Dune: Part Two rallies to an  million plus start after word-of-mouth propels Saturday gross

Connie Queline

Dune: Part Two rallies to an $81 million plus start after word-of-mouth propels Saturday gross

Thanks to a big boost at the box office on Saturday night, Dune Part Two blew away expectations to double the first film’s opening weekend.

The final numbers are coming in, and Dune: Part Two is defying earlier predictions that it would open in the $75 million-ish range with a strong $81 million opening weekend. This is just slightly above what we predicted a few days ago. Why is it coming in so much higher than the trades predicted yesterday? The universally positive word of mouth (an A CinemaScore rating) propelled it to a stronger-than-expected Saturday night in sales. This, or course, is great news, with the sequel doubling the first film’s opening weekend take, although it should be remembered that film opened in the middle of the pandemic and was available day and date on HBO Max. 

This is a strong opening for Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic, with it the highest opening film since Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour back in October. It opened just short of Oppenheimer’s $82 million gross, but the audience polling and the Saturday boost at the box office has many thinking Dune: Part Two will leg-out to a massive final gross. The only real competition it has coming up is Kung Fu Panda 4, which plays to a bit of a different audience. The next big movie for Dune: Part Two’s demo is likely Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which comes out on March 22nd. 

As expected, the rest of the movies playing this weekend performed modestly. Bob Marley: One Love, which dominated the box office since Valentine’s Day, dropped to 2nd place, earning $7.4 million for a total of $82 million. A $100 million domestic finish is still possible for this crowd-pleasing musical biopic. It was trailed by the faith-based Ordinary Angels, starring Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson, which dropped a steeper-than-expected 38% to $3.85 million. It’s earned $12.5 million so far, but seems destined to be a modest performer when all is said and done. 

In a bit of a surprise, Sony’s much hated Madame Web beat the latest round of episodes from The Chosen (barely) earning $3.2 million compared to the Christian show’s $3.1 million. Madame Web’s domestic total is just over $40 million now and is destined to be one of the lowest-grossing superhero movies in quite some time.

Meanwhile, Illumination’s Migration made another $2.5 million, now boasting a $123 million domestic total. While a modest performer for an animated comedy, it had good legs at the box office, considering there’s been a lack of family films in release. The anime Demon Slayer: To The Hashira Training fell a massive 82% to just over $2 million for the weekend. This isn’t a surprise as these limited run anime movies are always front-loaded. 

Wonka sequel

While he’s been kicking ass on Arrakis all weekend, a kinder, softer Timothee Chalamet also had a good showing at the box office this weekend, with Wonka coming in at number 8. With a $1.7 million gross, this film has proven to be a smash, clearing $216 million at the domestic box office. There’s no surprise that the studio, Warner Bros, wants a sequel immediately. In number 9 was Argylle, Matthew Vaughn’s flop spy flick, which earned $1.4 million for a domestic total just slightly under $44 million. Finally, Jason Statham’s kick-ass The Beekeeper started to wind down its theatrical run with a $1.14 weekend in 10th place, clearing $65 million domestically, a terrific result for an R-rated action flick.

How do you think Dune: Part Two will fare against Kung Fu Panda 4 next weekend? Let us know in the comments. 

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