This year’s August box office is off to a sluggish start as Sony’s fantasy adventure The Dark Tower is poised to debut in the No. 1 spot for the weekend with an estimated $19.5 million gross in the U.S. and Canada, edging out Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk and its estimated $17.6 million in its third weekend in theaters.
The weekend’s other new release, the Halle Berry thriller Kidnap, is on track for fifth place with an estimated $10.2 million, while Kathryn Bigelow’s prestige drama Detroit is stumbling with an estimated $7.3 million take as it expands nationwide.
Although Sony and Media Rights Capital made The Dark Tower for a relatively modest $60 million, its opening haul represents an underwhelming figure for a movie that was intended to launch an ambitious film and TV franchise after spending years in development.
Based on Stephen King’s sprawling eight-book series, The Dark Tower stars Idris Elba as a cowboy-knight named Roland Deschain, Matthew McConaughey as a sinister sorcerer known as the Man in Black, and Tom Taylor as a boy with psychic powers who could be the key to saving this world and others. Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) directed.
Despite the star power and much-loved source material, critics pilloried the film, and moviegoers gave it a tepid CinemaScore of B, suggesting that word-of-mouth will be weak.
Coming in behind The Dark Tower are three holdovers: Warner Bros.’ aforementioned Dunkirk; Sony’s animated offering The Emoji Movie, with about $12.4 million; and Universal’s road-trip comedy Girls Trip, with an estimated $11.4 million.
Dunkirk and Girls Trip are both holding strong after 17 days in theaters, with the former tallying a $133.6 million total in North America and the latter reaching $85.4 million, according to estimates. The Emoji Movie, meanwhile, is looking at a standard-issue 50 percent dropoff in its second weekend.
Rounding out the top five is Kidnap, a film that was shot back in 2014 and originally dated for a 2015 release before Relativity Media’s financial woes. Aviron Pictures picked up domestic rights.
Directed by Luis Prieto and starring Berry as a single mother on a mission to rescue her abducted son, the movie received lackluster reviews but garnered a decent B+ CinemaScore.
As for Detroit, Bigelow’s searing account of that city’s 1967 riots, the movie marks an inauspicious start for Annapurna Pictures’ first distribution effort. But the film — which reportedly cost $34 million to make and stars John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, and Will Poulter — has garnered strong reviews and an A- CinemaScore.
On the specialty front, the Weinstein Company’s thriller Wind River is set to take in an estimated $164,167 at four locations. That works out to a per-theater average of $41,042 and one of the strongest limited-release showings this year.
Reviews have been positive for the film, which was written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, the screenwriter of Sicario and Hell or High Water. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen headline the movie as a game trapper and an FBI agent trying to solve a murder on a remote Indian reservation.
Fox Searchlight’s dance documentary Step, about a girls’ high school step team in Baltimore, is set to take in an estimated $145,000 at 29 locations, for a per-theater average of $5,000, and the self-released John Cho-starrer Columbus is set to gross $28,800 at two locations, for a per-screen average of $14,400.
Per ComScore, overall box office is down 2.9 percent from the same frame from last year. Check out the Aug. 4-6 figures below.
1. The Dark Tower — $19.5 million
2. Dunkirk — $17.6 million
3. The Emoji Movie — $12.4 million
4. Girls Trip — $11.4 million
5. Kidnap — $10.2 million
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming — $8.8 million
7. Atomic Blonde — $8.2 million
8. Detroit — $ 7.3 million
9. War for the Planet of the Apes — $6 million
10. Despicable Me 3 — $5.3 million