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

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The boring weekend at the box office didn’t help at all.  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.
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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, The Emoji Movie and Girls Trip. Detroit checked in even further down the list, in eighth place for the weekend.

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. With Detroit, however, the distributor gambled that instead of waiting for the fall festival circuit, it could find an audience in August when other African-American-themed films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Straight Outta Compton have launched successfully.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Sony Pictures
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