‘Atomic Blonde’ opened with $18.6 million but it deserves to be a huge hit


Last week, I honestly worried that I would be writing that The Emoji Movie would be #1 at the box office this weekend, because that’s where I think we are now: a stupid movie about emojis should be #1 in America. But it wasn’t. It was #2 in the weekend box office, which was actually the debut of The Emoji Movie and the second week for Dunkirk. Dunkirk once again took the #1 slot, making more than $28 million in North America in its second week, compared to The Emoji Movie’s $25 million-plus opening. So, a lot of people wanted to pay full-price to see a really stupid, badly-reviewed movie about emojis. Still doesn’t bode well for America. Girls Trip – which CB loved – made it to #3 at the box office with $20.1 million.

Thankfully, there was another piece of good news: Atomic Blonde came in fourth place at the box office in its opening weekend. I worried about the late-July release and I worried that the reviews weren’t lavishly praising the film (most critics liked it and it did have a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). The film took in $18.6 million, which is pretty good considering the film was made on a $30 million budget.

All of which to say… I had the choice of going to see Dunkirk or going to see Atomic Blonde, and I chose Atomic Blonde because I love a good spy story and I love James McAvoy. I wasn’t disappointed at all – it was a really great movie! Very violent, and some of the fight scenes were rough to watch because of the naturalistic way they were shot. Charlize really looked like she was getting the dog snot beaten out of her in more than a few scenes. Also: Charlize deserves all the praise she’s getting for Atomic Blonde, not just her acting (which is stellar), but also for producing it and shepherding this project through a multi-year ordeal to get made. While the budget is small by Hollywood standards, the film looks very expensive. It looked like a James Bond film, honestly, and the current Bond films are being made for like $300 million, not $30 million. Charlize gave a stand-out performance but I know she won’t get any awards nominations for it, because the film is too violent and most of her performance was her physical work, and doing her own stunts.

I’d also like to make special note of the completely ‘80s soundtrack: IT ROCKED. It was amazing and added so much to the film (which is set in 1989). The only bad thing I have to say about it was that the dialogue left a little to be desired. I realize that the characters were drawn to be purposefully cryptic, but good God. All in all though: I recommend this film. I hope it continues to do well on word-of-mouth because it deserves to make some money. It’s smarter than the usual summer fare and Charlize & McAvoy really are that good in it.


Photos courtesy of ‘Atomic Blonde’/IMDB.

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85 Responses to “‘Atomic Blonde’ opened with $18.6 million but it deserves to be a huge hit”

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  1. lightpurple says:

    LOVED it. And yes, the soundtrack is fantastic.

    • TheOtherMaria says:

      The soundtrack is divine and the movie was really well done, it was basically John Wick, female version…

      I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. Steve says:

    Loved it!

  3. Sami says:

    Haven’t seen it but I fully intend to. I love Charlize and I hope it builds next weekend.

  4. Lahdidahbaby says:

    Charlize for the next James Bond!

  5. Nicole says:

    Hmm may actually have to see it. I don’t like Charlize so I gave it a pass this weekend.

    • Esmom says:

      I’m with you. If it comes to the theater that’s walking distance from my house I’m going to check it out this weekend. I do love McAvoy and 80s music is my jam.

      • Nicole says:

        I also love McAvoy and 80s music. I grew up on 80-90s music. Best of both worlds really

  6. Ann says:

    With all the hype and big promotion and good reviews( 75% RT) and coming just 4th, it only proves the Charlize is really not a big draw. It is lower than projection.they were predicting mid 20s and just earned 18.5m including 1.5m Thursday . It is disappointing.Girls Trip on its second week came at third is really great.

    • roses says:

      Looks like Girl Trip will get to 100M+ with the great holds it’s exhibiting.

    • Nyawira says:

      Tent pole action films starring women generally do struggle. Especially when the boys fragile egos have been recently subjugated (see Wonder Woman). This trend happens with black movies too. We are only allowed one cross over hit per season. With black women we have to wait decades for cross overs and so to have Hidden Figures last year and then Girls Trip this year is a true miracle.

      But I think this will pick up in the US box office based on word of mouth and make a killing in international markets. It will turn a happy profit

    • Louise177 says:

      Agree with all of the hype I thought it would open maybe double, at least in the $20 million range. It didn’t cost a lot so it should easily make the budget back. Glad Girls Trip is doing so well. Minimal drop off in its second week.

    • Jessica says:

      I have never ever paid to see a Charlize movie and never will. She can never lead a movie and nothing about this movie looked intriguing. I yawned when I saw the previews in the movie theater.

      • Totally old says:

        I’m going to have to disagree with others here. I saw it yesterday and thought it was not good. Dialogue as Kaiser said was torturous. Not sure a woman could beat up 5 big Russian guys at one time, so it was unbelievable in many scenes. Thought Charlize was one note in all her scenes, she had one look on her face through out the movie. The only redeeming factor was the wonderful soundtrack of 80′ s music. I advise to not waste your money.

      • Jayna says:

        She was soooo good in 2011’s Young Adult. It’s basically an indie movie, directed by Jason Reitman, screenplay by Diablo Cody. Charlize plays a divorced, alcoholic writer of young adult books, who returns to her hometown kind of a mess, and decides to try to reclaim an old relationship and he’s married.. She doesn’t shy away from the gritty, not flattering character. She dives into the role.

      • Lightpurple says:

        @Jayna, bonus in Young Adult -Patton Oswald

      • SJ says:

        Thank you @Jayna! LOVED Young Adult.
        Charlize may not be a good person IRL, but she is a really good, ballsy actress.

  7. Neelyo says:

    It’s disappointing that it’s not higher box office returns, but I think the movie, like JOHN WICK, will build an audience and have a long shelf life.

    And if the budget is only $30 million and they made $18 million first weekend, then they’ll probably make a profit.

  8. Ann says:

    The ripped Scarjo when her movie Ghost in a Shell bomb but with Atomic Blond they make all the excuses just to make it look like it’s not a flop.

    • Meryl says:

      Ghost in a Shell cost $110M and had huge backlash for its whitewashing. That film deserved its L.

    • Jeesie says:


      Ghost in the Shell cost 110 million to make (and probably half that again to promote) and it only made 40 million domestic. It’s opening weekend was just $100,000 more than Atomic Blonde’s, which only has a 30 million budget, and no extreme promo costs.

      One was meant to be a huge blockbuster, and the other is an extremely violent R rated action flick designed for a much more niche audience. Blonde is performing on par with John Wick, which was a sequel spawning success.

  9. Megan says:

    Can’t wait to see it!

  10. Talie says:

    I loved the music, the fashion and the cars…really slick and fun. If it was PG-13, it probably would’e made twice as much.

    • lightpurple says:

      The fashion is fantastic. I want every pair of shoes and boots both she and Sofia wore.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Me too lightpurple. I love women in action roles and I liked her in Mad Max and then this. Young Adult as Jayna mentioned was funny. She is a good actress with range. But the shoes…

  11. Amanda says:

    Watched it this weeknd and realy liked it. it’s like an homage to Charlize’s beauty. And her kickass stunts.

  12. xo says:

    I’m a bit turned off by the violence, to be honest, but I hope it does well. Did that 18.6 opening meet/exceed industry expectations? Hollywood pays so much attention to those early numbers . .

  13. Jess says:

    Loved it and the soundtrack!

  14. Adrien says:

    It was expected to make around that amount, 20 to 25 M so not bad really. Hopefully, the movie won’t lose steam and make more money next week. And who are these people who saw Emoji? I have friends who are fine taking their kids to movies like Boss Baby and Angry Birds but they are drawing the line at Emoji.

    • L says:

      I’m one of those people. I took my 11 year old to see Emoji.. so what? It was my weekend with her & it’s what she wanted to see. It wasn’t so bad imo.

  15. Mannori says:

    Honest and unpopular opinion: I wont support this movie, with sadness and disappointment because I’m all for more female driven stories. I’m frankly done and tired of movies about white dudes, so on paper this is the kind of movie I’d be rooting for, but nope. Why? Very simple: I just can’t sand Theron and her snotty egomaniac arse. I’m sorry, she’s so full of herself and that translates in every character she plays, not matter how. I just can’t NOT see her, Theron, playing a character. I just can’t separate her private persona from the character. And is nothing in particular, although the rumors and stories about her being a nasty person are numerous, but is not even about that. It’s just a vibe, a gut feeling.

