Box office preview: The Dark Tower to crumble, Kidnap could steal some thunder
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Big-name movie stars, well-known directors, and hefty, pre-established properties go head-to-head in the battle for audience affection this weekend, with plenty of strong holdover titles poised to put up a sturdy fight in the days ahead. Will Halle Berry run off with America’s hearts (and wallets) in Kidnap, and will Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey scale fan expectations for their big-budgeted literary adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower? Find out in EW’s Aug. 4 – 6 box office predictions below.
1 – The Dark Tower – $20 million
Based on one of King’s most popular novels and boasting an attractive cast — including Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey — The Dark Tower has all the makings of a hit, though critical reception thus far seems to be driving a stake into its barely-beating heart.
Hitting 3,449 theaters this Friday, the film occupies a robust footprint on the mainstream market and is the most prominent new title hitting wide release this week, though online activity has been light thus far, and the film’s muddled advertising materials haven’t clarified the project’s murky plot for newcomers unfamiliar with King’s work.
With a reported $60 million budget, The Dark Tower is a less expensive endeavor than its fellow blockbuster, but with reviews heading south and weak social media activity on tap, the film is shaping up to be yet another studio disappointment, though it should clear its production costs when worldwide grosses trickle in, with an international rollout kicking off this week in Russia and European territories and later expanding throughout Europe and Latin America later in August. Look for The Dark Tower to muster a weak $17-22 million through Sunday.
2 – Dunkirk – $18 million
Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic continues to perform well with moviegoers worldwide, holding on strong (for a summer blockbuster) after dipping a minimal 47 percent from week one to week two, bringing its global total to $262 million — which will climb even higher by the end of the week as the film holds its own against a relatively weak set of newcomers.
3 – Girls Trip – $12 million
Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Regina Hall quenched a comedic drought as the first live-action genre hit of the year. With a small 37 percent drop from a stellar $31.2 million opening, the film held on strong over its sophomore frame and seems likely to pull in strong numbers once again with little in the way of competition impeding its progress. Expect the film to shed between 30 and 40 percent through Sunday.
4 – The Emoji Movie – $11 million
After the critically panned animated flick raked in a so-so $24.5 million over its first three days, Sony’s latest family-oriented venture heads into its second weekend with negative energy on its side. While audiences didn’t hate the film as much as movie critics did (it earned a middling B grade on Cinemascore), the film’s profile has thus far been defined by its critical lashing, and ticket buyers are prepping to kick The Emoji Movie while it’s down.
5 – Kidnap – $10 million
As 2013’s The Call proved, Halle Berry can open a B movie. She looks to work her magic once again with Kidnap, a harmless (albeit unsophisticated) thriller targeting casual moviegoers as it hits around 2,200 theaters Friday. With similar stories (Berry chases a kidnapped child in both), Kidnap — shot back in 2014 and originally dated for a 2015 release before Relativity’s financial crisis — could tap into the same audience that made her last starring feature a modest hit. With a heftier budget (The Call was made for $13 million, while Kidnap cost $20 million), the latter will have to work a bit harder for its payday, but Berry is undeniably the sole draw, and her presence should be enough to get a respectable number of people into theaters. Expect Kidnap to bag between $8 million and $12 million this weekend.
Outside the top five, Kathryn Bigelow’s critically lauded historical drama Detroit — which centers on events surrounding the 1967 Detroit riot, particularly the Algiers Motel incident — expands to theaters nationwide after a solid run in limited release last week. While the prestige picture’s $17,510 per-theater average didn’t soar to the heights of Bigelow’s previous Oscar-bound films (Zero Dark Thirty‘s opening averaged $83,430 on four screens in 2012, while The Hurt Locker posted a $36,338 average at four locations in 2009), Detroit could flex its muscle in wide release with strong reviews and the potential for sturdy word-of-mouth as the film begins a likely bid for Oscar nominations in the months ahead.
Debuting in limited release Friday is Taylor Sheridan’s first directorial effort since garnering widespread acclaim for writing the screenplays for 2015’s Sicario and last year’s Hell or High Water, both of which received multiple Oscar nods. Wind River — about a game trapper (Jeremy Renner) who teams with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to solve a grisly murder in a Native American reservation — aligns squarely with what moviegoers have come to expect from him as a filmmaker (he writes and directs here). Its well-received Sundance showing earlier this year cemented the film as an early awards contender.
The film’s trajectory in the awards race will depend on its ability to capture audience dollars, as did both Hell or High Water and Sicario. The Weinstein Company is looking to follow in Hell‘s formula for a specialty hit, opening the picture in the same release window (early August) as Sheridan’s last film after hitting the shores of Cannes earlier in the year.
Additionally in the hunt for specialty dollars are Kogonada’s Columbus, starring John Cho and Parker Posey, and Fox Searchlight’s dance documentary Step (approximately 30 locations), about a dance troupe comprised of inner-city Baltimore high school seniors.
Check back with us on Sunday when weekend box office estimates roll in.