‘Dunkirk’ dashes to the top, while ‘Valerian’ valiantly crashes.
It was another weekend of bang for bucks for Christopher Nolan. His hugely-anticipated WW2 epic ‘Dunkirk’ slam-dunked it’s way to Box Office No.1 spot. Hardly a surprise really for a film-maker responsible for making $1.5 billion with ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)!
Currently sitting at an impressive $55 million, the drum-pounding War saga has already scooped up half its $100 million budget. With record intakes of this sort, clearing up its costs should be no trouble at all. A staggering achievement given it's up against franchise fare such as ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’.
Proof of Nolan’s status as one of the few film-makers whose name alone can sell a movie. I just wish I loved ‘Dunkirk’ more. Not that I hated it. In fact, I enjoyed it enormously. Yet it’s a surprisingly straightforward and slightly minor work in the director’s barnstorming back-catalogue.
With early OSCAR talk already stirring, I can’t help, but think had Michael Bay directed the movie and not Nolan whether praise would be quite so resounding. Nolan’s credentials will certainly boost ‘Dunkirk’ to higher awards than it might have received otherwise and terrific for him. I just wish it was for ‘Inception’ (2010) instead!
Less positive words can be said about ‘Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets’. Since early this year, Luc Besson’s kitschy space opera was predicted to be 2017’s biggest bomb.
Against my own wishes, those monetary woes seem worse than ever. At a behemoth budget of $180 million, the film is supposedly the most expensive French production ever. And yet it barely scraped $17 million across the pond! Ouch!
Unquestionably, competition with a Chris Nolan crowd-pleaser is not a good spot to open your blockbuster. Yet there are likely greater reasons for ‘Valerian’s downfall.
The film’s marketing campaign has been sporadic at best; suggesting an over-inflated blend of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’.
Despite originating as a French comic-book series, the film’s fanbase is currently small outside of its native country and lacks the demand of mammoth Marvel and D.C Comics properties.
On top of this, who’s the star of this film? One-time ‘Spider-Man’ sensation Dane “Green Goblin” DeHaan is hardly bankable material while Cara Delavigne looks nice, but previous acting experience is limited beyond her horrendous villainess in ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016).
Perhaps better Box Office beckons on UK shores (it opens here August 2nd), but a bomb is brewing for Besson’s pulpy Sci-Fi flick.
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
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