I guess you could say that it’s dune some decent box office numbers. All jokes aside, Dune is dune some major dollars, and actually broke some records this weekend (my last dune joke, I promise). According to Deadline, Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the confusing, weird novel of the same name had a huge opening weekend for Warner Bros. and HBO Max. Not bad for a movie about…let’s see here…sand? Spices? A worm that looks like it should seriously schedule a colonoscopy? Timothée Chalamet brooding in a variety of drab outfits? Yeah, that pretty much sums it all up. Oh, and congrats to Timmy as well, who also broke some box office records this weekend.
Dune was scheduled for a theatrical release, and then Warner Bros. decided to also drop it on HBO Max at the same time, a choice that even Denis Villeneuve himself wasn’t crazy about. There was worry that streaming might impact the theatrical experience of the film, and also that Dune might not make nearly as much money as it could, should it be released only in theaters. Well, Denis and the Warner Bros. accountants don’t have to really worry about that now, because Dune made $40.1 million on its opening weekend. via Deadline:
Dune has easily become Denis Villeneuve’s biggest domestic opening at the box office, and the best start for Warner Bros. and an HBO Max day-and-date title with $40.1M. Business was actually better than many had anticipated for Saturday, -22% from Friday with $13.7M, sending the Frank Herbert feature adaptation ahead of tracking’s opening forecast of $30M-$35M.
This is also the 8th film from Warners to open at No. 1 this year. The pic overindexed in Villeneuve’s Canadian homeland, driving 11% of the gross where Dune resides on a theatrical window, sans HBO Max, since the OTT service isn’t available there yet.
“Denis made an extraordinary movie and fans are enthusiastically appreciating it and spreading excellent word of mouth,” beamed Warner Bros. Theatrical Domestic Distribution Jeff Goldstein.
Deadline estimates that Dune was made on a budget of about $300 million in production and distribution costs, but that after its opening weekend, it could potentially break even. Dune made a little over $40 million domestically, and almost $181 million internationally, which puts Dune’s three-day take home at about $222 million. For comparison, the original Dune movie made a total of $31 million (that’s reportedly around $79 million today) worldwide in 1984.
Of course, Dune’s release is far from the biggest of the pandemic. For example, just a few weeks ago, Venom: Let There Be Carnage had an opening weekend box office of $90.1 million, which has been the biggest box office opening of the pandemic. But Dune did kill this weekend’s box office numbers, out of all the movies that opened, by a longshot. According to Box Office Mojo, the top three films at the domestic box office this weekend were Dune, with all that cash we talked about earlier, then Halloween Kills with a cute $14.5 million, then No Time To Die with less than $12 million. Opening way down at the number nine position on that list was The French Dispatch, with a quaint $1.3 million. Even though The French Dispatch, which co-stars Timothée, made around the same amount as the Kardashians’ monthly Botox budget, it still broke a record! via People:
The French Dispatch, Wes Anderson’s latest, grossed $1.3 million from just 52 theaters in the U.S. after opening on Friday. With a $25,000 per location average, the film has set the record for the top opening theater average of the COVID-19 pandemic era.
That means Timothée was in two post-COVID record-breaking films that premiered this weekend. Denis Villeneuve had planned for his Dune adaptation to take place over two films, and said that he’d only be able to make a second Dune film should the first not end up being a total turkey at the box office. I don’t know what Warner Bros. will consider a bomb or not. But it sounds like Warner Bros. is happy with how it’s playing out in theaters. I hope Timmy liked play fighting with little ornate daggers while suited up in an array of turtlenecks while fighting off a prop sand rash because it sounds like things are probably a go for Dune: 2 Sandy 2 Spicy.