Box Office: “Dunkirk” barely holds off “Emoji Movie”

boxThe most critically-acclaimed movie of the summer, a pulse pounding historical action picture with high exit-polling scores as well, may very well repeat at the top of the box office this weekend.

But a movie every critic and pundit has trashed, which exit-polling shows even the dopes who ignored all the warnings don’t care for, is drawing just as big an audience.

Yeah, the stakes are lower, but this last weekend of July at the box office is playing out like something Mitch McConnell,  Steve Bannon and Vlad the Puppeteer cooked up. Wildly unpopular and bad for you always has a chance with targeted marketing — the “Fake news” of the film biz.

“Dunkirk” appears to have edged “The Emoji Movie” at the box office. But Christopher Nolan’s smart, arty and intense war epic is barely clearing its $28 million projected take, with about $28,130,000 expected at this point.

“Emoji Movie” — a bad Sony animated knockoff aimed at kids and their gullible parents — is exceeding expectations, thanks to a big Friday, and may hit $26. It fell off dramatically Sat. and looks to hit $25+, which is impressive. Sunday will tell. 

Could be, it’ll lose the popular vote and pundit vote and win the weekend.


Tentative take is $25.530,000.

Interesting side-bar, I had been wondering what was driving all this traffic to my review of “Emoji,” aside from a very cleverly turned blurb on Rottentomatoes (the more discerning and nuanced Metacritic review aggregator typically drives most of my traffic). And I see all these links from far-right political websites in my metrics.

I had forgotten comic T.J. Miller, of “Silicon Valley” (he quit) and voice star of “Emoji,” was a vocal Trump trasher. The gleeful ultra-conservative webmasters were tickled that his movie was going down in flames and linking to the review.

Only it isn’t going down in flames. It’s not doing great, but it is wildly exceeding expectations. So no, America wasn’t rejecting the Trump-hater’s cartoon. They embraced it, because “Nobody ever went broke under-estimating the tastes of the American public.” Explains who’s in the White House, too. Just blew your minds, didn’t I?

Universal’s Focus Features release “Atomic Blonde” is giving Charlize Theron a nice kick in the quote. It’s opening just over $18.6 million, right in line with projections. The movie didn’t cost much, and it’ll easily be in the black once US and International BO is all tallied — maybe in a couple of weeks. Theron can open a movie. Might even get a cut-rate franchise out of this.

“Girls Trip” did another $20something. It’s rolling through mid-summer like absinthe through Jada Pinkett-Smith’s character’s urinary tract.  “Spider-Man” is sticking around.

“War for the Planet of the Apes” faded another 50%.

And by next weekend, “Wonder Woman” will have cleared $400 million, and “Baby Driver” will have taken in $100 million.

All of those pictures are shedding screens by the hundreds, and will shed hundreds more next weekend.

“Dunkirk” is now over $100 domestic, $200 million worldwide. It cost in the low $100s, so figure it to hit real black ink by mid August.

“The Big Sick,” which has done quite well in a low-key under-the-BO-radar way for the summer way, fell back out of the top ten and probably won’t return as it loses screens and a few more big ticket pictures are unloaded in August.



About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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