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

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