Warner Bros./Legendary’s “Dune” has shown the floor for the box office has risen this month, earning a $ 40 million opening weekend from 4,125 locations as it surpasses projections for a $ 30 national start. -35 millions.

It’s a positive sign for both Warner Bros. and the box office, as both have struggled during this rebuilding period to post opening weekends above $ 30 million. For Warner, this beats the $ 31.7 million release of “Godzilla vs. Kong ”as the studio’s best opening weekend this year, as all of its films open day and date on HBO Max, as well as the best opening weekend for director Denis Villeneuve. IMAX contributed 22.5%, or $ 9 million, of the film’s national total, the best national opening post-closing and all-time totals in October for the premium format.

For the overall box office, which prior to October relied on the biggest blockbusters to increase the numbers while watching many weekends with No. 1 totals below $ 30 million, it has now seen four consecutive weekends with No. openings. 1 above that mark. By consistently performing at a higher level this month, the box office is fulfilling the hopes of distributors and theater owners alike that the fourth quarter is the point where the industry is taking a turn.

Of course, with a production budget of $ 165 million before an extensive marketing budget, “Dune” looks like it will be minimally profitable at best during its theatrical performance. Legendary released the film in China this weekend and posted a modest $ 21.6 million premiere as a new COVID-19 outbreak threatens to slow the recent box office resurgence in the country. Combined with an extensive overseas release before this weekend, “Dune” has surpassed $ 200 million worldwide, but will likely need to exceed $ 300 million to break even.

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Reception for the film has been strong with an A- in CinemaScore along with 83% critics and 91% viewership on Rotten Tomatoes. But even without the pandemic factor, “Dune” was going to be a tough sell for mainstream moviegoers due to unfamiliarity with the novel it’s based on and its complex themes and terminology. The arrival of “Eternals” on November 5 could also put a pin in Warner’s hopes of attracting casual interest from viewers.

Still, Warner Bros. executives say they are very happy with “Dune” and will not only watch the box office, but his long-term performance on HBO Max and other post-theatrical channels, as Villeneuve and his team compete. in multiple Oscars categories. We’ll have more on WrapPRO on the future of “Dune” as a franchise and how the box office is becoming less of a factor when studios try to launch new franchises in this streaming age.

More to come …


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