‘Dune’ performs well at the box office despite hybrid release on HBO Max

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Like all 2021 films from Warner Bros., the ‘Doon’ remake was also released on streaming

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of Denis Villeneuve “Dune” It debuted in North America with $40.1 million in ticket sales over its opening weekend, attracting large numbers of film audiences to watch the sci-fi epic thundering on the big screen despite being available to stream in homes.

Warner Bros. launched the Legendary Entertainment production simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. When the studio first charted that course for all of its 2021 releases due to the pandemic, how the strategy would affect “Dune” — one of the year’s most anticipated specs — was always one of the biggest question marks. Villeneuve strongly opposed this decision.

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“I firmly believe that the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what any Wall Street dilettante says,” wrote Villeneuve A long statement for diversity last December.

Warner Bros. continues to maintain that it will return to special theatrical release next year. For now, “Dune” with a budget of $165 million marks the studio’s best domestic opening for any hybrid release, surpassing “Godzilla vs. Kong”‘s $31.7 debut in March. Expectations for “Dune” were hovering around $30-35 million.

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“It was a tremendous result as we exit the pandemic,” said Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. “Once we get out of the pandemic, if we have a film like this, obviously you want to go to theaters first. There’s no question of that.”

Goldstein estimated that the film would have opened with about 20% more at the box office had it not also been streaming simultaneously. (The studio did not release streaming figures.) Coming into the weekend, “Dune,” which first premiered at the Venice Film Festival in early September, had already grossed $130 million internationally. This weekend, it debuted in China with $21.6 million, where Legendary and Wanda took over distribution. Overall, “Dune” added $47.4 million internationally for a global cumulative gross of $220.7 million.

“Dune” is the second big-screen effort to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic, after David Lynch’s much-ridiculous 1984 version. Villeneuve’s “Dune”, which adapted only the first part of the book, stars Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaacs, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya and Javier Bardem. The Giants and Warner Bros. have yet to confirm a sequel to “Dune”, which describes a violent power change on the desert planet Arrakis, where a valuable mineral called “spice” is harvested.

Moviegoers gave “Dune” an A-Cinemascore, and critics (83% on Rotten Tomatoes) praised Villeneuve’s film’s operatic sweep and visual craft. It performed particularly well on large-format screens, with IMAX contributing nearly $9 million in ticket sales.

Paul Dergarbadian, senior media analyst at data firm comScore, said, “I think Warner’s strategy has proven that movie fans, especially moviegoers, are especially fond of movies like this. Will choose the theater experience.” “This should be a very encouraging sign for theater owners. The allure of a movie theater remains whether a piece of content is available at home or not.”

Last week’s top film, Universal Pictures’ horror sequel “Halloween Kills,” also launched well, streaming home on Peacock. After starting with $50.4 million, “Halloween Kills” fell sharply in its second week with $14.5 million, good for second place. It grossed $73.1 million domestically in two weeks.

Cary Fukunaga’s James Bond film “No Time to Die” starring Daniel Craig took third place with $11.9 million in its third week. Worldwide, the film has grossed over $525 million. MGM, United Artists and Universal Pictures charted theatrical-only releases for “No Time to Die”.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend, though not unexpectedly, was “Rons Gone Wrong”. The lightly marketed Disney animated release, produced by 20th Century Granthshala before Disney acquired the studio, opened with a modest $7.3 million domestically and nearly the same internationally. But with good reviews from the audience and an “A” CinemaScore, the film may hold well in the coming weeks, with less family competition. “Rons Gone Wrong” is about Ron (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), a middle-schooler and his walking, talking digital device.

Another Chalamet film, “The French Dispatch”, also opened strongly. The Wes Anderson film, released by Disney’s Searchlight Pictures, launched in 52 theaters with $1.3 million. This gave “The French Dispatch” the pandemic’s best per-theater average. Anderson’s ode to the New Yorker, which was delayed by a year due to the pandemic, opens nationwide on Friday. While “The French Dispatch” — a $25 million film with a star cast including Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Tilda Swinton and others — isn’t a small indie, the film’s first week performance gave Arthouse a lift. Gave.

Frank Rodriguez, head of distribution at Searchlight Pictures, said in a statement: “These figures show that after a year and a half, arthouse and independent theaters at Wes Anderson have a superhero of their own.”

According to comScore, estimated ticket sales in theaters in the US and Canada from Friday to Sunday. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Dune,” $40.1 million.

2. “Halloween Kills,” $14.5 million.

3. “No Time to Die,” $11.9 million.

4. “Poison: Let There Be Carnage,” $9.1 million.

5. “Rons Gone Wrong,” $7.3 million.

6. “The Addams Family 2,” $4.3 million.

7. “The Last Duel,” $2.1 million.

8. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” $2 million.

9. “The French Dispatch,” $1.3 million.

10. “Free Guy,” $258,000.


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