In an unusually slow weekend of peak summer box office season Sony’s The Dark Tower landed in first, albeit on shaky foundations. Their $60 million adaptation of Stephen King’s widely read horror series took $19.5 million. On the same week last year, by comparison, Suicide Squad took in $133.7 million from its openings run. Numbers are down 46 percent across the board, leaving a dismal $123 million total for the entire US box office this weekend.
This weekend’s top earner stars Idris Elba as a lone gunslinger, the last of his kind in a parallel universe that has been plunged into a dark age by an immortal sorcerer known as the Man in Black (played by Matthew McConaughey.) When Jake Chambers, a young boy from our world travels through a portal into this parallel universe he finds himself at the center of the evil sorcerer’s plans to break down the barrier between the two worlds and multiply his reign of terror. He and Elba’s character work together to stop the onslaught and save the two universes from destruction. The film ends primed for a sequel, and Sony has already begun work on a companion TV series that will expand on the character’s backgrounds. Eventual big screen follow-ups will hinge on the popularity of this series perhaps even more than the movie’s success.
The Dark Tower moved into 19 foreign markets as well taking $8 million dollars from those opening runs. Russia was easily its biggest draw at $4.1 million, while the rest of its returns came from an assortment of minor Asian and European territories. Tower moves into Italy and France next week with the rest of its major openings staggered throughout the month.
Still overseas, China’s box office took a shakeup as extreme as North America’s, though luckily for them it moved in the opposite direction. Surprise action phenomenon Wolf Warriors 2 added a staggering $146 million at its second weekend in theatres. By now it has reached a cume of $470 million and is well on its way to taking over from last year’s The Mermaid in the People’s Republic of China as the country’s top grossing film of all time.
As if things weren’t going well enough in the Far East, fellow Chinese production Once Upon a Time took the number two spot in the international charts. This supernatural romance story from Alibaba Pictures made $38 million in its opening weekend.
Back in the US, new opener Kidnap started its run in fifth with $10.2 million. Aviron Pictures dug this film from the rubble of Relativity, finally bringing it to theaters more than three years after having wrapped. Halle Berry stars, with Spanish director Luis Prieto calling the shots behind the camera.
Annapurna’s difficult racially charged drama Detroit finished a bit farther in eighth place. Reviews have been generally positive and the movie is starting to build early awards buzz but a $7.5 million return from 3,007 theaters will be a disappointment for Megan Ellison’s indie powerhouse studio.
Holdover Dunkirk took second in the US with $17.6 million and another $25 million overseas to reach a global cume of $314 million. China, Japan and Italy are still to come for Christopher Nolan’s World War 2 epic story.
Next weekend we’ll see horror sequel Annabelle: Creation and family drama The Glass Castle, starring Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson.