This past weekend saw something relatively unheard of in movie theaters -- 3 new movies debuted that weren't based on well-established U.S. franchises. In a year filled with sequels and reboots, many of which failed to find an audience, movie-goers were finally able to choose from a trio of unique ideas, at least as far as Hollywood is concerned: a war epic from the British perspective, a female-led comedy with an African-American cast, and a space trip from the luminary director of "The Fifth Element." 2 films were handsomely rewarded once the weekend's box office was tallied, but the 3rd, and most expensive new release, was left in the dust.

'Dunkirk' and 'Girls Trip' top weekend box office

Christopher Nolan may be best known as the director of "The Dark Knight" trilogy of Batman films, but, with the success of the highly ambitious "Dunkirk," he has officially crossed over into a genre of more mainstream, awards-caliber movies. Earning more than $50 million over the course of the weekend, the movie took in $11.7 million exclusively from IMAX screens. About a real-life World War II battle prior to the American involvement in the war, some experts were unsure if "Dunkirk" would find an audience among U.S. movie-goers, but if the opening weekend is any indication, the movie could not only make major money over the summer, but also be a force to reckon with come Oscar season.

After a summer of under-performing, and occasionally difficult to watch adult comedies like "Snatched," "Baywatch" and "Rough Night," "Girls Trip" finally found the right combination of cast and script to fill theater seats. Starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish, the movie became the first R-rated comedy of the summer to crack $30 million at the weekend box office.

'Valerian' barely earns $17 million for 5th place

Legendary French director Luc Besson's personal marketing blitz couldn't help save "Valerian and the City of the Thousand Planets" from box office disaster. The movie took in a mere $17 million, even after he appeared on several U.S. talk shows over the weekend to promote the film.

While "Valerian" has been credited as being "the most expensive independent movie ever made," with a budget reportedly equal to US$200 million, it is thought that initial filming costs were covered by "equity partners" outside of the studio system. So, producers are unlikely to lose much money from the poor box office showing, but it unknown how much was spent to promote the space epic that was expected to be a boon for its distributor, EuropaCorp.