Box Office Breakdown: ‘Dune’ battles its invaders

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After leading last weekend with an impressive $40 million gross, Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” dropped 62%, earning $15.3 million over the holiday weekend. This makes the film’s domestic revenue just south of $70 million. As I mentioned in last week’s column, with a $165 million budget, it is virtually impossible for Dune to be profitable from its box office grosses. With a 62% drop this weekend, those odds fall even further. 

That being said, as I also mentioned last week, Warner Bros. never expected “Dune” to profit in this pandemic-affected environment. The dual-release strategy to theaters and HBO Max significantly tempered the box-office for this picture, as viewers flocked to watch the film on streaming last weekend. As an awards contender, Warner Bros. isn’t necessarily looking for profit, but “Dune” being a multi-Oscar-winner could provide needed prestige for the studio. Plus, the film has grossed over $200 million internationally, which is quite an impressive feat. Thus, this low gross isn’t the end for “Dune” or for Warner Bros. In fact, this is actually the beginning of a new franchise, as Variety reported last week that the sequel will come in the fall of 2023. 

In second place this weekend is the horror sequel, “Halloween Kills.” The Jamie Lee Curtis helmed film grossed another $8.5 million this weekend, moving to $85 million domestically. This keeps the film on pace with the projected $105 million domestic total, which I predicted would net the film around $30 million in pure profit — if the film’s international totals remain steady. A profit of that margin is truly incredible in our still limited box-office environment, proving that it is still possible to finish in the green. For future box-office breakdowns, “Halloween Kills” teaches us that the pandemic cannot be the sole reason why a movie doesn’t profit anymore. 

Coming in third place is “No Time to Die,” which earned $7.8 million in its 4th weekend of release. This puts its domestic total just above $133 million. With an incredible 36% drop this weekend, the film extends its box office death to another day. With the late legs “No Time to Die” seems to have, I expect this film to finish around $150 million domestically. 

In fourth and fifth place, respectively, is the animated film, “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission,” and the anti-hero film, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” I will be honest, I was not aware that “My Hero Academia” was releasing wide this weekend domestically. With $6.4 million in gross, it is quite impressive that “My Hero” not only placed in the top five, but also outgrossed new releases “Last Night in Soho” and “Antlers.” This Halloween weekend, “Venom” added another $5.8 million to its domestic total, pushing it to $190 million domestically. This propelled it past “Black Widow” to be the second-highest grossing domestic film of 2021, though a new release this weekend will look to snatch that title. 

Next weekend marks the wide-release of one of the most anticipated films of 2021: Marvel Studios’ “Eternals.” Movies produced by Marvel now own the top three highest-grossing films domestically this year, and that number will likely grow to four once this film releases. With a stellar cast, an Academy-award winning director and sky high pre-sales, “Eternals” has a chance to have the largest opening weekend of 2021. Unfortunately, reviews have not been great for this superhero movie, but the consistency of the Marvel Cinematic Universe output will most definitely draw a large crowd nonetheless. I predict a gross between $95-105 million this weekend, with the potential to possibly exceed that.  

The only other major wide release of the weekend is the Kristen Stewart-led Princess Diana biopic, “Spencer.” The film is an Oscar hopeful, though will likely be a more gradual rollout domestically. Since it is a more limited release, I predict the film will gross around $5 million. 

Next weekend will be quite an interesting one for the charts, with the coming of a possible new box office king and the beginning for a princess. Whether or not they will become box office royalty remains a mystery. 

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