Dunkirk wins box office battle

Christopher Nolan's World War II film exceeds expectations with S$69m opening weekend

Dunkirk and Girls Trip are opening above expectations at the North American box office, while Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets looks like a huge flop.

But let's start with the good.

Director Christopher Nolan's World War II film, with a production budget of US$100 million (S$136 million), is flying past earlier projections to a US$50.5 million opening weekend.

Critics have fallen in love with Nolan's depiction of the real-life Battle of Dunkirk.

Their reviews have given the movie a 92 per cent on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and chatter has already started about its award season potential.

Audiences have responded just as well, perhaps surprisingly, to what many have described as an atypical war movie.

"We looked at this as a big summer event film.

"We wanted to give it the patina of a tentpole release," Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein said, of the studio's decision to date the film for the end of July.

"We know from history that when you open up at this point in the summertime, you can run for weeks and weeks."

Nolan, 46, ruffled some feathers with his comments about how online streaming is threatening the vitality of the theatrical experience.

But perhaps, his zeal for film is part of what ended up encouraging audiences to buy tickets as opposed to waiting for the movie to hit a streaming service.

Dunkirk is getting the widest 70mm release in more than two decades, and much of it was shot with Imax's extremely high-resolution 2D film cameras.

"We are thrilled with the numbers, and we are thrilled with the partnership," said Imax Entertainment chief executive officer Greg Foster.

"The one-two punch of Chris' vision and the Imax experience has once again proven to be irresistible to moviegoers in theatres."


Even during a crowded weekend, Universal's Girls Trip is breaking the curse of underperforming R-rated comedies this summer as it looks to post US$30.4 million - the largest opening of any live-action comedy so far this year.

It follows Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish and Jada Pinkett Smith, who go out for a long overdue women's weekend to New Orleans for the Essence Festival, a music festival.Meanwhile, Valerian, French film-maker Luc Besson's big-budget US$180 million sci-fi adaptation of the French comic series from his own company EuropaCorp, looks like a real clunker, raking in about US$17 million. - REUTERS