The Opening Box Office Numbers for Dune Are Here, but Are They Strong Enough for a Sequel?
Money is everything when it comes to getting a sequel. It rarely matters how beautiful the cinematography of a film is, how excited the A-list actors are to be on board, or how much buzz it has. Studios need to see receipts, and the box office is the place to go to get them. So, when Denis Villeneuve set out to make a 2021 adaptation of Dune with an ambitious budget of $165 million, we all knew that money would decide on his first part would lead to its necessary second. But how are the opening box office numbers for Dune? The answer is tricky.
How Are The Opening Box Office Numbers For Dune?
Dune saw a release strategy that left North American viewers waiting. Rather than release the film everywhere at once, the studio started rolling it out in overseas markets. The film had already made $130 million internationally by the time it reached the domestic box office. And that’s without China, which matched the U.S. and Canada release date.
Now that the film has landed here, we’re pleased to see that it’s pulled in $40.1 million domestic in its first weekend. This is the best debut for a film that was released simultaneously on HBO Max through its day-and-date release strategy, beating out Godzilla vs. Kong (which earned $31 million in April.)
Meanwhile, numbers continue to rise in overseas markets. $47.4 million new dollars have brought its grand international total to $220 million. These sound like high numbers, but it’s worth noting that it only pulled in $21 million in China. This is one of the few films to premiere in the country in recent months, and its overall success is riding on solid numbers here. After all, the two highest-grossing movies in 2021 (Hi, Mom and The Battle at Lake Changjin) have both come from China.
Image via Warner Bros Pictures
Are These Numbers Enough For A Sequel?
Those who head out to an in-person screening may have been surprised by the inclusion of “Part One” in the film’s title. Seeing this title clearly points to an upcoming sequel, right? Unfortunately, the film has yet to be green-lit by Warner Bros. We’d be surprised if it didn’t happen after all of the hype, but nothing is guaranteed yet.
If it weren’t for the pandemic and the day-and-date release strategy, $40.1 million on its opening weekend would be considered a flop for such a film. The studio will have to look at the streaming numbers on HBO Max to determine if enough people are interested in seeing more. And, based on the mostly positive reviews, we think that they are. The film currently holds an audience score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics love it, too. Just ask dedicated sci-fi reader Emily O’Donnell or Salome Gonstad, a newbie to the franchise.
Image via Warner Bros Pictures
What Else Happened This Weekend?
Us Timothée Chalamet fans did not have a boring weekend. In addition to being the face of Dune, the young actor is also featured in The French Dispatch. The latest Wes Anderson film brings forth a cast even more impressive than that of Dune, but was it enough to earn its keep? Its total stands at $1.3 million. While this might sound bad at first glance, it was only released in 52 domestic theaters. This means that it holds a per-theater average of $25,000, which is the best since the start of the pandemic. I guess going to a movie theater 90 minutes away from my house for Comic Years’ review of The French Dispatch was worth it!
Also released this weekend is the latest Disney flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong. It premiered to a disappointing $7.3 million domestic. Halloween Kills experienced its second weekend at the box office, earning another $14 million and marking a 71% drop from its premiere. No Time to Die found time to make $11.8 million, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage pulled in another $9.1 million.
Image via Searchlight Pictures.
The opening box office numbers for films are looking up for the first time since the pandemic, and the numbers for Dune prove it. You can catch it in theaters now.
Readers, let us know what films you’re heading out to see in the theaters. And if you still prefer staying at home, let us know what you’re streaming!
Featured image via Warner Bros. Pictures.
Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.