‘DUNE’ Finally Delivers Denis’ Box Office Hit

After months of anticipation, “Dune” was released in the US after a few weeks open internationally. It grossed $40.1 million in its first weekend—the highest of Denis Villeneuve’s career—and is already up to $220.7 million worldwide. In case the Warner Bros. executive already saying that box office won’t be the only metric they use when making the decision to greenlight a sequel, the strong domestic opening all but guarantees that a sequel is greenlit sooner than later. For reference, Denis’ other sci-fi epics, “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049,” only grossed $203 million and $259 million respectively. “Dune” should have no problem beating out “Blade Runner 2049” in a week or two. Great stuff on Warner Bros.’ end, especially when considering that “Dune” still released on HBO Max as a part of the day and date release plan. Perhaps the word got around about the larger-than-life scale that the film has, and it truly is a sight to behold on an IMAX screen.

“Halloween Kills” had a massive drop of 70.7% in its second weekend, only grossing $14.5 million. It passed the $90 million mark worldwide, but it looks unlikely that it will get anywhere near the gross of 2018’s “Halloween” ($255 million).

“No Time To Die” passed $500 million worldwide, hitting $525.6 million, but still has a long way to climb out of last place among Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. “Quantum of Solace” made $589 million worldwide, which seems plausible to catch, “Casino Royale” ($605 million) could possibly be caught, though it would take a few more really good weeks. “Skyfall” ($1.1 billion), and “Spectre” ($880 million) both seem out of the picture, but settling for the fourth or third highest-grossing movie in the entire franchise is still a good send-off.

Timothée Chalamet and Lyna Khoudri in “The French Dispatch.” Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

This weekend also saw a number of new releases; “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” an animated children’s movie, grossed $7.3 million domestically, and another $10 million internationally. Wes Anderson’s latest film, “The French Dispatch,” had a limited release of only 52 theatres (which is pretty high for Anderson), but grossed $1.3 million. That is an average of $25,000 a theatre, and is the second-highest debut for Anderson, only behind “Isle of Dogs” (which made $1.6 million in 27 theatres in 2018). With a wide release coming this upcoming weekend, “The French Dispatch” could have a great start to a successful run. Anderson’s last live-action film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” totaled $172 million worldwide during its run, and it would be unlikely for “The French Dispatch” to top that. However, the cast is loaded with veteran Anderson collaborators and young household names, so it will gather a large audience. “Becoming Cousteau,” a documentary chronicling Jacques Cousteau, was the final new release this weekend. It grossed $110,959 in 319 theatres.

Matt Smith stars as Jack and Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie in Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho,” a Focus Features release. Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

Just in time for Halloween, “Antlers” and “Last Night in Soho” are set to release next weekend. The marketing for “Antlers” advertises director Guillermo del Toro, who serves as a producer, and features the likes of Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons, who has been booked and busy the last couple of years. “Last Night in Soho” features Edgar Wright as the director and stars Anya Taylor-Joy and rising star Thomasin McKenzie (“Jojo Rabbit,” “Old,” “Leave No Trace”). As mentioned, “The French Dispatch” will also get its wide release beginning October 29, so a mixture of spectacle (“Dune,” “No Time To Die,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”) and smaller films (“Antlers,” “Last Night in Soho,” “The French Dispatch”) will make for a fascinating and one of the most exciting weekends that we have had since the pandemic began.

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