Despite poor reviews, Stephen King's Dark Tower leads at box office but casts short shadow

Idris Elba (left) and Matthew McConaughey face off in The Dark Tower.
Idris Elba (left) and Matthew McConaughey face off in The Dark Tower.PHOTO: SONY PICTURES

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Sony's sci-fi production The Dark Tower led ticket sales in North American theatres this weekend, but its estimated three-day take of a modest US$19.5 million ($26.5 million) fell on a notably sluggish August weekend.

Tower, co-produced by independent film studio MRC, had the lowest box-office-leading weekend take of the year, noted.

The film, based on a series of best-selling novels by horror and fantasy master Stephen King, stars Tom Taylor as a boy who finds himself in another dimension where a gunslinger (Idris Elba) helps him try to save the world from enemies including a Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). The film garners a paltry 18 per cent approval on the Rotten Tomatoes review site.

Second in the box-office race was war movie Dunkirk, slipping from the No 1 spot it occupied at its opening a week earlier. The Warner Bros film had a three-day take of US$17.6 million, according to industry website Exhibitor Relations.

Starring One Direction singer Harry Styles in the retelling of the heroic 1940 evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied troops from a beach in northern France, "Dunkirk" has been hailed by many critics as a masterpiece.

In third spot was Sony's The Emoji Movie, a computer-animated comedy based on - yes - those expressive little symbols on cell phones. With an all-star voicing cast including James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Christina Aguilera and Sofia Vergara, the movie netted US$12.4 million - not so bad for a film that scores a dismal 7 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fourth place went to Girls Trip from Universal, at US$11.4 million. The raunchy comedy, about the misadventures of a group of lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for a music festival, stars Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith.

In fifth was Aviron's thriller Kidnap, at US$10.2 million. Halle Berry plays a mother who will do anything to get her kidnapped son back.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Spider-Man: Homecoming (US$8.8 million) Atomic Blonde (US$8.2 million) Detroit (US$7.2 million) War for the Planet of the Apes (US$6.0 million Despicable Me 3 (US$5.3 million).