Box Office: ‘Dune’ pulls well on the big screen

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NEW YORK – Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” debuted with US $ 40.1 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend in North America drew a large number of moviegoers to watch the thriving sci-fi epic on the big screen despite being available is for streaming in houses.

Warner Bros. has launched Legendary Entertainment production in theaters and on HBO at the same time. When the studio first took the course for all of its 2021 releases due to the pandemic, how the strategy would affect “Dune” – one of the most anticipated shows of the year – was always one of the biggest question marks. Villeneuve protested vehemently against the decision.

“I strongly believe that the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what a Wall Street dilettante says,” Villeneuve wrote in a lengthy statement to Variety last December.

The Warner Bros. has further claimed that it will be coming to exclusive theatrical releases next year. For now, the $ 165 million budgeted “Dune” marks the best domestic opening for one of the studio’s hybrid releases, surpassing the $ 31.7 debut of “Godzilla vs. Kong” in March. Expectations have risen closer to $ 30-35 million for “Dune”.

“This was a huge result as we emerged from the pandemic,” said Jeff Goldstein, distribution manager for Warner Bros. go to the cinemas first. There is no question. “

Goldstein estimated that the film would have debuted at the box office with about 20% more if it had not been streamed at the same time. (The studio has not released any streaming numbers.) Over the weekend, “Dune”, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in early September, has already raised $ 130 million internationally. This weekend it debuted with $ 21.6 million in China, where Legendary and Wanda managed the distribution. In total, “Dune” raised $ 47.4 million internationally for a global cumulative gross of $ 220.7 million.

“Dune” is the second attempt on a big screen to adapt Frank Herbert’s Epic 1965, after David Lynch’s much ridiculous 1984 version. Villeneuve’s “Dune”, which adapts only the first half of the book, features Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya and Javier Bardem. Legendary and Warner Bros. have not yet confirmed a sequel to “Dune”, which chronicles a massive shift in power on the desert planet Arrakis, where a valuable mineral named “Spice” is collected.

Moviegoers gave “Dune” an A-CinemaScore and critics (83% on Rotten Tomatoes) praised the operational sweep and visual craftsmanship of the Villeneuve film. It was particularly good on large format screens, with IMAX selling for about $ 9 million in tickets.

“What I think Warner’s strategy has proven is that movie fans, by and large, will choose the movie experience when they are given the choice – especially for movies like this,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. “This should be a very encouraging sign for theater owners. The allure of cinema remains whether a piece of content is available at home or not.”

Last week’s top movie, Universal Pictures’ horror sequel “Halloween Kills”, also started well while you were streaming home, on Peacock. After debuting with $ 50.4 million, “Halloween Kills” slipped to $ 14.5 million in its second week, good for second place. In two weeks, it domesticated $ 73.1 million.

“No Time to Die”, Cary Fukunaga’s James Bond film starring Daniel Craig, came in third with $ 11.9 million in its third week. Worldwide, the film grossed more than $ 525 million. MGM, United Artists and Universal Pictures have released a theater-only release for “No Time to Die”.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend, though not unexpected, was “Ron’s Gone Wrong.” The lightly marketed Disney animated release, produced by 20th Century Fox before Disney bought the studio, opened with a modest $ 7.3 million nationally and roughly the same. But with good reviews and an “A” CinemaScore from the audience, the film was able to hold up well in the coming weeks, with little family competition. “Ron’s Gone Wrong” is about a middle school student and his walking, talking digital device Ron (said by Zach Galifiniakis).

Another Chalamet film, “The French Dispatch”, also made its strong debut. The Wes Anderson film, published by Disney’s Searchlight Pictures, launches with $ 1.3 million in 52 theaters. This gave “The French Dispatch” the best per-theater average of the pandemic. Anderson’s ode to the New Yorker, who was delayed by a year due to the pandemic, opens in the country on Friday. While “The French Dispatch” – a $ 25 million movie with a star cluster including Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Tilda Swinton and others – is not a small indie, the film’s first week of performance gave Arthus a lift ginn.

Said Searchlight Pictures distribution manager Frank Rodriguez in a statement: “These numbers show that after a year and a half, Arthouse and independent theaters have their own superhero in Wes Anderson.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The latest house numbers will be released on Monday.

1. “Dune”, $ 40.1 million.

2. “Halloween Kills”, $ 14.5 million.

3. “No Time to Die,” $ 11.9 million.

4. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”, $ 9.1 million.

5. “Ron’s Gone Wrong”, $ 7.3 million.

6. “The Addams Family 2”, $ 4.3 million.

7. “The Last Duel”, $ 2.1 million.

8. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, $ 2 million.

9. “The French Dispatch”, $ 1.3 million.

10. “Free Guy,” $ 258,000.

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