Box Office: ‘The Dark Tower’ Tops Sluggish Weekend, ‘Detroit’ Collapses


The Halle Berry thriller ‘Kidnap’ makes a modest bow.

Moviegoers mostly ignored the new boxoffice offerings this weekend. Sony’s The Dark Tower, designed to launch a new franchise based on Stephen King’s fantasy novel series, managed to notch a number one opening, but grossed just an estimated $19.5 million in North America — the lowest number one opening of the year. Annapurna’s Detroit, the newest film from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, met even more resistance, grossing a mere $7.25 million for the weekend. Meanwhile, Aviron’s Kidnap, the Halle Berry thriller which has been awaiting release for two years, scored a modest bow, with $10.2 million.

The Dark Tower, produced by a 50/50 partnership between Sony and MRC for a reported $60 million, stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, and managed to squeeze ahead of Warners’ Dunkirk, which took in another $17.6 million in its third weekend of release (as its domestic tally rose to $133.6 million). In the film, Elba plays a gunslinger who is determined to hunt down his nemesis, the Man in Black (played McConaughey), and protect the Dark Tower, a powerful structure that protects the world from darkness.

Although the studio was looking to set a record for a Stephen King adaptation, with $19.5 million, it came up just short. The current record remains 1408, which opened to $20.6 million in 2007. The Dark Tower attracted an older, male audience — 58 percent were male and 68 percent were over the age of 25. “The Dark Tower is a bold and ambitious undertaking made at the right price,” comment Sony domestic distribution president Adrian Smith, predicting that the movie would find its legs beause “there’s a lot of summer box office left and its international rollout is just starting to take off.”

This weekend’s other two new wide releases Kidnap and Detroit — both debuted below holdovers Dunkirk, Emoji Movie and Girls Trip.

The first release from Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures under its own distribution label, Detroit commanded attention since it’s also the first movie from Bigelow following The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Set during the Detroit riots of 1967, the film features an ensemble cast that includes John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, Jack Reynor and Anthony Mackie and was written by Bigelow’s longtime collaborator Mark Boal. But the $40 million film appears to have met plenty of audience resistance, despite the fact that it had a positive Rotten Tomatoes rating of 88 percent.

After debuting last weekend in 20 theaters where it grossed $350,000, it expanded into 3,007 locations. And, though tracking suggested it might debut in the $13 million range, ultimately it attracted just $7.25 million, bringing its cumulative domestic tally to $7.77 million.

Zero, Bigelow’s last film followed a somewhat different release pattern, staying in limited release for three weekends, before broadening slightly and then going wide on its fifth weekend in early January, with the benefit of awards buzz, but then when it did go wide, it took in $32.9 million.

Kidnap, which was originally set to be released by Relativity Media before new distributor Aviron picked up its domestic release rights, pulled in $10.2 million for the weekend. The project, directed by Luis Prieto, follows a mother who will stop at nothing to get her kidnapped son back. While the movie showed some signs of life, it collected less than the debut of Berry’s last thriller, 2013’s The Call, which opened to $17.1 million on its way to a $51.9 million domestic purse.

Further down the list, while Warners’ Wonder Woman took in just $2.36 million this weekend, its domestic gross now stands just shy of $400 million — at $399.5 million, making it the second-best domestic-grossing movie of the year, behind only Beauty and the Beast’s domestic tally of $504 million.

On the specialty front, The Weinstein Co.’s snowbound thriller Wind River, written and directed by Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeremy Renner, made its debut after stops at Sundance and Cannes. Playing in just four locations, it took in $164,167 for a strong per-theater average of $41.042.

Columbus, the debut feature from South Korea director Kogonada, opened in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles. Starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, it’s the first film released with the support of the Sundance Institute’s newly-established Creative Distribution Fellowship, and it grossed an estimated $28,800 for a per-screen average of $14,400.

More to come…

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