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Dunkirk lands $50.5 million US opening as Luc Besson's Valerian bombs


Story by Jack Foley

CHRISTOPHER Nolan’s stunning World War II drama Dunkirk has got off to a strong start at the US box office, landing $50.5 million during its opening weekend.

The figure marks the best opening in recent memory for a World War II film and is testament to the strength of the Nolan brand.

The news was similarly good overseas, where the critically acclaimed film took $55.4 million and placed No. 1 everywhere for a global bow of $105.9 million.

The UK led the way with $12.4 million, followed by South Korea with $10.3 million.

Going into the weekend in the US, box office pundits were predicting that the film might struggle to reach $40 million. So, the figure marks a win for Warner Bros, who have placed continued faith in Nolan.

Dunkirk recounts one of World War II’s most famous battles and stars Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden and One Direction’s Harry Styles, who makes his acting debut in the movie.

Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) remains the top-grossing World War II movie of all time in the US, earning $216.5 million (or $404.4 million when adjusting for inflation). The film opened to $31 million (or $57.6 million when accounting for inflation).

Elsewhere in the US, R-rated comedy Girls Trip broke the R-rated comedy curse by debuting to $30.4 million – the best showing so far this year for the genre. Like Dunkirk, it came in way ahead of expectations.

The comedy, starring Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, follows lifelong friends who go to New Orleans for a raunchy weekend of fun.

If two films performed better than expected, than Luc Besson’s sci-fi blockbuster Valerian, which cost $180 million, bombed in the US with a $17 million bow. Based on the French graphic novel series and starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as celestial cops who must travel through space and time in order to save the universe, the film could only manage a fifth place finish in its debut weekend.

It trailed both Dunkirk and Girls Trip as well as Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes.

Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man took in an estimated $22 million in its third outing for a US total of $252 million, while Matt Reeves’ Planet of the Apes three-quell nabbed $20.4 million in its second weekend for a 10-day total of $97.8 million for 20th Century Fox.

Among other holdovers, Despicable Me 3 passed the $200 million mark and $700 million globally, while Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman eclipsed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($386 million) to become the top-grossing film of summer in the US and the second-biggest title of the year to date behind Beauty & The Beast, with a total of $389 million.

Wonder Woman‘s global haul now stands at $779.4 million.

Next story: Sandra Bullock and Susanne Bier unite for Bird Box thriller