Writer-director Christopher Nolan’s harrowing World War II rescue tale Dunkirk continued to impress audiences worldwide over the weekend, grossing $30 million in its opening frame at the Chinese box office. Far from a conventional summer movie release, Dunkirk defied box office expectations out of the gate, overperforming in its domestic release with more than $50.5 million in ticket sales in its first weekend alone. Early projections for the film estimated that it would debut in the neighborhood of $40 million.
Since then, the film has caught on both here and abroad, and crossed a major box office milestone last weekend by eclipsing the $400 million mark in global receipts. And now with a healthy debut of the film in China, Dunkirk is proving that it’s far from running out of gas.
According to Deadline, Dunkirk made $30 million in China and $6.5 million in the other 59 foreign markets it was playing in for total gross of $36.5 million. That number was more than enough to make it the No. 1 film overseas this weekend. Figuring in this weekend’s numbers, Dunkirk — which chronicles a three-pronged rescue attempt of 400,000 Allied soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France — has now made $280 million overseas and more than $178 million domestically for a running global cume of $458 million.
With Dunkirk off to a massive start in China, Dunkirk’s studio, Warner Bros. is likely setting its sights on a $500 million global box office before all is said and done. True, the business will likely slow down in China after this weekend, but it still should yield some substantial numbers before the film ends its run there.
On top of that, Dunkirk is maintaining its legs domestically, making the $500 million worldwide mark seem attainable. The film finished in 6th place this weekend at the domestic box office with $4.1 million in ticket sales, a solid number considering that Dunkirk is in its 7th week of release. Plus, Dunkirk will surely add some extra dollars to its total that it wouldn’t have otherwise with the Labor Day holiday on Monday.
Even if Dunkirk falls short of the $500 million mark, it undoubtedly will make its way back into theaters as a re-release. Already dubbed an Oscar contender by awards pundits, Dunkirk is sure to makes its way back into theaters either during awards season after Oscar nominations come out, and depending how the film does at the Academy Awards, after that.
Dunkirk wasn’t the only film to make an impact overseas this weekend. Writer-director Edgar Wright’s high-octane heist thriller Baby Driver earned enough in foreign territories this weekend to cross the $100 million mark internationally. Together with its stateside cume, the film has earned more than $207.7 million globally to date.
In addition, the animated smash Despicable Me 3 inched closer to the $1 billion mark worldwide. With a running total of $995 million both stateside and overseas, the film is expected to cross the $1 billion threshold sometime this week.