Long Range Box Office Forecast: Dune‘s Early Tracking, No Time to Die and Halloween Kills Updates

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. & Greig Fraser ("Dune")

That same weekend will also see the release of Disney and 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong in a 45-day theatrical window, as well as Searchlight Pictures and filmmaker Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch in what is expected to be limited release.

Our preview of October’s packed slate continues this week with a preliminary forecast and analysis on Denis Villeneuve’s long anticipated adaptation of Dune, slated for a hybrid release on October 22.

Current and updated forecasts for these and other upcoming films can be found in the table below.

Dune
Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary

PROS:

  • The original science fiction novel from author Frank Herbert, a Hugo Award winner in 1966, has long been a popular staple among genre fans. The story’s world-building and depth are often said to be inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) while playing an influential role in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones).
  • A reimagining of this franchise has long been in demand by die-hard fans after multiple attempts to bring it to life with varying results, including a 1984 film from David Lynch and and several television miniseries. With more than 56 million trailer views on the studio’s official YouTube page, Villeneuve’s Dune has ignited fervent fan interest after the project took years to get off the ground.

    Early tracking markers are comparable to those of Godzilla vs. Kong, War for the Planet of the Apes, and Blade Runner 2049.
  • A strong ensemble cast led by Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and more could spur interest among casual audiences unfamiliar with the source material or prior 1984 film.
  • Denis Villeneuve’s creative involvement in this iteration has generated strong interest thanks to his widely acclaimed work on films such as Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Prisoners, Sicario, and Incendies.
  • With 74 reviews counted as of September 30, early critics’ reactions are very positive with a 91 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and seem to validate the studio’s intention of releasing the film close to awards season.
  • The film’s early international opening (where it is exclusive to theaters) has gone well under the circumstances of the pandemic. Dune has earned nearly $78 million in a staggered overseas release (designed to get a head start on films like No Time to Die) through two weekends with Russia, France, and Germany leading the way. The former two markets each saw Dune post solid 37 percent declines in second weekend sales.

    In like-for-like markets, the film is pacing ahead of Tenet, Blade Runner 2049, and Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • With a strong IMAX footprint planned for the domestic rollout, Dune is tracking to be another healthy performer in the premium large format space.

CONS:

  • This is another experimental hybrid release from Warner Bros. in North America. The film will be available to HBO Max streaming subscribers for free on the same day as its theatrical release. This strategy has largely resulted in underwhelming box office results for a string of Warner Bros. films in recent months, although Godzilla vs. Kong — a similarly large-scale cinematic picture — posted respectable earnings at the time of its release this past spring.

    Still, it’s possible that many outside the fan base will opt to watch this film for free at home. In addition to tracking comparisons mentioned above, Dune is trending slightly above The Suicide Squad at this time.
  • Lynch’s 1984 film is something of a cult classic, but it’s also renowned for its box office misfire. Costing a reported $40 million to produce at the time, that Dune earned just $31 million at the domestic box office and proved to be far more niche than hoped. Of note, the original Blade Runner earned $27.6 million two years earlier.
  • This won’t be Villeneuve’s first venture reimagining a 1980s era sci-fi pic, having last helmed Blade Runner 2049. Back in September 2017, that film missed lofty box office expectations despite the return of Harrison Ford and addition of Ryan Gosling as it went on to earn $92.1 million in North America and over $259 million globally on a $150 million production budget.
  • With the book and prior movie themselves being quite niche and having a focused appeal to men over the age of 35, it will be important for this film to expand the audience and include more of the uninitiated via word of mouth. Young male audiences have been crucial to the box office recovery thus far, but this film’s core audience could wind up heavily skewed on the other end of the spectrum.

    For reference, Blade Runner 2049 was lop-sided itself with opening weekend comprised of 71 percent males, 86 percent over the age of 25, and 63 percent over 35.
  • Dune is opening in a very crowded October market that will see Venom: Let There Be Carnage (October 1), No Time to Die (October 8), and Halloween Kills (October 15) precede its domestic release — only to be followed by a major Marvel Studio films, Eternals, two weeks later on November 5. This is an unprecedented level of direct competition in a short window during the pandemic.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2021 Calendar
(as of 10/1/21)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
10/8/2021 No Time to Die $70,000,000 – $95,000,000 +11% $175,000,000 – $275,000,000 +7% 4,000+ MGM / United Artists Releasing
10/15/2021 Halloween Kills $40,000,000 – $55,000,000 +7% $80,000,000 – $110,000,000 +6% 3,950 Universal Pictures
10/15/2021 The Last Duel $5,000,000 – $12,000,000 -15% $15,000,000 – $45,000,000 -15% 3,000 Disney / 20th Century Studios
10/22/2021 Dune $35,000,000 – $45,000,000   $85,000,000 – $130,000,000     Warner Bros. Pictures
10/22/2021 The French Dispatch not currently tracked   not currently tracked     Disney / Searchlight Pictures
10/22/2021 Ron’s Gone Wrong $7,000,000 – $14,000,000   $40,000,000 – $68,000,000     Disney / 20th Century Studios
10/29/2021 Antlers           Disney / Searchlight Pictures
10/29/2021 Last Night in Soho           Focus Features
10/29/2021 My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission           Funimation / Toho Co. Ltd.
11/5/2021 Eternals           Disney / Marvel Studios
11/5/2021 Spencer           NEON / Topic Studios
11/10/2021 Clifford the Big Red Dog           Paramount Pictures
11/12/2021 Belfast           Focus Features
11/19/2021 C’mon C’mon           A24
11/19/2021 King Richard           Warner Bros. Pictures
11/19/2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife           Sony Pictures / Columbia
11/24/2021 Encanto           Walt Disney Pictures
11/24/2021 House of Gucci           MGM / United Artists Releasing
11/24/2021 National Champions           STXfilms
11/24/2021 Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City           Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/3/2021 Red Rocket           A24
12/3/2021 Wolf           Focus Features
12/10/2021 Cyrano           United Artists Releasing
12/10/2021 Don’t Look Up           Netflix
12/10/2021 Violence of Action           STXfilms
12/10/2021 West Side Story (2020)           Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/17/2021 Nightmare Alley           Disney / Searchlight Pictures
12/17/2021 Spider-Man: No Way Home           Sony / Columbia / Marvel Studios
12/22/2021 A Journal for Jordan (Wide Expansion)           Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/22/2021 The King’s Man           Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/22/2021 The Matrix Resurrections           Warner Bros. Pictures
12/22/2021 Sing 2           Universal Pictures
12/25/2021 American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story           Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company
12/31/2021 (no releases scheduled)            

Pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections are available exclusively to Boxoffice PRO clients. For more information on forecasts, pricing, and availability, please contact us.

As always, the news cycle is constantly evolving as the pandemic dictates. Projections are subject to change amid breaking announcements.