News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

On The Lot: Dunkirk proves summer can be more than popcorn movies




Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan arrive at the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on July 13, 2017 in London, England.
Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan arrive at the 'Dunkirk' World Premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on July 13, 2017 in London, England.
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Listen to story

07:05
Download this story 6MB

Got a high-brow historical movie? 

Conventional wisdom says wait and release it in the fall, when the kids are back in school, and Oscar is just around the corner.

Not if your Chris Nolan.

The director's Dunkirk conquered the box office this weekend, and jumped to the front of the line in the race for Academy Awards.

It was big gamble for Chris Nolan and Warner Bros, releasing an ambitious film about the British effort to rescue hundreds of thousands of soldiers stranded in World War Two. A gamble, but it paid off. The film dominated the weekend box office, got scores of rave critical reviews and an all-important 'fresh' rating from the movie site Rotten Tomatoes.

Vanity Fair's Rebecca Keegan says it's exactly the kind of film studios would generally hold on to, and release in the fall, a traditional time for more hefty fare, and when the Academy Award races begin heating up. And, she notes, Warner Bros. isn't the only studio bucking the trend. Next weekend another 'serious' film, Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit opens in theaters, and so far early reviews are mostly positive.

While it's not likely that future summers will be filled with films of historical or social import, Keegan says Hollywood executives are surely getting the message that summer can be more than just fantasies and action flicks.

Click the blue bar above to listen to the entire interview with Vanity Fair's Rebecca Keegan.