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As it was prophesied, cinema’s messiah has arrived. The sleeper has awakened… but has the box office? Dune: Part One did about as well as could have been expected during the time of the pandemic when its studio gave all of us the option — theater or HBO MAX — in October 2021; it made enough to greenlight Part Two so fans weren’t left hanging Divergent-style. Would they show up for the “conclusion” of the first book? Are there enough fans out there to satisfy Warner Bros.’ bottom line, or is Dune still a very specific piece of fandom with a ceiling? These are questions for the weeks ahead. Right now, theaters are just happy to see a movie become the highest-grossing film of the year in its first week.


King of the Crop: Dune: Part Two Scores Spicy $81.5 Million Debut

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two began its run with an $81.5 million weekend. That is nearly more than any 2024 release has grossed this year, second only to the film that was displaced to runner-up this week — and it will take just four days for Dune: Part Two to pass One Love. Part Two’s total is also more than the top three opening weekends of the year combined, and it would have been the ninth-best opening of 2023, ahead of Five Nights at Freddy’s. Part One had the 11th-best opening of 2021 and the second-best day-and-date streaming release opening after Halloween Kills, which opened the week before. Dune is evidently not as broadly popular as a pair of Universal Blumhouse releases, but both of those were grossly frontloaded and had historically low multiples (1.71 and 1.86, respectively) after their first weekends. Dune: Part One did a bit better with 2.64. Part Two is hoping to increase that number as well, even as it will likely fall from No. 1 next week.

The film began with $12 million on Thursday. Only two films have ever opened to $10 million or more in previews and failed to reach $200 million, one being Marvel’s Black Widow right in the heart of the pandemic, though that one was also available for a premium price on Disney+. The other was Five Nights at Freddy’s. Dune: Part Two is also in the bottom rung of film openings on that list, ahead of only Black Widow ($80.3 million), Venom ($80.2 million), Five Nights at Freddy’s ($80.0 million), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($77.8 million), Ant-Man and the Wasp ($75.8 million), Aquaman ($67.8 million) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ($54.7 million). All of those were summer and holiday releases, and two of them even grossed over $300 million, with the lowest multiple (apart from Freddy’s) being Ant-Man’s 2.85. So just how frontloaded is Dune: Part Two? Part One fell 62.4% in its second weekend against new openings of My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, Antlers, and Last Night in Soho, which combined still equaled less than Dune’s $15.4 million second frame.

Warner Bros. is likely hoping their franchise could hit a billion between the two parts, meaning that this film would have to reach $600 million globally to achieve that. It is at $178 million so far, which is less than Part One’s $223 million worldwide launch on its opening weekend, though Part Two doesn’t open in Japan and China until later this month. (China accounted for $22.2 million of Part One’s opening.) So how far can Part Two go? Only six films have ever opened to higher than $75 million and failed to reach $200 million (including last year’s Taylor Swift concert). If the film can at least match Part One’s international total, then we should at least have the first half-a-billion release of the year. The combined budget of the two films is listed at $355 million. Half-a-billion would reach Part Two’s profit margin. It wouldn’t be a huge one, but maybe just enough to get Dune: Messiah greenlit.


The Top 10 and Beyond: Bob Marley Holds at No. 2, Wonka and Migration Still Making Money

2024’s current champion, Bob Marley: One Love, fell to second place after two weeks at the top. It grossed $7.4 million to bring its total to $82.7 million. That plops its 19-day gross in between The LEGO Movie 2 and Just Go With It, each of which got themselves over $100 million. However each had better third weekends than Marley, which again is following the trajectory of Alita: Battle Angel, which ended its run with $85.7 million. Marley is ahead of its pace by $9 million, though, suggesting that it could settle in someone between $95-100 million. It will be close. Overall, though, the film has added over $63 million internationally for a total of over $146 million. It needs around another $29 million to start turning a profit.

