Still from “1917.”
Fresh off its Golden Globes best dramatic picture win, “1917” dominated the box office during its opening weekend with a $36.5 million haul.
The World War I feature had a limited opening beginning on Christmas Day, but opened to more than 3,000 theaters over the weekend. Globally through Sunday, the film has garnered $60.3 million.
“1917” had been tracking for a $20 million to $25 million opening weekend, although some analysts speculated it could make as much as $35 million.
The Universal and Amblin film won two Golden Globes last Sunday, one for best picture in the drama category and one for best director. “1917” is expected to earn nominations in both those categories at the Academy Awards as well as best cinematography, among other nods.
“The Globes were gravy but didn’t change my view of how much it could earn given that the wide release was set a long time ago and as a bonus it won,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said. “However, even if it hadn’t won Globes in major categories, the buzz and accolades have been so solid that this weekend’s expected strong performance was perhaps preordained either way.”
The World War I film centers around two British soldiers who are given seemingly impossible orders — cross into enemy territory to deliver a message that could possibly save 1,600 of their fellow soldiers, including one of their brothers. And the clock is ticking, if they don’t get there in time, the soldiers will likely all die.
The film was shot to appear as if it was unfolding as one continuous shot, something the production team and critics have said are reasons to see the flick on the big screen.
“[Universal and Amblin] promoted it as a film that needed to be seen on the big screen,” Erik Davis, managing editor at Fandango, said. “That was the narrative and that sticks with people. If I’m going to see a couple films this month, I’m going to go see the one people said that I have to see in theaters.”
Davis noted that the film being an original story is a huge plus for its theatrical run.
“I really think that people are hungry for films with an original story,” he said, pointing to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Knives Out,” both of which garnered more than $100 million domestically and $250 million globally.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. Comcast owns Fandango.