    • minx says:

      I have the same undoubtedly unpopular opinion. She just irritates the sh*t out of me.

    • jugil1 says:

      @Mannori, Same here! I went & saw Girls Trip a 2nd time rather than seeing Charlize.

    • Aimee says:

      Full of herself? Seeing herself instead of the character? She’s the epitome of an actress who makes her career off lacking vanity in her performances and transforms for each role. Charlize is a throwback to Bette Davs and Lauren Bacall and doesn’t care to conform to the safe, non threatening conventions of what a woman is supposed to be. She hasn’t done anything to deserve this vitriol. There is no proof of her doing anything as horrible as Shia Labeouf, Russell Crowe, or Tom Hardy. A man with her same personality of not suffering fools and having a sardonic sense of humor would be seen as a badass or just a man.

      • Jayna says:

        Right on. I love Bette Davis classic movies, and no one ever said she was warm and fuzzy.

      • Mannori says:

        well, that’s just your opinion, just as mine..Is just that: an opinion. You can’t expect people to think the same way you do, specially when it comes to celebrities: people we really don’t know: nor me not you. You love her? fine, she’s your fave and you’ll fight to “defend” her…fro what? from who? someone who just doesn’t like her like me? good luck on that. As for men being as “allegedly” nasty as Charlize is? I despise them just as much if not even more.

      • minx says:

        I love strong women and I love sardonic humor. There’s a difference between that and being a bully because you are a wealthy blonde movie star and you can mistreat “underlings.” I hated it when Crowe threw that phone, too. Highhanded rude behavior is never cool.

  16. Jenny says:

    I love Atomic Blonde
    Charlize and much better than Jolie

    • L says:

      Better than Jolie? Not even. But that is my opinion & obviously your allowed yours.

    • bap says:

      Charlize is a copycat. If you watched Salt those were Angelina’s moves. CT is not original or creative in her fighting skills. If you have to copy someone you will always be second best CT.

      • minx says:

        I could tell that just by the commercials. She looked like AJ in Salt or even in some of the Mr. and Mrs. Smith fight scenes.

      • FingerBinger says:

        Bap and minx Two words Sydney Bristow. If Theron is a copycat of Jolie then Jolie is a copycat of Jennifer Garner because Alias premiered almost a decade before Salt and Wanted. Also nobody can steal moves. You’re reaching with that.

      • Jeesie says:

        You do know Angelina didn’t choreograph her own fight scenes right? Those aren’t ‘her moves’. They aren’t even unique moves, her action roles have all utilised totally standard movie fighting styles.

        The fighting in Blonde is different, much more brutal than something like Salt. If it borrows from any female fight scenes, it’s those in Haywire. Mostly though it’s similar to John Wick, for obvious reasons.

      • TotallyOld says:

        Yes! Same. I couldn’t help but think of AJ in Wanted, Salt and fight scenes were very much like Mr & Mrs. Smith. AJ had personality in her movies, like her or not but CT just played it without anything! Just the brooding, heavy smoking femme fatale. And if anyone thinks she made herself look ugly in this movie, no way! She wore gorgeous designer clothes, beautiful make-up with an occasional frizzy hair style but she never “uglied” herself up in this movie.

  17. Moon Beam says:

    My six year old went to see The Emoji movie on Friday with her dad, because she is six and she loves emojis. Kids don’t care about bad reviews and parents usually have to ignore them and bite the bullet.
    Atomic Blonde looks like a great rental. Girls Trip looks really good, it did better than Rough Night.

    • Nopity Nope says:

      Really? I have two daughters (ages 7 and 5) who really want to see that garbage movie but I will not take them to see a stupid movie about emojis. You can tell your kid no to requests you disagree with – it won’t ruin them for life.

      • Annetommy says:

        On the other hand, seeing a garbage movie which they want to see and which is age appropriate won’t ruin them for life either.

