Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Dune Debuts at $40 Million, but Is It Enough to Secure Part Two?

Denis Villeneuve's passion project hopes to be greenlit for the sequel it needs to complete its story, while Wes Anderson's latest does well in just 54 locations nationwide.

by | October 24, 2021 | Comments

We just passed the 15th anniversary of Dennis Green’s legendary rant when his Arizona Cardinals blew a big second half lead to the Chicago Bears. “They are who we thought they were,” he yelled. It’s appropriate that the new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune would be unveiled four days after that anniversary, because a similar proclamation could be made at its expense, though not for its quality; critics have been very favorable to it with an 83% on the Tomatometer. No, Dune was already facing an uphill battle as a science-fiction entity with a following that qualified more as cultish than broad. But as part of Warner Bros.’ 2021 hybrid release strategy with HBO Max – even if it hit one ceiling on its opening weekend – it is pretty clear that Dune is what we thought it was at the box office.

King of the Crop: Dune Leads the Pack, but Is It Enough?

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune

(Photo by Chiabella James/©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Dune got off to a very promising start on Thursday night, grossing $5.1 million in previews. That was higher than last week’s Halloween Kills, co-streaming on Peacock, which began with $4.8 million (eventually opening to $49 million) and even A Quiet Place Part II, a theatrical exclusive back in May, which did a pre-weekend haul of $5 million and a weekend leading into Memorial Day with $47.5 million. Hopes were high that Dune: Part One (as it should be referred to) would find itself somewhere in the vicinity between Kills’ number and No Time To Die, which went from $6.3 million to $55.2 million two weeks ago. Denis Villeneuve’s previous update of a 1980s cult sci-fi film, Blade Runner 2049, did $4 million in previews on the way to a $32.7 million start.

That was another time, though, before the pandemic and before HBO Max. Without either, Dune: Part One likely would have indeed grossed more than the estimated $40.1 million it did this weekend. Between Thursday and Friday, it had $17.5 million in the bank. If that estimate does come down on Monday, Dune: Part One will join the only three films to be frontloaded to the tune of $17 million and not reach $40 million through the weekend – Magic Mike ($39.1 million), Fifty Shades Freed ($38.5 million), and Hannah Montana: The Movie ($32.3 million). Since it did release simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, we go back to examining the limitations that potentially affected its success at the box office. No matter the pleas from Villeneuve or critics saying that people should see it on the biggest screen possible ($9 million was made in IMAX screens alone), the couch was still an option.

Denis Villeneuve on the set of Dune

(Photo by Chiabella James/©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Godzilla vs. Kong’s $48.1 million five-day haul in March/April set what turned out to be unrealistic expectations when it opened in theaters and became available to stream — for no extra charge — on a home platform now estimated to have over 67 million subscribers. Dune can claim at least one crown for now, with the best three-day opening for a WB/HBO Max release, but its numbers from Monday-to-Thursday could lead to it falling behind GvK’s pace even before a likely high drop next weekend.

Godzilla vs. Kong had a $31.6 million opening weekend after a two-day head start. Space Jam: A New Legacy opened to $31 million about three and a half months later. The WB/HBO Max experiment also had three films perform in the 20s – The Suicide Squad ($26.2 million), The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It ($24.1 million), and Mortal Kombat ($23.3 million). Back in February, Tom & Jerry opened to a strong $14.1 million at the time, and those were the highs. These were all known properties, and then In the Heights became the only other release to open over $10 million. The world is in a more comfortable place now, and if you IP it, they will come, as evidenced by this month’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time to Die, and Halloween Kills. It should be no surprise that Dune: Part One performed lower than those titles or that it will likely fail to hit $100 million at the domestic box office; every other WB/HBO Max release has also failed to reach that milestone, save for GvK, which had to leg it out 11 weeks to make it.

There are still a lot of factors to consider if we will ever get a Dune: Part Two. Maybe David Lynch can step in and fast forward the story two years like he did during the Arrakis uprising of 1984. Villeneuve’s $165 million-budgeted film has grossed another $160 million internationally to date and will probably become just the eighth studio production to gross over $300 million globally this year (and just the ninth since the pandemic began.) And if Jungle Cruise can already confidently announce a sequel despite doing only $213 million worldwide to date, maybe Part One’s true fans will get the Part Two they deserve.

Rotten Returns: Ron’s Gone Wrong Lives Up to Its Title

Ron's Gone Wrong

(Photo by 20th Century Studios)

Theatrical exclusivity does not appear to work for every film and certainly not in the family arena. Disney’s Fox division apparently did not get the memo that kids between the ages of 5 and 11 were just given the go-ahead to get vaccinated and may not come out for a non-sequelized tale such as Ron’s Gone Wrong. Raya and the Last Dragon is the only original animated film to leg itself to over $50 million during the pandemic (and even that was available at home for a Premier Access cost.) The $6.9 million that Ron grossed this weekend is less than a million more than what Spirit Untamed did back in June ($6.1 million) to become the second lowest opening for an animated film this year. Disney/Fox’s The Last Duel dropped 58% this weekend as well to just $2 million, bringing its total to only $8.5 million.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Halloween Kills Drops Hard but Looks Ahead to a Halloween Bump

