Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ beating expectations at box office

A scene from the film "Dunkirk," which is faring well at the box office this weekend.
(Warner Bros.)

Christopher Nolan made headlines this week when he bashed Netflix, saying he would never work with the streaming company because it doesn’t support theatrical releases. And judging by how well his new World War II drama “Dunkirk” is faring at the box office this weekend, his movies will have a place on the big screen for years to come.

The movie has collected nearly $20 million since opening Thursday evening, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros. That puts the film on track to gross over $50 million by weekend’s end — about $10 million beyond the studio’s expectations.

Kenneth Turan reviews “Dunkirk," directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

The critically praised picture, which cost about $150 million to produce, tells the story of a mission to save thousands of Allied troops from a beach in France during World War II. Audiences that have seen the movie so far — which are 60% male — give the movie an average grade of A-minus, per market research firm CinemaScore.


That’s not quite as strong as the A-plus earned by “Girls Trip.” The R-rated comedy about four old friends who reunite for a raucous weekend in New Orleans took in $11 million on Friday. The Universal Pictures release is projected to gross around $30 million by Monday morning.

Justin Chang reviews “Girls Trip”' directed by Malcolm D. Lee and starring Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter and Kate Walsh. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

However, the weekend’s third wide release, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” is not faring as well. Luc Besson’s sci-fi flick that cost $180 million to produce — making it one of the priciest independent films ever — took in just $6.5 million on Friday.

The movie, which stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, may reach an opening-weekend total of just $16 million or so. That’s even less than prerelease surveys indicated it would launch with — and a B-minus CinemaScore isn’t helping while possibly portending a steep decline in ticket sales in the coming weeks.

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