Weekend Projections: ‘Dunkirk’ Shores Up $50 Million+ Breakout Debut; ‘Girls Trip’ ($30M) Also Strong; ‘Valerian’ Eyes $16.5M

Saturday Update: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk earned an estimated $19.8 million on opening day Friday, including Thursday’s $5.5 million start. That’s an excellent start in line with Boxoffice.com’s pre-release forecasts as the WWII action thriller rides a wave of strong reviews (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and very positive initial word of mouth (“A-” CinemaScore and 86 percent Flixster score). The opening day figure includes $4.7 million from 402 IMAX locations.

By comparison, Dunkirk‘s first day take came in 19 percent ahead of Mad Max: Fury Road‘s $16.6 million, 17 percent above Interstellar‘s $16.87 million, and just 11 percent shy of Star Trek Beyond‘s $22.25 million first day on this same weekend last year — an impressive feat given the lack of 3D price bumps and no built-in franchise base (although Nolan’s own following was notable for driving some front-loading toward Thursday evening shows). As an original film geared heavily toward IMAX and 70mm screenings that is expected to play very well in the weeks ahead (as Nolan’s films typically do), projections remain more volatile than usual for summer releases. That said, we’re still thinking the film has a clear shot at $50 million or more this weekend.

Meanwhile, Girls Trip also got off to an excellent start with $11.68 million yesterday — a whopping 22 percent ahead of Bad Moms‘ $9.544 first day last year. The raunchy comedy is poised to enjoy long legs through the rest of summer thanks to positive reception and a lack of direct competition, ending the streak of R-rated comedy misfires this year. This weekend has a strong shot at clearing $30 million.

Valerian debuted in third place with $6.52 million yesterday, which unfortunately lines up with our pre-release forecasts of an underwhelming domestic debut. Still, the film’s international footprint will be the more important aspect of its run. Updates on that end should come from the studio on Sunday. Domestically, the film looks to earn around $16.5 million this weekend.

Spider-Man: Homecoming added $6.335 million in fourth place, bringing its domestic cume to $236.04 million through 15 days. A third weekend around $20.6 million appears likely.

Last but not least, War for the Planet of the Apes eased to $5.9 million yesterday in the wake of competition from Dunkirk. With $97.6 million in the bank through eight days of play, the trilogy-capper is heading for a weekend close to $20.4 million.

Key weekend projections are below. Studio estimates to follow on Sunday.

WIDE (1000+)

1 Dunkirk $50,500,000 3,720 $13,575 $50,500,000 1 Warner Bros.
2 Girls Trip $30,000,000 2,591 $11,579 $30,000,000 1 Universal
3 Spider-Man: Homecoming $20,600,000 -53% 4,130 -218 $4,988 $250,301,581 3 Sony / Columbia
4 War for the Planet of the Apes $20,400,000 -64% 4,100 78 $4,976 $97,750,914 2 Fox
5 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets $16,500,000 3,553 $4,644 $16,500,000 1 EuropaCorp/STXfilms
6 Despicable Me 3 $11,800,000 -39% 3,525 -630 $3,348 $212,408,225 4 Universal
7 Baby Driver $5,600,000 -36% 2,503 -540 $2,237 $83,833,939 4 Sony / TriStar
8 The Big Sick $4,300,000 -43% 2,597 0 $1,656 $23,839,378 5 Lionsgate
9 Wonder Woman $4,200,000 -38% 1,971 -773 $2,131 $388,603,279 8 Warner Bros.
10 Wish Upon $2,400,000 -56% 2,154 -96 $1,114 $10,444,265 2 Broad Green Pictures
11 Cars 3 $1,700,000 -46% 1,294 -755 $1,314 $143,794,565 6 Disney
12 Transformers: The Last Knight $1,060,000 -63% 1,025 -1298 $1,034 $127,496,805 5 Paramount

LIMITED (100 — 999)

1 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $365,000 -28% 268 -131 $1,362 $387,260,502 12 Disney
2 Captain Underpants $350,000 6% 291 14 $1,203 $71,754,237 8 Fox / DreamWorks Animation
3 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $255,000 -49% 229 -219 $1,114 $170,625,200 9 Disney
4 The Mummy $187,000 -48% 214 -187 $874 $79,370,805 7 Universal



Friday Report: Warner Bros. reports this morning that Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk earned a strong $5.5 million Thursday evening. By comparison, the WWII action thriller bested last week’s War for the Planet of the Apes ($5.01 million) by 10 percent, as well as Jason Bourne ($4.3 million) and Mad Max: Fury Road ($3.7 million) by sizable margins. (Of note, it matched the fan-heavy Star Trek Beyond‘s $5.5 million Thursday take this time last year.) Comparisons remain rough given Nolan’s considerable fan base, but we remain confident in a breakout weekend that should well exceed the studio’s expected $35-40 million projection.

Girls Trip also got off to a solid start last night with a reported $1.7 million, coming in a bit behind Bad Moms‘ $2.0 million last year. Social media buzz, strong reviews, and pre-sales reports suggest the film could behave a bit differently than that July 2016 female-driven comedy, but it remains to be seen how Friday business stacks up. An opening north of $20 million still looks likely, and potentially higher.

Last but not least, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets equally took in $1.7 million last night. The closest summer comparison to that film may be Pacific Rim, which took in $3.6 million on Thursday night in July 2013 before pre-shows were more prolific than they are today. As forecasted, an opening in the mid-to-high teen millions remains likely.

Key Friday estimates from the studios and our weekend projections will be posted here as well as our Twitter and Facebook feeds on Saturday morning.

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