Box Office: ‘Dune: Part Two’ Rides to Impressive  Million Opening Day

Rexa Vella

Box Office: ‘Dune: Part Two’ Rides to Impressive $32 Million Opening Day

It’s a “Dune” boon for the box office. “Dune: Part Two” touched down with an impressive $32.1 million gross on opening day from 4,071 locations, a figure that also includes $12 million from Thursday evening and earlier event preview screenings.

That’s already the biggest opening weekend of the year, surpassing the $28.6 million three-day total of “Bob Marley: One Love.” “Dune: Part Two” has also nearly matched the $41 million debut that its predecessor landed back in October 2021, when Warner Bros. simultaneously launched the film on its streamer (né HBO Max) and the theatrical landscape was still in a state of heavy rebuild as COVID lockdowns eased. Even with those caveats though, that’s a remarkable step-up for a heady, epic-length follow-up.

The question now is how high can “Dune” go. Heading into the weekend, industry projections for the Denis Villeneuve-directed feature had ballparked an opening between $70 million and $80 million, a range that the film has a good shot of going north of. A significant percentage of ticket sales are expected to come from formats like Imax and Dolby, as there is a serious consumer appeal to seeing “Dune” in a premium large-format auditorium. Those increased ticket prices help boost grosses, but the limited amount of screenings may also lead to some viewers delaying their outing to theaters so that they can land the right seat in front of a gigantic screen. That may curb viewership now, but could lead to some strong holds for “Dune” down the line. And it’ll need it, considering its $190 million production budget.

“Dune: Part Two” also gets Imax screens for three weeks before “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” hits theaters. That’s a sizable window that Warner Bros. hopes to capitalize on.

Also auspicious for a long theatrical run, “Part Two” is just about the best-reviewed film of the year so far. Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge hailed it as holding “a satisfaction few films can offer. It’s an enormous gamble, given the expense of creating at this scale, and a vote of confidence in cinema.” Audiences are digging it too, as indicated by the “A” grade through early audience survey firm Cinema Score. (The first “Dune” landed an A-.)

Adapted from Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel, “Dune: Part Two” sees Timothée Chalamet return as Paul Atreides, a messianic royal who leads an army against a rival clan on the extremely lucrative desert planet Arrakis. Zenday, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem and Dave Bautista all return from the first movie, while Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, Lea Seydoux and Anya Taylor-Joy are new additions to the cast.

In a distant second, Paramount’s “Bob Marley: One Love” looks to keep jamming after making $1.9 million on Friday, only 48% down from last week. The music biopic is projected to surpass an $80 million total domestic haul on Saturday, with a potential finish north of $100 million still in the cards.

Lionsgate’s “Ordinary Angels” is eyeing a third place finish with a projected $3.7 million. The faith-based drama will move past a $10 million gross this weekend. Fifth should go to Sony’s “Madame Web,” which won’t even bring in $3 million in its third weekend. The Marvel Comics adaptation likely won’t surpass $40 million domestic after 17 days of release — a dead-on-arrival result for a superhero entry budgeted north of $80 million.

And Paul Atreides isn’t the only messiah hitting the big screen this weekend. Fourth place should go to Fathom Events’ release of the final two episodes of “The Chosen” Season 4. This follows the theatrical bows of the season’s first three episodes on Feb. 2 and three more episodes on Feb. 16. Those two prior bunches collectively grossed $11.7 million — a sum that this season finale event will now add to. Fathom’s releases of “The Chosen” have been a niche but reliable draw over recent years and Season 4 has proven another fruitful venture.

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