preloader icon

Apex Trader Funding (ATF) - News

‘Dune: Part Two’ spices up the box office with $81.5 million opening weekend

Movie theaters were looking for a savior and “Dune: Part Two” is delivering on the promise. Armed with sandworms, big-screen spectacle and the star power of Timothée Chalamet, Denis Villeneuve ’s science fiction epic stormed the North American box office this weekend earning $81.5 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Internationally, it earned $97 million, bringing its global debut to $178.5 million.

“Denis made a really extraordinary and special film and its been really exciting to see people respond,” said Mary Parent, a producer on both “Dune” films and chairman of worldwide production at Legendary. “It was made for the big screen and it feels like it’s being received as a cinematic event.”

It’s the first major hit of 2024, and one that was sorely needed by exhibitors. Although there have been holdovers from December that have continued to earn, like Warner Bros.’ WBD, -1.37% “Wonka” (also starring Chalamet) and Sony’s SONY, +2.58% romantic comedy “Anyone But You,” the box office is in a bit of a drought. In the first two months of 2024, no films have crossed $100 million domestically. The highest earning movies have been “The Beekeeper,” “Bob Marley: One Love” and “Mean Girls.”

“Dune 2” rode a wave of great reviews (94% on Rotten Tomatoes) into a marketplace that was essentially free of competition. Warner Bros. released it in 4,071 locations in the U.S. and Canada, where audiences across the board gave it the highest PostTrak marks and an A CinemaScore. According to exit data, men accounted for 59% of opening weekend ticket buyers and 64% were over the age of 25. The sequel was primarily financed by Legendary and its production budget, previously reported to be in the $122 million range, is closer to $190 million.

“It really captured the marketplace,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution. “It’s a cultural moment globally.”

Premium large format screens like IMAX and 70mm accounted for 48% of the opening weekend business. It marked a March record for IMAX IMAX, -1.52%, which made up $18.5 million of the overall take. Villeneuve filmed the movie using IMAX cameras. Unlike “Oppenheimer,” it was shot on digital, but with the extra time with the strike delay they were able to make film prints as well and the film format is proving a popular draw for audiences.

“Our most iconic film locations are virtually sold out for weeks,” said IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond.

The $81.5 million debut is also a record for its director Villeneuve, and stars Chalamet, Austin Butler and Rebecca Ferguson.

Originally planned for an October 2023 release, Warner Bros. bumped the movie to March amid the Hollywood strikes that would have prevented its starry cast from doing the promotional circuit. The global promo tour has been on hyperdrive for about a month, driving conversations with buzzy interviews, the viral sandworm-inspired popcorn bucket and eye-popping fashion moments from the stylish young cast — peaking with Zendaya’s silver cyborg showstopper (vintage Mugler) in London. They’ve made stops in Mexico City, South Korea, Abu Dhabi and New York City.