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Oh no! Are we finally hitting that summer lull? Damn! During the hottest month of the season, we could use a little AC at the theater. Unfortunately, films like The Dark Tower and Kidnap aren’t quite killing it among critics, or even at the box office. We’d argue that now is the time to be adventurous. Take a chance, despite the reviews.

#1: THE DARK TOWER

Synopsis: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

Accounting for 24.01% of weekend check-ins, The Dark Tower takes this week’s #1 spot. It’s hard to say that this news is expected, as there are a number of factors to consider. Stephen King’s fantasy series is immensely popular among sci-fi fans and the film has been in the works for years. Add a high caliber cast that includes Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and you have what would seem to be a box office smash. Yet, the film’s opening weekend performance was relatively weak and it’s critical reviews have been far less than stellar.

Earning $19.5 million domestically and $8 million overseas, the film has already earned $27.5 million of its $60 million budget back. However, it’d be interesting to track its performance throughout the rest of the month. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 18%The Dark Tower is being scorched by critics. While Sam Adams of Slate calls it an “epic failure,” Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com calls it “more forgettable than loathsome, the kind of movie that occasionally rubs salt in your wounds by reminding you what could have been.” On the other hand, filmgoers seemed to enjoy it, giving it an audience score of 62%. So, we’d argue that it’s not a completely wasted opportunity. 

#2: DETROIT

Synopsis: In the summer of 1967, rioting and civil unrest starts to tear apart the city of Detroit. Two days later, a report of gunshots prompts the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Army National Guard to search and seize an annex of the nearby Algiers Motel. Several policemen start to flout procedure by forcefully and viciously interrogating guests to get a confession. By the end of the night, three unarmed men are gunned down while several others are brutally beaten.

At #2 on this week’s list is the highly-charged historical pic, Detroit. With a cast that includes John Boyega and John Krasinski, the feature is already generating Oscar buzz. And with director Kathryn Bigelow at the helm, the acclaim makes sense. After all, she was the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director (The Hurt Locker) and her follow-up, Zero Dark Thirty, was equally praised among critics. So, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 87%Detroit has managed to live up to its predecessors (somewhat). Lindsay Bahr of ABC News writes, “It’s hard to overstate just how visceral and harrowing an experience it is. ‘Detroit’ is a well-made and evocative film that is also numbingly brutal with little to no reprieve.” However, despite its critical praise, the film has stirred up a bit of controversy, as moviegoers debate the role of authorship and race in storytelling. However, we’d argue that Bigelow’s take on cultural conflict and race relations with her 1995 feature, Strange Days, emphasizes her ability to balance delicate subject matter.

Opening in limited release on July 28th, Detroit expanded its reach by an additional 2,987 theaters, this past weekend. Earning $7.25 million,  the film currently holds the #8 spot at the box office, up from last week’s #16 position. Interestingly enough, the movie has actually underperformed, especially in light of the positive buzz that it’s received. Among members, the film earned 13.92% of this weekend’s check-ins.

#3: ATOMIC BLONDE

Synopsis: Sensual and savage, Lorraine Broughton is the most elite spy in MI6, an agent who’s willing to use all of her lethal skills to stay alive during an impossible mission. With the Berlin Wall about to fall, she travels into the heart of the city to retrieve a priceless dossier and take down a ruthless espionage ring. Once there, she teams up with an embedded station chief to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.

Holding strong on our MoviePass Top 5 is the sexy action flick, Atomic Blonde. With 10.59% of member check-ins, the film has fallen 2 spots on our list, with this peformance mirrored at the box office . During its second weekend in theaters, Atomic Blonde grossed $8.24 million, giving it the #7 position (down from last week’s #4). To date, the feature has earned $45.75 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget. After screening at SXSW 2017, the movie excited John Wick fans, who expected a female version of the series. Though, it may outgross its predecessor, we’ve gotta admit: we expected a bit more from anxious filmgoers. With a score of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, we hope that Atomic Blonde will hold on a little longer before leaving theaters.

#4: KIDNAP

Synopsis: A typical afternoon in the park turns into a nightmare for single mother Karla Dyson when kidnappers snatch her young son Frankie. With no cellphone and no time to wait for police, Dyson jumps into her car to follow the vehicle that holds Frankie. As the pursuit turns into a frantic, high-speed chase, Karla must risk everything and push herself to the limit to save her beloved child.

Making its list debut is the Halle Berry thriller, Kidnap, which claims 8.54% of member check-ins. Though filming wrapped in December 2014, the film took some time to open in theaters. With a previous release scheduled for 2016, the movie experienced a few setbacks, especially with the bankruptcy of its original producer, Relativity Media. Finally opening in theaters, it earned $10.21 million this past weekend, giving it the #5 spot at the box office. Critically, the Kidnap’s reception has been pretty lukewarm. With a 40% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Glenn Kenny of RogerEbert.com gives it .5/4 stars, writing “None of the action is even slightly engaging.” Who doesn’t love car chases and a parent on a mission to save their children (just look at Taken)? If nothing else, Kidnap is definitely a good popcorn movie. And who can resist popcorn, right?

#5: DUNKIRK

Synopsis: In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

Rounding out this week’s list is the Christopher Nolan war epic, Dunkirk, which claims 4.31% of this weekend’s check-ins. During its third week on our list, Dunkirk’s popularity is not only evident among members, but among moviegoers worldwide. Earning $17.6 million this past weekend, the film was only bested by The Dark Tower at the domestic box office. Worldwide, Dunkirk is doing what Christopher Nolan movies do best: earning tons of money. On a $100 million budget, the feature has already earned $314.66 million, which makes sense: just look at the critical review. With a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the feature, like Nolan’s previous works, is gaining loads of critical acclaim. C’mon: did we really expect anything less?

IN THEATERS THIS WEEK

As always, we ask ourselves: what are we watching this week? As horror junkies, Annabelle: Creation is at the top of our list. Then, we’ll switch it up with the Cannes feature, Good Time. Finally, we’ll finish out the weekend with The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.

ANNABELLE: CREATION

Synopsis: Former toy maker Sam Mullins and his wife Esther are happy to welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. Years earlier, the couple lost their 7-year-old daughter Annabelle in a tragic car accident. Terror soon strikes when one of the girls finds a seemingly innocent doll that seems to have a life of its own.

GOOD TIME

Synopsis: After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Constantine embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city’s underworld in an increasingly desperate attempt to get his brother out of jail. Over the course of one night, Constantine finds himself on a mad descent into violence and mayhem as he races against the clock to save his brother and himself, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE

Synopsis: Surly (Will Arnett) the squirrel and his animal friends spring into action when the evil mayor (Bobby Moynihan) of Oakton plans to bulldoze the park that they live in.

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