‘Dune’ Shifting Between $30M-$32M Opening Weekend – Friday Midday Box Office Update

UPDATED Friday midday: Currently, Legendary/Warner Bros’ Dune is seeing a Friday between $16 million-$17 million at 4,125 theaters, including last night’s previews, which means a domestic opening between $30M-$32M. While rival studios have it much higher at $40M-plus, understand that the unpredictable nature of the gross is deciphering how frontloaded its Friday is; as well as the HBO Max availability of it all.

Imax ticket sales are leading the charge for Dune, looking at a 22%-24% share of the weekend box office. Anything above Godzilla vs. Kong‘s $31.6M opening weekend means it’s a record domestic debut for a Warner Bros movie during the pandemic, and the top start for a day-and-date theatrical HBO Max release. Anything north of $32.8M means it’s a record opening for director Denis Villeneuve.

Solid PostTrak for Dune so far with 4 stars out of 5. Males, natch, are out in force at 62%, and 72% over 25. Diversity demos are 59% Caucasian, 20% Latino and Hispanic, 6% African American, 9% Asian and 6% other. A global gross at the end of the day north of $300M for Legendary and Warners will make them content, even if it’s not at breakeven, and let’s be realistic: How many movies are really profiting in this current marketplace?

WarnerMedia brass told Deadline in a sit-down Wednesday that it will be some years before they release viewership data on how their fare strictly does on HBO Max; global growth is needed before there’s an industry apples-to-apples measurement. A sequel to Dune is for certain, and Warner Bros executives will evaluate this weekend’s success not just in global ticket sales, but also how the movie does on HBO Max. To date, per Samba TV, which clocks HBO Max viewership in Smart TV terrestrial households, New Line’s Mortal Kombat owns the title as the most watched theatrical/HBO Max film in a debut weekend with 3.8M U.S. households followed by Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong with 3.6M over five days. WarnerMedia has told us, without providing numbers, that GvK was the most-watched first weekend for a theatrical title on HBO Max.

Universal

In second place this weekend is Universal/Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween Kills with a $5M second Friday, down 78%, and a second weekend of $15.8M at 3,727 locations, off 68%, for a 10-day total of $74.4M. The 2018 version of Halloween fell 59% in its second weekend.

MGM/UAR’s No Time to Die is third in its third weekend with $4M today, -44%, a third weekend of $14M at 3,807 cinemas, -41%, and a running total by end of Sunday of $122.1M.

Fourth belongs to Sony/Marvel’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage with a fourth Friday of $2.6M, -43%, weekend of $9.5M, -42%, and running total of $182.2M. It is currently booked at 3,513 sites.

Disney/20th Century Studio’s Ron’s Gone Wrong at 3,560 theaters is seeing an estimated first Friday of $1.9M for a first weekend at $6M.

Warner Bros

PREVIOUSLY, Friday AM: Legendary and Warner Bros’ sci-fi epic Dune excavated $5.1 million from 6 p.m. showtimes at 3,200 theaters Thursday. The Denis Villeneuve-directed adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel was also made available on HBO Max streaming service as early as 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET.

In China, Legendary East is reporting a $6.5M opening day for Dune at 10,500 cinemas, a total of 28,274 screens. The pic is ranking as the No. 2 title in the market with a 34.3% share of the box office for the day.

That figure bests the pre-pandemic take of Villeneuve’s previous sci-fi spectacle, 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, which saw $3.5M from 7 p.m. showtimes on its way to a $12.5M Friday and $32.8M opening — the director’s best domestic start.

Tracking estimates for Dune are in the $30M-$35M range. Advance ticket sales indicate a number much higher, but we’ll need today and into Saturday to see how front-loaded business is as these day-and-date films have a tendency to bring the fans out first, before the general audience decides its not going to the cinema.

Dune‘s Thursday figure also beats the $4.1M made by Warner Bros/HBO Max’s The Suicide Squad, which began previews at 7 p.m. and turned in a $12.1M Friday, and $26.2M opening weekend; the second-best for an R-rated movie during the pandemic. Dune‘s also bested Halloween Kills, which did $4.85M. That R-rated movie was available day-and-date on the subscriber-paid tier of Peacock, but that didn’t seem to dilute the box office as it posted a $22.8M Friday, $49.4M opening weekend. It’s a different case with Dune and HBO Max since the service has a bigger penetration than Peacock.

The movie, which has 73 minutes shot in Imax cameras, is overperforming in the large format exhibitor’s auditoriums, driving 30% of last night’s box office. Note, in Canada, Dune is on a pure theatrical window since the country doesn’t have HBO Max yet.

Four hundred two Imax screens delivered $1.5M yesterday. The figure marks a new wide-release indexing record for Imax on a Thursday night in North America, topping Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk ($1.59M/28.9% of a total $5.5m in July 2017).

Abroad, 17 Imax screens in South Korea delivered 21% of opening day grosses on Wednesday, compared with 5-6% for Shang-Chi and No Time to Die. 

In the UK, 50 Imax screens delivered 21% of the pic’s opening day on Thursday, compared to 8% on No Time to Die and 9% for Shang-Chi.

Last weekend, 37 IMAX screens in Japan yielded 37% of the opening weekend total, compared with 16% for Bond 25.

Early word in China today, Friday, is that Imax screens rep 21% of the opening day total for Dune.

Disney/20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong grossed an estimated $240K last night off previews that started at 6PM. Pic opens at 3,560 theatres, currently holding a strong 80% Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score. The animated movie is looking at $8M-$10M.

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