Dune: Strong Opening Domestically and Globally

Box Office: ‘Dune’ Earns Strong $40.1M Opening Despite HBO Max Play

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic — starring Timothée Chalamet — has jumped the $200 million mark globally.


Dune opened to a strong $40.1 million at the domestic box-office, despite competition from a dual release in the home.

The Legendary and Warner sci-fi epic opened simultaneously in 4,125 theaters across North America and on streamer HBO Max, a hybrid practice being used for all 2021 Warner movies because of the pandemic.

Dune scored the best domestic opening of any theatrical/HBO Max release to date, besting Godzilla vs. Kong ($31.7 million).

It also delivered director Villeneuve the top domestic opening of his career. His previous biggest was Blade Runner 2049 ($32.8 million), not adjusted for inflation.


Timothée Chalamet in 'Dune.'


Dune‘s debut is also a needed win for Warners, as well as another boost for its young star, Timothée Chalamet.

Globally, Dune sailed past the $200 million mark after opening previously in earlier markets.

Overseas, the movie earned another $47.4 million from 75 markets for a foreign tally of $180.6 million and $220.2 million globally. However, it has a long way to go before recouping its $165 million budget and additional marketing spend.

Another new player this weekend was China, where the movie, distributed there by Legendary and partner Wanda, opened to a moderate $21.6 million (a new surge in COVID cases is prompting lockdowns in 8 or 9 provinces, including parts of Beijing).

Villeneuve and the marketing campaign have urged consumers to see the big-budget tentpole on the big screen. It worked: the movie did huge business in particular on Imax screens, which turned in a hefty 22.5 percent of the gross, or $9 million. All told, Imax and other large format screens accounted for 50 percent of the opening weekend tally,

Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi classic features an all-star cast that also includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Zendaya.

Dune sits at 83 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore.

There were other challenges aside from the HBO Max factor. Younger moviegoers are so far driving the box office recovery, yet they aren’t the demo who grew up on the Dune books. Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel was originally published in 1965. The majority of ticket buyers over opening weekend were between the ages of 18 and 35. It also skewed heavily male, or 61 percent.

Dune‘s lengthy running time of 155 minutes also reduced the number of showtimes in cinemas. (The recent James Bond film No Time to Die is longer, at 163 minutes.)

Legendary produced and financed most of Dune. Warner Bros. and its partners putting up the rest.

Ron’s Gone Wrong: Disney Flop

The weekend’s other new nationwide release was Disney and 20th Century’s animated family film, Ron’s Gone Wrong, which opened to a tepid $7 million-plus.

The Locksmith Animation pic, voiced by Zach Galifianakis and Olivia Colman, opened in fifth place.

At the specialty box office, The French Dispatch posted the top opening theater average of the pandemic era with estimated $25,000 in a win for the arthouse market. The Searchlight film, whose ensemble cast also features Chalamet, earned $1.3 million from 52 locations to place No. 9.

Universal, Miramax and Blumhouse’s Halloween Kills fell to No. 2 in its second weekend domestically with $14.5 million for a domestic cume of $73.1 million and $90.9 million globally (not surprisingly, it tumbled 71 percent in North America).

James Bond pic No Time to Die raced past $500 million globally to finish Sunday with a total of $525.4 million, including $120 million domestically and $405.6 million internationally. The MGM and EON tentpole is handled domestically by United Artists and by Universal overseas.

Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage crossed the $350 million milestone globally with a domestic tally of $181.8 million and $170.6 million overseas.