Halloween Kills

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

Last week, Halloween Kills exceeded expectations with a $49 million opening weekend; this weekend it is down 71% with $14.2 million. That brings its total to $72.8 million, the 15th best 10-day total ever in October. However, among the top 25 films in that category, Kills is only the fourth film to have a second weekend under $16 million, along with High School Musical 3, Annabelle, and Blade Runner 2049. None of those films made it to $100 million. However, they were also only between $60.9-$62.1 million after ten days. Based on its current pace, that could still be enough to get Kills between $100-105 million, which would make it just the second film to reach that milestone while simultaneously playing on a streaming service with no additional premium charge. It will have to stay above $7 million next weekend to maintain its shot, though — something the Halloween weekend could help with. Its 2018 predecessor grossed $5.54 million alone on Halloween, its 13th day of release; this year, the 31st of October will be Kills’ 17th day.

No Time To Die moved back to third place this week with $11.9 million, the third best third weekend of the year after Shang-Chi and the Venom sequel. That brings its total to $120 million after 17 days, the fifth best total of the year, keeping it ahead of the pace of A Quiet Place Part II, which was at $109.3 million, so our $160-170 million final tally continues to hold, while its international tally climbed over $500 million. That makes it just the second film of the pandemic to reach that global total after F9, which stands at $716 million. Venom: Let There Be Carnage, meanwhile, dropped to $8.8 million, bringing its total to $181.5 million and putting it on track to finish between $205-210 million.

While Ron’s Gone Wrong fell on the low side of animation this year, The Addams Family 2 is making a play to possibly become the top-grossing animated film of the pandemic. Grossing $4.3 million this weekend, its total rose to $48 million. That’s only about $2 million behind the pace of The Boss Baby: Family Business, though that film’s fourth Peacock-streaming weekend was a full million and a half behind Addams with $2.8 million. The Boss Baby sequel finished with $57.2 million and is second only to The Croods: A New Age, which grossed $58.5 million during the pandemic almost a full year ago. Finally, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch grossed $1.59 million in only 52 theaters, earning the crown of the best per-theater-average ($30,576) we have seen during the pandemic. It is the highest number we have seen since 2020’s release of Emma with Anya Taylor-Joy the weekend of February 24, which opened to $234,482 in five theaters for an average of $46,896.

On the Vine: Two Fresh Horror Films Look to Offer Satisfying Scares

Poster for Last Night in Soho

(Photo by Focus Features)

Next week audiences can choose between two different kinds of horror just in time for Halloween weekend. Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller Last Night in Soho with Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy hopes to become one of the few non-universe building films to ultimately crack the $30 million barrier. Then there’s Scott Cooper’s Antlers with a more physical kind of horror starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. Soho currently stands at 71% on the Tomatometer while Antlers holds at 80%.

Full List of Box Office Results: October 22-24, 2021

  • $40.1 million ($40.1 million total)

  • $14.2 million ($72.8 million total)

  • $11.9 million ($120 million total)

  • $8.8 million ($181.5 million total)

  • $6.9 million ($6.9 million total)

  • $4.2 million ($48.1 million total)

  • $2 million ($8.5 million total)

  • $1.93 million ($220.9 million total)

  • $1.59 million ($1.59 million total)

Honsla Rakh (2021)

  • $490,000 ($490,000 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]

