Rave reviews pave the way for this weekend’s release of Christopher Nolan‘s World War II feature Dunkirk, a $150 million production critics have declared a “masterpiece” and the first surefire Oscar contender of the year. Additionally, STX is debuting Luc Besson‘s $200+ million sci-fi feature Valerian, the second of three original features debuting this weekend amid a franchise laden summer. Dialing back the spending a little, but not the potential, Universal’s female-driven comedy Girls Tripcarries a meager $19 million budget, but is looking for big results and a possible second place finish as it enters a marketplace begging for something that isn’t specifically targeting the male demographic.
Poised for a #1 finish, Warner Bros.’ release of Dunkirkdebuts this weekend in 3,720 theaters, including several IMAX and PLF locations, some of which will be playing the film in 70mm. Nolan’s recent history is peppered with three Batman films along with three original features, and while 2006’s The Prestige only debuted with $14.8 million, Inception kicked things off with $62.7 million and Interstellar delivered $47.5 million as Nolan became more and more of a household name while also delivering films that appealed to a wide audience.
In fact, beyond opening weekend, Nolan’s films tend to play for a very long time. Following the $47.5 million opening, Interstellar went on to gross $188 million domestically, a nearly 4x multiplier. Going back to the release of Insomnia in 2002, Nolan’s films have delivered, on average, a 3.69x multiplier, best among them the 4.66x multiplier for Inception. So whether Dunkirk debuts on the high or low end of expectations this weekend, Nolan’s history bodes well for the film’s future. Also working in the film’s favor is the Metacritic score, which has been holding steady at 96 while online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports the film is outselling Interstellar at the same point in the company’s sales cycle.