Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the civil unrest during the 1967 riots clashes with ‘The Dark Tower’ at weekend box office

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After opening in select markets and in several area theaters last weekend, “Detroit” goes nationwide beginning Thursday night.

The Kathryn Bigelow-directed film, which centers on police brutality at the Algiers Motel during the 1967 Detroit riots, earned $350,190 from 20 screens during its debut last weekend. That equated to a solid if unspectacular $17,510 per screen average, and the film is expected to gross around $13 million this weekend, according to the Hollywood Reporter. By comparison, the Idris Elba- and Matthew McConaughey-starring Stephen King adaptation “The Dark Tower” is expected to earn $20-$25 million and top the box office this weekend.

In its launch, “Detroit’s” top market was Detroit, where it played in three theaters, and overall ticket buyers were 61 percent over the age of 35 and 56 percent female, according to the film’s distributor, Annapurna Pictures. The studio noted audiences were 42 percent caucasian and 32 percent African-American.

“Detroit” has been well-received by critics, who have awarded it a 95 percent “fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

In his 3.5 star (out of 4) review of the film, Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers calls “Detroit” “a hardcore masterpiece that digs into our violent past to hold up a dark mirror to the systemic racism that still rages in the here and now.”

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman calls the movie “a turbulent, live-wire panorama of race in America” and praises Bigelow’s dramatic, in-the-moment direction. USA Today’s Andrea Mandell says “Detroit” is “likely destined for the Oscar race, where (Algee) Smith and (Will) Poulter could go head-to-head with best supporting actor nominations, if the film sustains itself through the long awards slog.”

The New York Times’ A.O. Scott praised the film, but with reservations. “The Algiers becomes a trap,” he writes, “not only for the characters, who are stuck inside at the mercy of a maniac, but for the film itself, which loses its political and psychological coherence as the night drags on.”

In a negative review of the film, Newsweek’s Alexander Nazaryan writes, “frankly, ‘Detroit’ could have used more Detroi t... the scenes of the police abusing the innocent guests at the motel are meant to enrage the viewer, and at first they do, but they occupy the better part of this two-hour film and, before long, the discomforting realization is that you’ve grown bored by the relentless brutality.”

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

‘Detroit’

Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language

Running time: 143 minutes

Opens everywhere Friday

Read Adam Graham’s review at detroitnews.com/movies

From Adam Graham’s 7/23 review of ‘Detroit’: “It hurts, because it needs to. This is not a film about civic pride or the city's comeback. We have to own this, and Bigelow highlights this ugly moment on its 50th anniversary. Yes, the city has moved on, but this incident still stings.” http://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/movies/2017/07/23/movie-review-relentless-detroit-let-look-away/103941344/

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