Box Office Breakdown: ‘Dune’ spices up the charts 

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After “Halloween Kills” chopped up the box office last week, Denis Villeneuve’s new sci-fi picture “Dune” spiced up the silver screen. It placed first, grossing $40.1 million in its opening weekend and lining with my prediction last week. Still, this can seem like a disappointing total based on the $165 million budget of the film. “Dune” probably needs to gross over $500 million worldwide to be near profitability. With a $40 million opening domestically, that total seems quite unlikely, unless the film has incredible legs. 

That being said, we must take the box office revenue of “Dune” with a grain of salt in determining its success. As a dual-release in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service, Warner Bros. is also keeping a close eye on its streaming numbers when considering giving a sequel the green-light. “Dune” is not necessarily your typical big-budget picture, as it’s more of a drama than an action flick. The film most definitely will be up for award considerations this year, which will bring some prestige to Warner as a studio. Thus although the it’s an important factor, the hopes for a sequel are not necessarily all tied up in the box office. 

In second place is last week’s No. 1, the slasher film “Halloween Kills.” It grossed right around $14.5 million, a 70.7% drop from last weekend’s total. This was expected for a film of its genre, as horror films generally experience large second week drops. Still, 70% is quite steep, certainly tempering my expectations for the film’s total. Nonetheless, with a $20 million budget and the film rolling out internationally, “Halloween Kills’” large opening weekend will provide it more than enough momentum to profit. For a deeper breakdown into this film’s financial prospects, please see last week’s column

Coming in third place with a gross just north of $11.8 million is the final Daniel Craig Bond film, “No Time to Die.” This adds to its domestic total, which has now reached $120 million here in North America. Bond truly is an internationally driven box-office franchise, and “No Time to Die” is no exception to that, with over $400 million of its $525 million worldwide total. The good news for the film is that it is the 5th highest grossing film of the year worldwide. The bad news is that with a $250 million budget, the film’s chances at profit are essentially naught. Still, profit is tough to come by for big-budget pictures in this time, and a $500 million worldwide gross is certainly an accomplishment, especially when it comes along with critical acclaim. 

In fourth and fifth place this fall weekend are “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” and the animated film “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” with $9.1 million and $7.3 million grosses, respectively. This moves “Venom” just barely shy of “Black Widow” on the 2021 domestic box office charts, at $181 million, compared to the Marvel Studios’ film’s $183 million. The “Ron’s Gone Wrong” opening was in line with my expectations, but certainly below what the studio likely hoped for. The film has not reported its budget, but animated films tend to run on the expensive side. It is unlikely that “Ron’s Gone Wrong” will make its way out of the red. 

Next week marks the release of two new pictures: Edgar Wright’s horror film “Last Night in Soho” and Scott Cooper’s horror film “Antlers.” Wright’s is the film more destined for box office success, due to its wider marketing and distribution strategy. I expect a gross of around $10 million for “Soho” and around $7 million for “Antlers.” 

“Dune” likely will remain on top of the charts next weekend. However its prospects for a sequel remain an unknown, just like the box office next week. 

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