Weekend Box Office: ‘Dunkirk’ Marches Past ‘Emoji Movie’ With $28.1M

Elsewhere, ‘Atomic Blonde’ opens to $18.6 million, while Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ and Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ test the waters in select theaters.

Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed World War II drama Dunkirk out-smiled new family animated film The Emoji Movie at the North American box office, earning $28.1 million in its second outing to win the weekend battle.

Dunkirk, declining just 44 percent, jumped the $100 million mark domestically, as well as $100 million overseas.

The Emoji Movie, from Sony Animated Pictures, overcame withering reviews and a mediocre B CinemaScore to land at $25.7 million, in line with tracking, if not slightly higher.  “We are thrilled the audience has spoken and embraced The Emoji Movie,” says Sony president of worldwide marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein.

Sony says the film is a major victory, considering it cost $50 million to produce, a modest sum for a major studio animated film. Earlier this year, DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, costing $38 million to make after outsourcing the animation, debuted to $24 million.

Based on the ubiquitous ideograms used in text messages on other social platforms, The Emoji Movie revolves around the emoji Gene (T.J. Miller) who, unlike the other inhabitants of Textpolis, has multiple expressions. Determined to be normal, he and his friends embark on an adventure to locate the code that will fix him, only to find themselves in a race to save the world. The ensemble voice cast also includes James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Jake T. Austin, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara and Patrick Stewart.

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The weekend’s other new nationwide release, Charlize Theron’s action pic Atomic Blonde, took in a solid $18.6 million for Universal specialty label Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity.

David Leitch (John Wick) directed Atomic Blonde, based on the graphic novel The Coldest City about an MI6 spy during the final days of the Berlin Wall. James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones also star in the movie, which cost a net $30 million to produce and, like Emoji Movie, earned a B CinemaScore.

Atomic Blonde placed No. 4 behind R-rated comedy sensation Girls Trip, which fell just 36 percent in its second outing to $20.1 million for a domestic total of $65.5 million. Girls Trip is by far the most successful live-action comedy of the year to date.

There was major action on the specialty front as both Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit and Al Gore’s climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power opened in select theaters a week ahead of their nationwide debuts in a bid to build word of mouth.

Detroit, the first release marketed and distributed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, grossed $365,000 from 20 theaters for a solid screen average of $18,273. The movie played in 10 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. From a script by Mark Boal, the period pic recounts the riot of 50 years ago in the titular city that left seven black men and two white women dead.

John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie star in the $40 million drama.

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Paramount and Participant Media debuted An Inconvenient Sequel in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk directed the film, which opens 11 years after An Inconvenient Truth, likewise steered by Gore, hit theaters. The doc is on course to nab an estimated screen average in the $35,000 range, a strong showing for a doc.

More to come.