Dunkirk digs in at top of the UK box office as The Nut Job 2 proves a shell of the original

The winner: Dunkirk

Despite dropping another 43% from the previous weekend, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk holds on to the top spot in the UK for a fourth week in a row – a feat that eluded monster hits of the last year, including Beauty and the Beast and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The last film to pull it off was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November and December 2016.

Dunkirk’s UK box office has reached £44.8m, making it the biggest hit of the summer, ahead of Despicable Me 3 (£41.6m) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2(£41.0m). For the year to date, it’s beaten only by Beauty and the Beast (£72.4m). The industry is confident that Dunkirk will go north of £50m by the end of its run – about double the original projection.

The runner-up: Annabelle: Creation

Warner Bros has scored another solid horror opening with Annabelle: Creation. The origins story prequel took £1.96m, almost identical to the £1.94m debut of Annabelle in October 2014. The first Annabelle went on to achieve a decent £7.51m. Both Conjuring movies – which share creative DNA with the Annabelle franchise – pushed a bit past £10m in the UK. The biggest horror hit so far this year in Britain is Get Out, with £10.34m – although that film resists easy genre classification.

Third place: Atomic Blonde

Fellow debutant Atomic Blonde, the cold war-era, Berlin-set spy action film starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, lands in third place in the official comScore chart, with a solid £1.69m. However, that number includes takings from Wednesday and Thursday, without which it dilutes to a feebler £1.13m, putting The Emoji Movie into third place for the weekend period.

The flop: The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

Considering the first Nut Job movie only grossed $121m at cinemas worldwide, it’s surprising that a sequel was ordered by distribution partners including Open Road for the US and Warner Bros for the UK. Presumably, the animated title was created for an attractive price, making the £4.5m UK final gross for The Nut Job a profitable proposition for Warners.

The partners may now have wished they had quit while they were ahead, at least going by the UK result for The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature. The sequel – a film few parents can have anticipated with delight – has opened in Britain with a dismal £354,000 from 525 screens, for a site average of £672. The original The Nut Job began with £667,000 in August 2014. There is always competition for the family market during the summer holiday, but it is fiercer than usual, with Despicable Me 3 still riding high in its seventh week of release. The Emoji Movie is also performing well, and Captain Underpants and Cars 3 are both right behind The Nut Job 2 in the UK chart.