl says:

    @Bulldog68 I get your point about maybe thirty-something actors being a better choice for the leads in Valerian but believe it or not Dehaan is a 31 year old husband and father. But comes across as about 20, so you’re still right though. Both were wrong for this. I get that you are selling the IP but I don’t care if you’re Star Wars, your leads still have to carry!

    Valerian was so disasterously cast I went looking for reasons to explain it. I actually looked up images of the original comic books to see if the actors bore a striking resemblance to the characters (they don’t). Were there screen tests? Did others pass on the project? Or maybe they really were his first pick. I’m mystified.

    And once again we see that Nolan operates by his own rules. Glad to see it continue!

  6. Alex says:

    >> change your script to them being rookies caught up in a bigger mission than they expected


    The mission looked big and galaxy threatening in the trailers but was in the end just about saving/killing a few people with some spy operation at the beginning and then bodyguard duty before the heroes looked into things they shouldn’t. And it was the baddie that told us about the (untrue) destruction of Alpha, so he clearly has no interest to have some older (and higher ranking) people snooping around.


  7. palmtree says:

    400 is happening. Anyone still think it won’t?

  8. dinovelvet says:

    If Wonder Woman stalls out at 397-8, they’ll re-release it on Labor Day weekend to get it across the finish line…maybe double bill it with Dunkirk as a ‘best films of the summer’ gimmick – but count the tickets for Wonder Woman.

  9. Movieman says:

    I loved the insanity of “Jupiter Ascending,” Bulldog! It was my first four-star review of 2015. (Of course, I’m that rare, freakish bird who actually prefers “Speed Racer” to any of the “Matrix” movies.)
    The only thing I genuinely loved about “Valerian” was Rihanna’s glorified cameo.
    I still think Alden Ehrenreich and Margot Robbie might have (partially) salvaged it, though.

    No comment on the gratifyingly strong (arthouse) gross for “Beatriz at Dinner”?
    Good for Salma Hayek, Miguel Arteta and Mike White even though I still think the third act needed a rewrite. Bill=The dueling accents exhausted me even more than the (virtually) non-stop gunfire in “Free Fire.” Found it more exhausting than exhilarating, even at 90 minutes, and I’m a Ben Wheatley fan. (Brie Larson and Armie Hammer were both pretty good, however.)

  10. rabartlett says:

    I’m thinking “Passengers” and “Valerian” should have switched leads. (Yes, I know, budgets) Pratt and Lawrence would have better carried the banter and been a full-blooded counter to all the space weirdness, while Dehaan and Delevigne would have allowed “Passengers” to lead into its creepiness.

  11. Monco says:

    I thought Delevigne was fine but Dehaan was miscast. I like him as an actor but he can’t do this role. A Cellular era Chris Evans would have been perfect.

  12. EtGuild2 says:

    I’m past believing WW couldnt’ catch CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR at this point (the JW re-release took in about $7 million over two weeks, so why not?).

    It’s actually performed BETTER the last few weeks against what should have been momentum killing competition (mid 20s weekday drops/low 30s weekends) than it did earlier in its run. That defies all rationality to me….the best Top 50 opener of all time in terms of legs. I can suck it : )

  13. EtGuild2 says:

    I feel like there has been almost nothing written about what is the “Other #1 Film of The Summer”, DESPICABLE ME 3 which may take the international and worldwide crowns and (even with DP’s interesting points about Illuminaton nixing overhead from their budgets) may well be the most profitable movie released.

    I guess it’s because it’s a redux of 2014 when no one wanted to talk about AGE OF EXTINCTION’s success, both due to quality and the fact it wasn’t really a world beater even in relation to its own franchise.

  14. Stella's Boy says:

    I remember when the first Despicable Me came out a lot was written about how the budget was kept to a reasonable level (what $65 million?). I just assumed that with all the money it and DM2 and Minions made, DM3 must have cost much, much more. It’s the third entry in a blockbuster series so the budget goes up. But only $80 million? And it’s well past $700 million at the moment. Impressive.

  15. EtGuild2 says:

    Poland had some interesting writing about them keeping certain costs out of the stated budget. But this thing should easily hit $850 million worldwide (it’s at $732 with Minions-crazed Korea and Italy still to go and Japan in the early going) so….should quietly be the best bottom line investment of the summer despite the disappointing domestic haul.

  16. jspartisan says:

    Basically, we live in a world, where the US has grown tired of Despicable Me, the Fast and Furious movies, and the Pirates movies. While the world is like, “FEED ME MORE!” That’s just fucking nuts.

  17. Pete R. says:

    I’m wondering, do you ever run into/chat with these journalists who write those “Why the R-Rated, Raunchy Comedy’s Box Office Partying Days Might Be Over” stories? Do they deny the whole story-of-the-moment with the trend baked in angle? Do you like each other? Have good chats?

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    Creepy Doll 2 Spoilers

    Pretty perplexed by the mostly positive notices for Annabelle: Creation. I’m pretty well-versed in horror and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a horror movie that isn’t a movie at all but rather a collection of jump scares. It’s a 109-minute jump scare. There’s no narrative to speak of. Some of the scares are effective. As with Lights Out, Sandberg can craft a spooky sequence quite well. But that’s all there is here. A series of them, jumping back and forth between the girls. And while I appreciate that there’s an attempt to hint and suggest more than just show, it’s negated by the constant use of deafening music and sound effects. I also love that this couple is like hey the devil itself literally lives in our house so let’s invite a bunch of needy kids to live here. Great idea! I really hope It is good.

  19. Hallick says:

    With animated films like Despicable Me, you have to think that they don’t need to stage bigger stunts in far-flung locations using massive amounts of CGI, so the budget really shouldn’t be growing more than incrementally for salaries and the like.

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