“DETROIT” Stuggles at the Box Office Opening Weekend

“Detroit” is making a good impression on most critics and moviegoers who’ve seen it.

But its weekend box-office numbers weren’t impressive.

The dramatization of Detroit’s 1967 Algiers Motel killings by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow made more than $7 million in its first weekend of wide release at more than 3,000 theaters — much less than analysts had predicted.

“Detroit” was projected to earn about $13 million, which would have put it among the top titles on what proved to be a sluggish weekend at multiplexes.

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“The Dark Tower” came in first with a debut take of more than $19 million, while the World War II saga “Dunkirk,” with more than $17 million, and the poorly reviewed animated comedy “The Emoji Movie,” with about $12 million, came in second and third.

To put “Detroit” and its performance into some context, consider that Bigelow’s last movie, “Zero Dark Thirty,” made more than $24 million when it went into wide release in early 2013 at nearly the same amount of theaters.

Detroit continues to show a lot of interest in “Detroit.” It’s the third best box-office market for the movie, behind only New York and Los Angeles.

“We’re incredibly proud of this film, and wanted to make sure that audiences around the country could see it. It was an honor to world premiere in Detroit where the film, filmmakers and cast were so generously embraced. The box office is absolutely huge here (and across Michigan) — among the best in the country,” said Erik Lomis, president of distribution for Annapurna Pictures, in a statement to the Free Press. “We have terrific reviews and strong exits. We hope the film has legs, and that the conversation continues.”

So why did the film, directed by Oscar-winner Bigelow, (and featuring a talented ensemble cast led by John Boyega of “Star Wars” fame) underperform? There could be several reasons, some because of timing and painful content, others as complex and intensely felt as the movie itself.

Originally Posted at Detroit Free Press

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