Victory for ‘Dunkirk,’ while ‘Spider-Man’ slides

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Victory for ‘Dunkirk,’ while ‘Spider-Man’ slides

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Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” smashed expectations to land in first place at both Korean and North American box offices. [WARNER BROS. KOREA]

It was victory for “Dunkirk” at both the domestic and North American box offices over the weekend.

Director Christopher Nolan’s newest WWII epic sold 1.1 million tickets at 1,245 screens in Korea from Friday to Sunday, raking in a total of 11.6 billion won ($10.4 million).

Nolan’s movie portrays the tension-filled evacuation of nearly 400,000 Allied soldiers from the harbor of Nazi-occupied Dunkirk, France, in 1940. It accounted for 46.5 percent of the entire weekend ticket sales, and has so far sold 1.35 million admissions since it was released in Korean cinemas on Thursday.

“Dunkirk” also smashed expectations in North America, bringing in an estimated $50.5 million to easily top the box office and attract a diverse audience to theaters.

“Dunkirk” was far from an inevitable summer success. But stellar reviews, awards buzz and hype around the film’s large-scale production helped drive people to theaters.

“We’re beyond thrilled with this exceptional achievement for ‘Dunkirk,’” said Jeff Goldstein, who heads distribution for Warner Bros. “The critical reception worldwide has been consistently effusive. It really propelled this movie that wasn’t an obvious win.”

Audiences were 60 percent male and 76 percent over the age of 25 for the PG-13 rated film, while IMAX audiences represented 23 percent of the market share (or $11.7 million of the total grosses from only 402 screens).

“It became a must-see event,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for comScore.

At distant second in Korean box office was the latest spider man reboot, “Spider Man: Homecoming.” Starring English actor Tom Holland, the superhero movie landed in second place in its third weekend with 534,000 tickets sold, accounting for 21.1 percent of the weekend’s movie attendance nationwide.

Horror thriller “47 Meters Down” came in at third in its debut weekend by selling 302,000 admissions. Directed by Johannes Roberts and starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt, the film depicts two sisters vacationing in Mexico who get trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean.

In North America, “Girls Trip” broke the R-rated comedy slump of 2017 with $30.4 million to take second place.

The raucous buddy comedy stars Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as a group of girlfriends who head to New Orleans for a weekend of fun.

Notably, audiences gave the film a stellar A+ CinemaScore, suggesting the film will have long-term playability.

“‘Girls Trip’ was a perfectly counter-programmed box office surprise,” Dergarabedian said. “It broke the R-rated comedy curse that has afflicted this summer with ‘Baywatch,’ ‘Snatched,’ ‘Rough Night’ and ‘The House.’”

For Universal, the formula is more simple: “Girls Trip,” unlike the aforementioned comedies, is resonating with audiences.

“When the taste for entertainment and comedy has been somewhat underserved, it is not because people aren’t interested in laughing, it’s that they’re waiting for something funny to come along,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “One of the great things about this comedy is that it’s really funny.”

Not so successful was Luc Besson’s nearly $180 million sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which earned $17 million from North American theaters over the weekend for a fifth-place start. It came in behind “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” in third in its third weekend with $22 million and “War for the Planet of the Apes” in fourth place in its second weekend with $20.4 million.

BY JIN MIN-JI, AP [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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