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Box Office Plummets as ‘The Dark Tower’ Leads Weak Openers

The box office drops $112 million from last year as the decline of 2017 continues; Kathryn Bigelow's "Detroit" expands weakly.

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

“The Dark Tower”

Ilze Kitshoff

Long-planned Stephen King adaptation “The Dark Tower” (Sony) managed to score the top spot at the weekend box office. Only the second King adaptation to reach theaters since 2007’s “Carrie” remake (which opened even lower), this one contributes a pittance to a mighty adjusted gross of $2.2 billion for all of King’s movies since the original “Carrie” in 1976.

Coming in under the projected $20 million for the weekend with an estimated $19.5 million, “The Dark Tower” couldn’t save one of the biggest falloffs ever for a summer weekend. The Top Ten came in at just $106 million, compared to $218 million exactly a year ago. That weekend boasted D.C. Comics entry “Suicide Squad.” But a $112 million shortfall and a drop of some 50 percent is grim. Last year’s second-ranked sequel “Jason Bourne” came in ahead of anything in the Top Ten this weekend.

As Sony kept the budget down on “Tower,” foreign returns could mitigate any losses. The same can’t be said for theaters experiencing the most severe drop yet in a summer that already has declined around 10 per cent from last year.



Francois Duhamel

“The Dark Tower” was one of three films to begin wide release this weekend, all with African-American leads, though widely diverse in their content. The delayed release (because of original distributor Relativity’s demise) of “Kidnap” (Aviron) managed to top $10 million with Halle Berry as the lead. Kathryn Bigelow’s urban uprising drama “Detroit” (Annapurna) expanded after a decent limited opening to a troubling $7 million, below what its acclaim suggested. And “Girls Trip” (20th Century Fox), clearly aimed at a female audience, might end up with a domestic gross as good or close to the other three combined.

Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.) stabilized a bit after a bigger than expected 47 per drop last weekend. That puts it back on course for an ultimate domestic take closer to $200 million. It won’t hurt that the rest of August offers secondary competition among new wide releases for adult audiences.

“Girls Trip”

Michele K. Short

“Girls Trip” had a bigger drop than its initial fall, but at $85 million already looks on course for a run at equaling last summer’s women’s comedy “Bad Moms” (which ended up at $113 million).

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony) has quietly climbed to third biggest summer domestic release. It could make it to $325 million, which would place it better than either of the “Amazing Spider-Man” reboots, though far below the lowest of the first trilogy (the third and least of those films adjusted grossed $435 million).

However, with Japan and China and China still to open, “Homecoming” should easily pass $800 million worldwide, enough with its $175 million budget and substantial marketing costs to make a nice profit and propel forward Sony’s most lucrative franchise.

“Annabelle: Creation” (Warner Bros.) should easily open to over $25 million next weekend, although expect grosses still to be substantially below last year, which saw the top three titles gross close to $100 million.

“The Dark Tower”


The Top Ten

1. The Dark Tower (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 35; Est. budget: $60 million

$19,500,000 in 3,451 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $5,651; Cumulative: $19,500,000

2. Dunkirk (Warner Bros.) Week 3 – Last weekend #1

$17,600,000 (-34%) in 4,014 theaters (+266); PTA: $4,385; Cumulative: $

3. The Emoji Movie (Sony) Week 2 – Last weekend #2

$12,350,000 (-50%) in 4,072 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,031; Cumulative: $49,452,000

4. Girls Trip (20th Century Fox) Week 3- Last weekend #3

$11,419,000 (-42%) in 2,582 theaters (-66); PTA: $4,422; Cumulative: $84,444,000

5. Kidnap (Aviron) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 45; Est. budget: $20 million

$10,210,000 in 2,378 theaters; PTA: $; Cumulative: $10,210,000

6. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony)  Week 5 – Last weekend #5

$8,800,000 (-34%) in 3,116 theaters (-509); PTA: $2,824; Cumulative: $294,908,000

7. Atomic Blonde (Focus) Week 2 – Last weekend #4

$8,245,000 (-55%) in 3,326 theaters (+22); PTA: $2,479; Cumulative: $34,125,000

8. Detroit (Annapurna) Week 2 – Last weekend #16

$7,251,000 (+1,971%) in 3,007 theaters (+2,987); PTA: $2,411; Cumulative: $7,766

9. War for the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox) Week 4 – Last weekend #6

$6,000,000 (-43%) in 2,704 theaters (-670); PTA: $2,219; Cumulative: $130,280,000

10. Despicable Me 3 (Universal) Week 6 – Last weekend #7

$5,289,000 (-30%) in 2,445 theaters (-585); PTA: $2,163; Cumulative: $240,780,000

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