Dune: Part Two

Source: Warner Bros

‘Dune: Part Two’

Dune: Part Two salvaged box office after a lacklustre start to the year as the strike-delayed tentpole from Warner Bros and Legendary Entertainment roared to the top of the North American charts with a thunderous $82.5m three-day haul that set the highest opening weekend of 2024 so far.

Double the $41m pandemic launch of its predecessor, the sci-fi set new opening weekend records for director Denis Villeneuve and stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and Austin Butler and will give Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav something to cheer about after a low-key Q4 earnings call last month. 

Dune’s October 2021 debut came in the midst of the pandemic, which inspired former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar to devise the notorious Project Popcorn strategy whereby every Warner Bros film opened theatrically and launched simultaneously on what was then known as HBO Max in 2021.

That said, Dune delivered the best result of any Warner Bros release that year and went on to finish on $108.3m in North America and $402m worldwide.

Dune 2 will far exceed that and will head into its second weekend on close to the first film’s final gross. The weekend’s global debut reached $182.5m factoring in $100m from international markets, and Screen has published a more detailed international report here.

The stirring box office numbers vindicate the decision by Warner Bros and Legendary heads to postpone Dune: Part Two’s original November 3 2023 release date amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes. They wanted to ensure Zendaya and Chalamet and a cast that includes Florence Pugh, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista and Javier Bardem would be available to promote the launch, and the results speak volumes, particularly after a barren couple of months which has been impacted by the production shutdown caused by the industrial action.

The sci-fi sequel produced a $20,019 average and the CinemaScore ranked “A”, with a split of 59% male and 41% female audience, and 64% aged over 25. By race demographic, the film attracted a 65% Caucasian, 14% Hispanic, 9% African‐American, 8% Asian, and 4% Native‐American crowd.

Dune: Part Two earned $32.2m on Friday, $28.7m on Saturday, and $1.7m on Sunday.

Premium formats delivered strong results with approximately 48% of business coming from Imax and Dolby Cinema, PLF/Premium Large Formats, 70mm, and Motion Seating. In fact Imax set a March record on approximately $18.5m overall for 23% market share.

The previous highest opening weekend for Villeneuve and Chalamet was Dune on $41m, while Ferguson’s best until now was Mission: Impossible Fallout on $61m, and Butler’s was Once Upon A Time In Hollywood on $41m.