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Whisper Numbers: Directors test their box office draw

Three original films arrive in theaters this weekend after a summer seemingly filled with endless sequels. Christopher Nolan [CNOLA] tackles World War II with the action drama Dunkirk [DUNKR]. The filmmaker has built up a fanbase from his breakthrough film Memento through the Dark Knight trilogy. While the evacuation of Dunkirk is a seminal moment in British history, Americans have no connection to the event. The British cast doesn’t do Warner Bros. any favors either, so the PG-13 rated film will have to rely on Nolan’s goodwill.  What will draw the target audience of older men are the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Higher ticket prices from IMAX theaters will also the help the bottom line. Fandango ticket sales are pacing ahead of Nolan's last film Interstellar, which had an opening weekend of $47.5 million in November 2014. Packed in 3720 theaters, Dunkirk could clear $50 million.

War for the Planet of the Apes [APES3] could not match the opening of its predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. That film dropped 50% in its second weekend. A slightly more severe decline would put War for the Planet of the Apes at $27 million.

Led by Queen Latifah [QLATI] and Jada Pinkett Smith [JPINK], Girls Trip [GIRLT] hopes to break the streak of underperforming R-rated comedies. Director Malcolm D. Lee [MDLEE] has a successful record of connecting with the urban demographic. The Universal release has earned positive reviews with buzz of strong chemistry. Fandango ticket sales are pacing ahead of Bad Moms, which opened to $23.8 million. Girls Trip could take in $26 million from 2591 locations.

Spider-Man: Homecoming [SPID6] is decaying faster than any previous movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man could tumble another 55% to $21 million.

While not as well-known as Nolan, Luc Besson [LBESS] has also built up a following with films from Le Femme Nikita to The Fifth Element to his last film Lucy, which opened to $43.9 million in July 2014. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [VALER] is his $180 million passion project based on a French comic. Unfortunately, his choice of leads Dane DeHaan [DDEHA] and Cara Delevingne [CDELE] lack any starpower. STX’s marketing campaign has focused instead on Valerian’s visual smorgasbord. However, special effects are not enough to entice sci-fi fans, as seen with the similar John Carter. Blasting into 3553 theaters, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets could uncover $20 million.

That’s the whisper on the virtual trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, July 20, 2017 @ 03:35 PM 991 views

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