Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Kung Fu Panda 4 Dethrones Dune

The animated sequel stormed into theaters, overperforming with a $58 million debut, while Dune: Part Two managed a strong second weekend with $41 million.

by | March 11, 2024 | Comments


Kung Fu Panda 4 entered with some advantages over the weekend: It’s a well-known brand that has been very successful globally despite seeing some diminishing domestic returns. It entered a theatrical market devoid of new family offerings since Wonka and Migration debuted before Christmas. It faced a science-fiction epic with a specific fanbase that may have frontloaded into its opening weekend. In other words, the signs were all there to come to the non-controversial conclusion that the fourth Panda film would lead the way, and that turned out to be true. However, the amount it would have to make to keep Dune: Part Two at bay is another story. And a good one for theaters.

King of the Crop: Kung Fu Panda 4 Dethrones Dune

The first Kung Fu Panda opened to $60.2 million in June 2008 and finished with over $215 million domestic. The first sequel arrived in May 2011 with an opening of $47.6 million and ended with $165.2 million. Five years later, they tried going the January route, and the result was a $41.2 million opening and a $143.5 million finish. Of course those numbers were just in North America. Globally, this is a $1.8+ billion franchise with even the third film grossing over $521 million. But even a drought of family fare doesn’t mean that families aren’t tired of the same ol’ thing, so even lowballing Kung Fu Panda 4 to earn less than a $40 million opening wasn’t a stretch. Instead, it grossed $58.3 million.

Now, we aren’t talking record-breaking March numbers here. It just barely broke into the top 20 of the month all time, right alongside Creed III ($58.3 million), depending on the final estimates. But nearly besting the original’s opening is a good place to start. Openers over $50 million this month have all gotten over $150 million unless you are Watchmen or part of the Divergent series. Home and The Boss Baby each got over $175 million with far lesser openings. These are all strong numbers for a production listed at just $85 million, well below the first three films, which cost between $130-150 million and were still all successes. With $80 million globally so far, Kung Fu Panda 4 is on its way.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Dune: Part Two Falls to No. 2 with Healthy $41 Million

When Dune: Part One released during the vaccine phase of the pandemic in October 2021, it opened to over $41 million despite streaming the very same weekend on HBO MAX (as it was known then). With very little competition in its second weekend, it dropped over 62% down to just $15.4 million. Just by general metrics, Dune: Part Two would be slated for a hefty fall in the mid-to-high 50s. Instead, it fell just 44% and grossed $46 million to drive its total up to $157 million in its first 10 days. That is the seventh-best start in March, surpassing Logan ($152.9 million), which grossed $38.1 million in its second week. Dune: Part Two’s weekend numbers are also higher than the ninth-best March start, Oz: The Great and Powerful ($41.2 million second weekend), which went on to outgross Logan. That now suggests a potential domestic haul in the vicinity of $250 million, and with $367 million across the globe already, that sound you hear is Dune: Messiah fans breathlessly anticipating a greenlight.

Also opening last weekend was the horror film Imaginary from Lionsgate. The film did not screen for critics, but at 32% on the Tomatometer, it is the third worst-reviewed wide release of 2024 ahead of Night Swim (22%) and Madame Web (12%). The film did not open as well as those films did, though, with just a $10 million start, which is still nothing to sneeze at for a $10 million production. Not every cheap horror film is remembered, but they do tend to make their money back and then some to fund the next one. But enough with the demons; we also had angels opening in theaters over the weekend. From the director of Sound of Freedom comes Cabrini, again released by Angel Studios, about the woman who advocated for the poor in late 19th century New York. The film opened to $7.5 million this weekend, higher than Hilary Swank’s Ordinary Angels did a few weeks back. That film grossed just $2 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $16.1 million.

In fifth place is Bob Marley: One Love, which is trying to make a run to $100 million. For weeks the pace has indicated a finish somewhere between $95-100 million. But with $4 million this weekend, it is now just above $89 million, approximately $300,000 ahead of the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston theatrical vehicle Just Go with It after 26 days of release. That film had a fourth weekend of $6.4 million and finished with $103 million, so it’s going to be a close run. Globally, One Love is over $160 million, and the $70 million production will also be cutting it close to turn a theatrical profit.

Not all families went to Kung Fu Panda 4 this weekend. Universal’s Migration continued to draw in some cash — $1.1 million to be precise(ly estimated), bringing its total to over $125 million domestic. That weekend haul was barely bested by Sony’s Madame Web with $1.13 million; its total is a paltry $42.6 million. The Chinese female boxing comedy Yolo opened in ninth place with $840,000 in 200 theaters. Female strength is also at the center of Rose Glass’ Love Lies Bleeding with Kristen Stewart, which A24 opened in five theaters this weekend to a gross of $167,000. That’s the second best per-theater average of the year ($33,493) behind IFC’s The Taste of Things ($43,350). The film moves into 1,200 theaters next weekend and should get itself into the top 10. Julio Torres’ Problemista, also from A24, had a decent second weekend with $206,000 in 20 theaters. Its total now stands at $386,000.

On the Vine: Mark Wahlberg Stars in Another True Story

Lionsgate next week will release Arthur the King with Mark Wahlberg being guided through The Amazing Race by a little doggy. Hey, it’s a true story. As is the Anthony Hopkins drama One Life, being released by Bleecker Street with a current Tomatometer score of 86%. Neither will likely challenge Panda or Dune for the top two spots again. Focus Features will also open The American Society of Magical Negroes, which premiered at Sundance to less than enthusiastic critical response. It currently stands at just 35% on the Tomatometer.

Full List of Box Office Results: March 8-10, 2024

  • $58.3 million ($58.3 million total)

  • $46 million ($157 million total)

  • $10 million ($10 million total)

  • $7.57 million ($7.57 million total)

  • $4.1 million ($89.3 million total)

  • $2 million ($16.4 million total)

  • $1.13 million ($42.6 million total)

  • $1.1 million ($125.3 million total)

  • $840,000 ($840,000 total)

  • $600,000 ($217.8 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 ©DreamWorks Animation

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