Reflecting back on late 2021, Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune had some notable hiccups in its big screen release. That, of course, was the year when theaters were bouncing back after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the blockbuster film also took a bit of a hit due to Warner Bros.’ decision to debut all of their movies simultaneously in cinemas and on streaming. Because of those factors, it was tricky in the runup to Dune: Part Two to figure out exactly how the film would land at the box office… but now it’s here, and it managed to destroy conservative estimates about its performance.

Arriving in theaters on a massive wave of buzz, with critics hailing it as one of the best sequels of all time, the new Dune follow-up had an excellent opening weekend, and it managed to completely destroy all competition. Check out the full Top 10 below and join me after for analysis.

Dune Part Two Weekend Box Office March 1-3, 2024

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)
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1. Dune: Part Two* $81,500,000 $81,500,000 N/A 4,071
2. Bob Marley: One Love $7,430,000 $82,771,000 1 3,390
3. Ordinary Angels $3,850,000 $12,561,122 3 3,020
4. Madame Web $3,200,000 $40,442,000 4 3,116
5. The Chosen: Season 4 Episodes 7-8* $3,154,905 $3,915,535 N/A 2,204
6. Migration $2,500,000 $123,457,000 5 2,204
7. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — To The Hashira Training $2,065,000 $15,701,000 2 1,949
8. Wonka $1,735,000 $216,760,000 7 1,732
9. Argylle $1,400,000 $43,969,000 6 2,283
10. The Beekeeper $1,114,519 $64,928,965 9 2,157

Dune: Part Two Rides High With A Huge, Buzzy Opening Weekend

Last week, prognosticators suggested that Dune: Part Two‘s opening weekend box office haul would be somewhere in the realm of $65 million… but they were wrong. That total would have been more than enough to instantly earn the sci-fi epic the designation of being the biggest hit of 2024 thus far, but the number was too small regardless. Estimates seemingly didn’t factor in the amazing word-of-mouth that the film has generated – starting with critics and perpetuated by fans. The movie had a monster preview night on Thursday, and the numbers have been going up and up ever since, resulting in a Friday-to-Sunday haul north of $80 million.

Per The Numbers, it’s a debut that is on-part with the numbers that Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer put up last summer ($82.5 million) when it was doing opening weekend battle with Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, and it’s the biggest start for a film at the box office since the launch of Emma Tammi’s Five Nights at Freddy’s last fall ($80 million). As noted, it’s also far and away the biggest opening weekend of 2024 thus far, exceeding the high bar that was set by Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Bob Marley: One Love – which launched last month earning $28.7 million in its first three days of release. The industry has been hoping that Dune: Part Two would inject a key spark into the marketplace, and it has done exactly that.

If we’re comparing the opening numbers for the new film compared to its predecessor… the reality is that there is no fair comparison. Because of the circumstances outlined in the opening paragraph, the 2021 movie only made about half ($41 million) of what the follow-up brought in during its first three days. That being said, that release still wound up being a huge hit, finishing its worldwide theatrical run earning $434.8 million and justifying the production of a sequel. Dune: Part Two was more expensive to make than Dune: Part One, the latter costing $165 million (according to Deadline) while the former cost $190 million (according to Variety), but the 2024 new release is in a prime position to become an even bigger success. In addition to lauding from critics, audiences are being awed as well: the Rotten Tomatoes ratings stand just about even (94 percent on the Tomatometer vs. a 95 percent Audience Score), and the “A” grade from CinemaScore is better than the “A-” that the predecessor earned.

Paul vs. Feyd-Rautha in Dune: Part 2

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

So what does the future hold? If a $41 million domestic start for Dune: Part One was good enough for Legendary Pictures to give the green light to Dune: Part Two, how long will we have to wait for a sequel announcement now that the follow-up is having double the success? It’s certainly no secret at this point that Denis Villeneuve has an intense desire to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune: Messiah as a way to complete a big screen Dune trilogy, so it’s probably only a matter of time before an official decision comes down and the filmmaker gets the go-ahead to execute his vision. That being said, Villeneuve has told journalists during interviews that he doesn’t intend to immediately jump into the development of another sequel, so audiences may need to exhibit some patience while waiting for the next chapter. It’s a strategy that particularly makes sense when you consider that there is a 12 year gap between the end of the story in Frank Herbert’s Dune and the start of events in Dune: Messiah).

As for the more immediate future, the road head release schedule-wise isn’t exactly clear (we are officially past the box office doldrums of January and February). Dune numbers are expected to hold strong thanks to all of the buzz that the film has generated, but there is some notable competition on the way in the coming weeks with titles aiming at demographics outside of Dune: Part Two‘s target audience – namely young people. Will more kid-friendly titles like Mike Mitchell’s Kung Fu Panda 4 or Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire disrupt the flow of the spice in the coming weeks? That will be a big question to address in the weekend box office columns I write in the coming weeks of March 2024.

Beyond Dune: Part Two, The Rest Of The Box Office Offers Little Excitement

For those who follow box office developments, it was a long trudge through February awaiting the release of Dune: Part Two a.k.a. a feature that movie-goers were excited about en masse. Sadly, one development that we’re not seeing unfold with the arrival of the sci-fi epic is a “rising tide lifts all boats” situation. Audiences are clearly excited about the new film, but it doesn’t seem to be inspiring anybody to organize any double features to maximize their time at the theater.

In its third week of release, Bob Marley: One Love remains the biggest non-Dune title, but it still managed to only add $7.4 million to its domestic total (which now stands at $82.8 million). Haruo Sotozaki’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — To The Hashira Training has unfortunately dropped like a stone (an 82 percent weekend-to-weekend fall compared to its opening weekend numbers). And SJ Clarkson’s Madame Web continues to underperform, making just $3.2 million in the last three days (it has made $91 million worldwide thus far).

That does it for this week’s edition of the box office report, but next weekend should provide some interesting action as Dune: Part Two has a showdown in its second week with the aforementioned Kung-Fu Panda 4 and director Jeff Wadlow’s PG-13 horror feature Imaginary from Blumhouse. How will the new titles shake up the Top 10? Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday for a full breakdown of the results.

The post Bless The Maker And His Water! Dune: Part Two Has A Terrific Debut At The Weekend Box Office Blasting Past Expectations appeared first on Patabook Entertainment.