Remaining in third place is the Hilary Swank/Alan Ritchson true story Ordinary Angels. It grossed $3.8 million, a fall of 40%, to bring its total to $12.5 million. These are roughly the same numbers as the Paul Rudd/Jennifer Aniston comedy Wanderlust, also about a community willing to help each other. It also grossed $12.48 million in its first 10 days and had a second weekend of $3.84 million, a 41.1% drop. It finished with $17.4 million. Wanderlust lost 800 theaters in weekend three. Theaters won’t have much of a reason to lose these screens so we could still see Angels gross over $20 million.

The television show The Chosen continues to draw in audiences. The Chosen now has its third release this year with Episodes 7-8 grossing $3.1 million over the weekend and $3.9 million since Thursday. The three releases have combined for nearly $25 million so far. Meanwhile, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba -To the Hashira Training fell back 82% to seventh place with $2 million and now has a total of $15.7 million.

Between episodes of Demon Slayer and The Chosen, they have grossed about as much as Madame Web to date. In its third week, the Marvel-adjacent film grossed just $3.2 million and has a running gross of $40.4 million. It is not reaching $50 million domestic, and with only $50.6 million internationally, the $80 million production may barely hit $100 million globally either. Sony’s Anyone But You with Sydney Sweeney is now over $207 million worldwide. While there is now some dispute over precisely how much Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle cost, the $200 million that Apple plunked down for rights to it doesn’t look great, as it has made just $43.9 million after five weekends. It grossed $1.4 million this weekend.

Rounding out the top 10 we have a trio of hits. The other Chalamet origin story, Wonka, grossed $1.4 million, bringing its domestic total to over $216 million and $624 million worldwide. Universal and Illumination’s Migration made $2.5 million and is about to past $123 million domestic and $276 million globally. Finally, David Ayer’s The Beekeeper with Jason Statham is at nearly $65 million domestic and over $150 million worldwide.

Outside of the top 10, Ethan Coen’s Drive-Away Dolls fell away with just $1 million and a total of $4.3 million. Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days from Neon grossed $480,000 in 271 theaters and has a total of $2.1 million. Julio Torres’ Problemista with Tilda Swinton from A24 made $141,000 in five theaters for a solid per-theater average of $28,187. That’s the second best of the year after IFC’s release of The Taste of Things and would have ranked 17th in 2023 right behind A24’s release of Dicks: The Musical.


On the Vine: Kung Fu Panda 4 Hopes to Skadoosh Dune For No. 1

Universal opens Kung Fu Panda 4 this week, seven years after the last entry opened to $41 million. Even a small drop from that should be enough to overtake Dune: Part Two. But families may be ready for something other than Wonka or Migration, and it could open even higher than that. Lionsgate goes for the horror crowd with Imaginary, not to be confused with John Krasinki’s IF, opening later in May. Angel Studios will try for the faith audience with the biopic Cabrini, and we’ll look at the limited release numbers for Rose Glass’ Love Lies Bleeding with Kristen Stewart from A24. That film has a 91% with critics after its premiere at Sundance in January.


Full List of Box Office Results: March 1-3, 2024




94%


Dune: Part Two
(2024)

  • $81.5 million ($81.5 million total)



42%


Bob Marley: One Love
(2024)

  • $7.4 million ($82.7 million total)



85%


Ordinary Angels
(2024)

  • $3.8 million ($12.5 million total)



– –


The Chosen: Season 4 – Episodes 7-8
(2024)

  • $3.1 million ($3.9 million total)



13%


Madame Web
(2024)

  • $3.2 million ($40.4 million total)



72%


Migration
(2023)

  • $2.5 million ($123.4 million total)



85%


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba -To the Hashira Training-
(2024)

  • $2 million ($15.7 million total)



82%


Wonka
(2023)

  • $1.6 million ($216.6 million total)



33%


Argylle
(2024)

  • $1.4 million ($43.9 million total)



71%


The Beekeeper
(2024)

  • $1.1 million ($64.9 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]


Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros.

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