      • L says:

        @ ANNETOMMY: I agree. And who is anyone to suggest what movie/animation we can/should/can’t/shouldn’t take our children to see. I myself thought Emoji movie was ok, not too bad/not good either, but my daughter enjoyed it..it’s age appropriate and thats all that mattered for me.

      • minx says:

        If I had taken my (now adult) kids only to movies that I thought weren’t stupid, we would have gone to far fewer movies. If they really wanted to see something we went, and I’m happy to have those memories.

  18. Destroy Humans says:

    I want to support women led movies but I’m not in for violence or spy films in general. This is just an unappealing movie to me. Maybe I’ll see Wonder Woman again.

  19. mini says:

    She will never be Angelina but she is good. She just comes across so hard with no soft edge unlike Angelina. As much as critics beat up on Angelina, they seem to love Charlize but it is the audience who decides.

    • Jessica says:

      Angelina had a soft edge? She was so stoic in every single one of her movies.

      • notasugarhere says:

        If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend watching Bone Collector with Jolie and Denzel Washington. Not well-reviewed, but I think she played the vulnerable parts of that character well.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think she is a far better actress in general, and a better action star than Angelina. I find her physicality much more believable.
      I do agree she has kind of a hard edge, but it works with the film roles she’s been choosing lately.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Charlize is good at picking roles that play to her strengths. I really enjoy her as an actress.

      • magnoliarose says:

        She has had a much better career with a wider range of roles. Comedy, drama, action and fairytale. But like you both said she is good at picking roles that fit her. She is also a much better actress.

      • Reef says:

        I like Theron’s hard-edge, stoicism, rudeness, her confidence to the point of arrogance, etc. It’s what makes her believable to me as a fairy tale villain, a spy, and the b*tch you hated in high school. She’s really interesting to me in her role choices and how she navigates the business of HW but I’m weary about knowing more her.

    • L says:

      Mini, I agree with you. I love Angelina’s action/and/or thriller movies. Salt, Tomb Raider, Taking lives, The Bone Collector etc.

  20. Jessica says:

    Even if Charlize wasn’t in this movie (I will never ever pay to see one of her movies) I still wouldn’t see it. It looks just like Salt or even Wanted which were both bad.

    • Viola says:

      I loved both Salt and Wanted. As I recalled they were big hits and got good reviews. I remember McAvoy wanted to do a sequel so bad, Angelina didn’t so it didn’t get made. Lol

      • notasugarhere says:

        I enjoyed both of those and hoped for sequels.

      • bella says:

        Me too! Loved those movies and I love Angelina in them! I am going to see Atomic Blonde, Rough Night and also Dunkirk.

      • minx says:

        Loved Salt! That is one of those movies that I see on TV and think, I’m not going to watch this again…and then I do.

    • Bee says:

      It was SO MUCH BETTER than either of those movies. And I loved those movies.

  21. Joanie says:

    I’m shocked at the low opening weekend numbers for Atomic Blonde. It’s amazing and the theaters in LA were packed.

    • StarBangledSpammer says:

      Saw it with friends Saturday night, worried we didn’t buy our tickets early enough… theater was not even half full. Three of us were blown away – the look, the music, the setting & story. The only one who didn’t is a guy whose favorite movie is Transporters. Really??!

  22. Veronica says:

    Everybody who has viewed it tells me it’s a ton of fun and the perfect “female Bond” movie, so I’m probably going to go see it. I wonder if it’ll wind up being a sleeper hit due to word of mouth. I’ve also heard “Girl’s Trip” is what “Rough Night” wanted to be, so I might wind up hopping onto that train, too.

    • Dee Kay says:

      “Female Bond” movie is exactly right. I *loved* Atomic Blonde and it was such a pleasure to see a woman action hero kicking so much a**. I only wish it had been a little more 007-ish, and by that I mean, a little funnier, a little less gloomy. But whatevs. I’ll watch Atomic Blonde again and again for sure.

