After a decade of development and several postponements, the long-awaited Stephen King adaptation of "The Dark Tower" debuted with an estimated $19.5 million in North American ticket sales, narrowly edging out the two-week leader "Dunkirk."
The modest performance for "The Dark Tower," starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, was in line with expectations heading into the weekend but well shy of initial hopes for a possible franchise-starter.
The long battle to make "The Dark Tower" ended with poor reviews and few fireworks. Still, the movie was made for a relatively modest amount: about $60 million, or half of what many other summer movies cost.
Christopher Nolan's World War II epic "Dunkirk" slid to second with $17.6 million in its third week. Another long-delayed film also made its debut. The Halle Berry thriller "Kidnap" opened with $10.2 million. The film, styled after the Liam Neeson "Taken" series," was released by the new distributor Aviron Pictures after it bought the North American rights from Relativity.
But "Kidnap" still outperformed the week's other new wide release, the far more anticipated "Detroit." The Kathryn Bigelow-directed docudrama is also the first release for an upstart distributor.
The first film distributed by Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, "Detroit" debuted with a disappointing $7.3 million after a limited release last week.
"Detroit," the third collaboration between Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal ("The Hurt Locker," "Zero Dark Thirty"), re-imagines the terror-filled events around the Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 Detroit riots.
"We wish more people had showed up this weekend but we are really, really proud of the movie," said Erik Lomis, Annapurna's distribution chief.
Though hard-hitting, reality-based films are typically fall material, Annapurna timed the release of "Detroit" to the 50th anniversary of the riots. Lomis said the intention was to bring the film to as broad an audience as possible.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters:
1. "The Dark Tower," $19.5 million.
2. "Dunkirk," $17.6 million.
3. "The Emoji Movie," $12.4 million.
4. "Girls Trip," $11.4 million.
5. "Kidnap," $10.2 million.
6. "Spider-Man: Homecoming," $8.8 million.
7. "Atomic Blonde," $8.2 million.
8. "Detroit," $7.3 million.
9. "War for the Planet of the Apes," $6 million.
10. "Despicable Me 3," $5.3 million.