‘Dune’ Box Office Uses Desert Power to Harvest $39 Million on First Friday
The Desert Power was too strong for audiences to resist this weekend, as director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune claimed the top spot with an estimated $39.1 million, with a $17.5 million haul on Friday. This is the best debut for a day-and-date Warner Bros. title this year, after the studio controversially decided to release each of its 2021 films simultaneously on the HBO Max streaming service.
It’s a rare win for WB, which has witnessed the outright box office failure of titles such as The Suicide Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and In the Heights; not to mention the most costly loss of all — in-house talent Christopher Nolan‘s move to Universal. Villeneuve, who was dismissive of the streaming release for his humongous space epic, is also looking at a career-best opening. None of the concerns that observers had noted coming into the weekend — a daunting run-time and unwieldy source material — seemed to affect the audiences’ desire to watch old-fashioned Hollywood spectacle on the big screen.
Based on the seminal 1965 novel by Frank Herbert and bearing a reported $165 million price tag, Dune is the first of what Villeneuve hopes will be a two-part series. WB chair Ann Sarnoff recently told Variety that the studio will also be looking closely at HBO Max numbers as it weighs the future of the franchise. A spinoff series titled Dune: The Sisterhood is already in the works. Dune has already grossed over $130 million from international markets.
At the number two spot was the horror sequel Halloween Kills, which plummeted 71% in its second weekend to make an esteemed $14.2 million. By comparison, 2018’s “original” Halloween reboot, also directed by David Gordon Green, fell 58% and made considerably more. Halloween Kills opened to a stellar $50.4 million last week, despite debuting day-and-date on the Peacock streaming service.
The number three spot was claimed by star Daniel Craig’s fifth and final film as James Bond, No Time to Die, which made another $11.8 million, taking its total to $120 million. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the film opened to a lukewarm $55.2 million in its first weekend domestically, the fourth-lowest of the Craig Bonds. Its worldwide running total now stands at over $450 million.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage, directed by Andy Serkis and starring Tom Hardy, took the fourth spot with a $2.4 million Friday, taking its domestic total to over $180 million. The Marvel antihero film, which is a part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, debuted with a record-setting $90 million in its opening weekend. The film has made nearly $300 million worldwide, but will have to perform exceedingly well overseas to touch the first film’s surprise $850 million haul.
The top five was rounded out by the animated film Ron’s Gone Wrong, which made $2.3 million on Friday for a weekend total of $7 million. Inherited by Disney in its takeover of 20th Century Fox, the film — featuring the voices of Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms and others — had been delayed numerous times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expect a box office showdown next week when another singular filmmaker arrives with their new movie — Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller Last Night in Soho is all set for release on October 29.
KEEP READING: The Best Part of ‘Dune’ Is Any Time Someone Says “Desert Power”
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