There aren’t very many directors these days that can guarantee a profit on an original idea, especially on an original idea that cost $150 million to turn into a film. Not even Spielberg has had that much success in recent years (four of his last 5 films have failed to break $100 million domestically). But Christopher Nolan — who earned the opportunity to make original blockbusters with the Dark Knight trilogy — looks like he’ll be three for three now with Interstellar, Inception, and this weekend’s Dunkirk. The Nolan directed World War II film starring Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy (inasmuch as anyone “stars” in Dunkirk) managed an impressive $51 million at the box office.
While $51 million doesn’t sound that great for a $150 million film (It’s only the 13th best opening of the year), Nolan’s films typically have great legs. Inception opened with $62 million and legged it out to $292 million while Interstellar transformed a $47 million opening into $188 million (and another $487 million overseas). The Nolan trajectory should ultimately give Dunkirk a $200 million domestic box office, and with Nolan, the sky is the limit with international box-office. It should also benefit from great reviews (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a solid A- Cinemascore. Word of mouth, Nolan’s fan base, and relatively weak competition for the rest of the summer means Nolan will find a way to turn a profit on an original property again. It’s good we can count on someone.