‘Dunkirk’ wins weekend box office, ‘Girls Trip’ surprises

Dunkirk” won at the box office and “Girls Trip” surprised.

Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic beat expectations this weekend, bringing in estimated $50.5 million in North America. Overall, the film brought in $105.9 million worldwide.

Box office analysts pegged the Warner Bros. film starring Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance at roughly a $40 million U.S. opening, but a wave of rave reviews appeared to push the film higher.

Nolan’s choice to show the film in the high resolution 70mm might have helped build buzz, making it a movie that audiences felt they had to see in theaters.

“‘Dunkirk’ became a must see cinematic event with its epic presentations,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “That may have provided a nice tailwind for the film.”

While “Dunkirk” took home the top spot at the box office this weekend, Universal’s comedy “Girls Trip” is the bigger surprise.

The film came in second place with an estimated $30.4 million domestically. That number not only doubled expectations for the film, but it’s also more than the film’s budget, which was a little under $20 million.

Dergarabedian noted that “Girls Trip” — an R-rated comedy starring Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith — served as counter programming to “Dunkirk.” He added that it broke the summer’s R-rated comedy curse that tripped up a handful of other films like “Baywatch,” “Snatched,” “Rough Night” and “The House.”

Despite this weekend’s surprises, the summer box office is still down about 7% from a year ago. Yet the yearly box office is roughly on track with last year. It’s likely to see big gains thanks to a potentially strong fall and winter slate of films.