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

TBS Pet Sematary true crime asian-american Valentine's Day Logo Esquire films green book critics video toy story Binge Guide mcc political drama Showtime cinemax Red Carpet rotten supernatural vampires monster movies technology 2016 Universal Pictures Shudder Marvel Studios Awards The Academy boxing Rock adventure video on demand Cosplay Comedy Central debate joker social media independent south america japan Best Picture Columbia Pictures Winter TV thriller Comic-Con@Home 2021 Trivia The CW name the review Emmy Nominations South by Southwest Film Festival batman target Nat Geo singing competition MTV OneApp OWN Pop MCU mockumentary Disney Channel a nightmare on elm street MSNBC cults composers Baby Yoda blockbuster comic book movies Spike SXSW Warner Bros. USA Network First Look APB breaking bad ABC Signature cars SundanceTV Pride Month Discovery Channel feel good obi wan VOD E3 24 frames Interview Polls and Games The Arrangement cancelled television unscripted summer TV ghosts Reality Competition Musical game show mutant 73rd Emmy Awards Fantasy TV One zero dark thirty Mindy Kaling Sundance streamig Election olympics trophy genre gangster 007 Food Network 90s HFPA GIFs fast and furious Funimation A24 ID Apple TV+ spain cancelled TV series game of thrones parents GLAAD Extras Infographic new star wars movies Schedule MGM TV Comics on TV Black History Month Fall TV IFC james bond japanese Adult Swim Action Biopics Countdown prank halloween teaser Amazon Studios Martial Arts ITV renewed TV shows Western sequels Brie Larson Avengers HBO 79th Golden Globes Awards Wes Anderson CNN Nominations hispanic heritage month Star Wars Animation miniseries New York Comic Con Sundance Now Alien transformers mob Mary Tyler Moore USA 94th Oscars Lucasfilm 2018 Bravo BET Awards series LGBT all-time scene in color scorecard Holiday festival Pirates WarnerMedia halloween tv crime thriller Freeform 72 Emmy Awards worst movies Best and Worst action-comedy art house Country Toys revenge rt archives toronto Tumblr A&E dreamworks archives VH1 universal monsters El Rey Lifetime Christmas movies elevated horror jamie lee curtis Walt Disney Pictures zombie hispanic The Walt Disney Company FX on Hulu popular Mudbound TruTV tv talk theme song Acorn TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt live action comiccon laika Spring TV free movies sag awards TCA Winter 2020 LGBTQ comic books Drama FXX Crackle anthology The Witch basketball cancelled space Trailer Heroines book adaptation Stephen King Sony Pictures international marvel comics child's play Masterpiece new zealand Photos cartoon 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards serial killer stoner Oscar Tubi Vudu Black Mirror politics saw critic resources dexter sopranos comedies Shondaland Mystery binge ABC Family know your critic Holidays American Society of Cinematographers ESPN documentary 2015 Hear Us Out X-Men Podcast Elton John Anna Paquin anime Broadway documentaries best Turner Classic Movies FOX new york french BBC Netflix Christmas movies black comedy streaming RT History discovery Ghostbusters Writers Guild of America Lifetime AMC Plus medical drama aliens RT21 young adult Netflix Creative Arts Emmys Ellie Kemper hidden camera Television Critics Association Fox Searchlight Women's History Month BAFTA razzies YouTube Premium spy thriller justice league Premiere Dates twilight Calendar comic high school WGN heist movie Music CBS All Access harry potter hollywood screen actors guild Summer Ovation Tomatazos robots Peacock venice crime drama BET 4/20 YouTube Red 71st Emmy Awards boxoffice Superheroe Christmas Television Academy Crunchyroll lord of the rings Hollywood Foreign Press Association spider-man Hallmark Christmas movies TV renewals adaptation die hard nbcuniversal facebook reboot Family TCM football Pacific Islander police drama Disney streaming service Comedy mission: impossible Prime Video Rocketman Superheroes what to watch award winner 93rd Oscars Neflix stand-up comedy 2020 live event crime Comic Book Mary Poppins Returns telelvision Captain marvel Musicals Nickelodeon dogs emmy awards movies IFC Films royal family satire 21st Century Fox Spectrum Originals children's TV Horror psychological thriller sequel dramedy Paramount Network cooking richard e. Grant comic book movie obituary chucky slashers period drama zombies golden globe awards classics finale TCA Universal australia screenings TIFF Syfy rom-coms AMC Lionsgate Sci-Fi diversity Character Guide scary movies indiana jones NBA summer TV preview Trophy Talk SXSW 2022 directors Cannes sitcom slasher 2017 VICE based on movie Amazon Prime DC streaming service latino Endgame vs. blockbusters Epix worst hist Kids & Family streaming movies pirates of the caribbean witnail comics 20th Century Fox FX Chernobyl NYCC Marathons reviews psycho HBO Max Best Actress Tags: Comedy cops franchise concert 1990s war science fiction disaster nature Best Director DC Comics summer preview Hulu golden globes rotten movies we love Turner women Watching Series The Walking Dead jurassic park Emmys Video Games Super Bowl kids ViacomCBS superman trailers Image Comics 2021 cancelled TV shows Marvel Television DC Universe cats Pop TV DGA SDCC History PlayStation biopic Certified Fresh talk show romantic comedy criterion scary Film werewolf spanish See It Skip It Winners animated crossover sports Starz christmas movies wonder woman black Marvel Reality travel Opinion doctor who aapi 2019 Film Festival NBC Song of Ice and Fire San Diego Comic-Con Amazon Prime Video Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TLC versus godzilla legend news Star Trek quibi TV Land Disney marvel cinematic universe Grammys Paramount Plus dragons adenture Set visit Dark Horse Comics Thanksgiving docudrama movie Disney Plus Awards Tour canceled TV shows television Sneak Peek 45 foreign Disney+ Disney Plus Oscars indie nfl biography stop motion BBC America rt labs Britbox blaxploitation book CW Seed National Geographic Year in Review Legendary Exclusive Video spanish language PaleyFest kong historical drama dceu CMT TNT natural history Amazon E! First Reviews Mary poppins Tarantino Apple Academy Awards Travel Channel casting Rocky fresh suspense strong female leads spinoff President 99% Apple TV Plus posters BBC One spider-verse Box Office king kong Fargo The Purge Fox News docuseries deadpool TCA 2017 HBO Go Hallmark canceled Best Actor ratings Pixar Sundance TV rt labs critics edition kaiju Arrowverse Cartoon Network Instagram Live leaderboard dc remakes PBS DirecTV Classic Film king arthur ABC romance TCA Awards TV movies CBS dark YouTube Focus Features italian superhero Paramount YA Quiz festivals IMDb TV Teen Rom-Com GoT Tokyo Olympics