  23. st says:

    I had posted previously that I didn’t find Theron, in terms of her physicality and movement, all that great in Mad Max . I saw Atomic Blonde over the weekend, and I really enjoyed the fight scenes and the soundtrack. Everything else, on the other hand, wasn’t very good. I found the story dull and the pacing sluggish.

  24. GreenQueen says:

    I have honestly never been a big Charlize fan, however, I’ve given her credit where it’s due. Saw this and loved it. The hair, makeup and wardrobe were on point. Usually those things don’t standout to me but I couldn’t not notice her eye makeup during certain shots or the way they did her hair in a scene, it would catch me every time. The clothes ugh the clothes were amazing. It made me want to instantly go back to the 80s, even though I was born in ’87 and don’t remember any of this. I actually enjoyed the fight scenes a lot, they were believable because she got the sh*t beat out of her too. Anyway, completely enjoyed. Worth the money.

  25. shanaynay says:

    I thought this movie was a flop. The plot was convoluted and it took forever for it to get going. It felt like a slow burn, besides a couple of intense fighting scenes, kind of a snooze. Charlize was pretty one-note, I didn’t care about her character really. The James McAvoy character was a little more interesting but still not enough for me to care about.

    • Mannori says:

      I think she wont have the franchise she was expecting. She rode the horse of female empowerment, tagged along Wonder Woman’s success and threw in Patty Jenkins’ name as a PR prop but both movies find themselves in opposite sides of their vision of female empowerment. Cynicism and exclusiveness vs. idealism and inclusiveness. So I found very hypocritical from her to jump into Wonder Woman’s wagon if her film represents actually the opposite. I’m satisfied the film underperformed and didn’t become the hit she expected it to be. Her and Scarlett have failed at thinking they’re enough and as big stars to guarantee a film to become a hit based on their star power alone. They’re not.

      • FingerBinger says:

        Mannori for somebody who doesn’t like Charlize Theron you spend a lot of time and words analyzing her.

  26. Jax says:

    For some reason I didn’t think this came out until next weekend. Probably because I have to wait for payday to do anything right now. Regardless I have a busy movie viewing weekend with The Dark Tower and Atomic Blonde.

  27. Bee says:

    I freakin’ LOVED it!

  28. KB says:

    Maybe the story is not Atomic Blonde. Maybe its the fact that girls trip is outperforming in the box office but let’s not talk about that.

    • cherrypie says:

      I feel ya @KB, but I think CB had a post on Girls Trip a few days ago, might want to check the archives to be sure.

  29. Kylie says:

    I’m going to see this. Haven’t seen many movies this year but when I do, I make sure it doesn’t include a disgusting age gap with a younger woman in her 20s with a middle aged man.

    Go Charlize! 😀

  30. cherrypie says:

    Wouldnt watch it just for the name alone “Atomic Blonde” YAWN

  31. Irulan says:

    well I have to say I went to see this film and it was good, was it great no! Acting aside, the plot was very poor and unrealistic in some aspects and as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone I won’t go into exactly why the plot was unrealistic expect to say you would think secret government agencies would do better background checks on their agents. As for comparing this to the Emoji movie that made more money? It was a children’s movie its comparing apples to oranges and in now way signifies why this movie should be a hit. For a strong female lead? I’ve seen most of Charlize’s work and I’ve yet to see her take a role where she was anyone’s victim or not a strong woman to begin with, just because it is a female lead who can take care of herself is no reason why a movie should or ever be a hit.

    • Tan says:

      Do action
      Blockbuster movies have any plot?
      Or is it coz the movie shouldered by a woman that we are expected to have plots and overall exemplary standard?

  32. Alex says:

    Done!! I will have a date with myself and watched both movies this weekend. Supporting women projects

  33. DesertReal says:

    Fantastic flick!
    Well directed, choreographed, acted, and everything in between – topped off with a wicked soundtrack to boot.
    Loved it and everyone in it!

  34. aloejuice says:

    She was so badasss – a HUGE Charlize fan, everytime she went ham and drop kicked balls, I would start laughing by myself. It really really made me happy. I love Charlize and will always support her – as others have mentioned Young Adult was the bomb dot com. Such black comedy is only something she could pull off – a BIG Feminist force in the world of Hollywood – You Rock CHarlize