Weekend Forecast (Updated): Will ‘The Dark Tower’ Dethrone ‘Dunkirk’? ‘Detroit’ & ‘Kidnap’ Hope to Counter-Program

Thursday, August 3 Update: The review embargo for The Dark Tower was lifted late on Wednesday night after this story was originally published, and unfortunately, critical reception for the film appears to be significant enough to warrant another decline in our forecast. While an opening close to $20 million remains possible, we’re now forecasting a closer race for first place between the new release and current holdover champion Dunkirk — slightly favoring the latter to repeat at the top for a third straight weekend.

The Dark Tower currently stands at 21 percent from 51 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes while Twitter and Facebook activity have continued to struggle in the wake of reviews hitting the web. Our updated forecast is in the table below.

Original Report: The first weekend of August is set to deliver three new wide releases. Unfortunately, with schools returning to session in some parts of the country and no major tentpole on the slate in the foreseeable future, this is likely to be one of the lowest grossing first weekends of August in years — a fate that may repeat itself quite a few times in the coming weeks before the much stronger September slate arrives.

Our final analysis for the weekend of August 4-6:

PROS:

  • The Dark Tower (Sony / Columbia) has some clout in that it’s based on one of Stephen King’s most popular novels. The respectable star power of Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba could give it a boost as well. Flixster audience anticipation levels have been very similar to The Mummy reboot.
  • Detroit (Annapurna Pictures) has the advantage of positive reviews (95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), timely subject matter, and Kathryn Bigelow’s strong resume (Zero Dark ThirtyThe Hurt Locker) backing it up.
  • Kidnap (Aviron) is hoping to bring out Halle Berry fans in her first leading role since 2013’s The Call. Marketing has been solid from the newcomer distributor.

CONS:

  • Dark Tower‘s remaining social media prowess has been sorely lacking in the days leading up to release with relevant Twitter activity registering at just 25 percent of the level June’s The Mummy was generating, not to mention a discouraging sentiment ratio of positive to negative comments. With a review embargo in place this late in the game, we’re concerned this isn’t going to appeal far beyond King’s fans given the existing market competition.
  • Detroit is tracking behind the likes of All Eyez on MeSelma, and Get On Up across both Twitter and Facebook metrics. The late summer release away from an awards season boost could limit its commercial potential without a major studio marketing powerhouse behind it (ala Straight Outta Compton).
  • Likewise, Kidnap is pacing behind the trends of Berry’s The Call. The film’s late standing review embargo is also a concern in this case.

The Forecast:

Title Distributor Weekend Domestic Total through Sunday, August 6 % Change
Dunkirk Warner Bros. $17,300,000 $131,230,000 -35%
The Dark Tower Sony / Columbia $17,200,000 $17,200,000 NEW
Girls Trip Universal $13,750,000 $86,880,000 -30%
The Emoji Movie Sony / Columbia $10,770,000 $46,060,000 -56%
Kidnap Aviron $8,500,000 $8,500,000 NEW
Spider-Man: Homecoming Sony / Columbia $8,490,000 $293,580,000 -36%
Detroit Annapurna Pictures $8,300,000 $8,810,000 2270%
Atomic Blonde Focus Features $8,050,000 $33,200,000 -56%

Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.

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