WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Dune Unearths $40.1M; Ron’s Gone Wrong Goes Wrong w/ $7.3M

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

Warner Bros. earned their biggest opening weekend since pre-pandemic with Dune, the ambitious sci-fi epic debuting with an estimated $40.1M.

Despite releasing simultaneously day-and-date on HBO Max, the title from director Denis Villeneuve exceeded the theatrical openings for his two most recent sci-fi films, coming +66.5 percent ahead of Arrival ($24.0M) and +22.4 percent ahead of Blade Runner 2049 ($32.7M).

Dune finished in line with expectations, with Boxoffice PRO‘s chief analyst Shawn Robbins projecting exactly $40M in his weekend forecast.

Playing on 4,125 locations, the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel earned a per-theater average of $9,725, with IMAX comprising an impressive 22.5 percent market share. (73 minutes of the film were shot using IMAX cameras.)

Animated comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong, from Disney’s 20th Century Studios, sputtered with a $7.3M opening — although that was about in line with Boxoffice PRO‘s $6.4M projection.

While the comparison is inexact because Wrong was an original film instead of a sequel, this month’s other main animated title The Addams Family 2 opened to $17.3M in early October. That’s more than double Wrong‘s opening despite the title’s theatrical exclusivity, versus a simultaneous streaming debut for Addams.

An estimated 41 percent of Wrong‘s audience was age 12 or under, the only age group not yet approved for COVID-19 vaccination, making it a challenge to get them to the cinema in sufficient numbers.

With a minimum of 45 days theatrical exclusivity guaranteed by Disney, the film could still gain ground through positive word of mouth. It earned an “A” CinemaScore, a 96 percent audience audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 81 percent critic score on the same website.

Searchlight Pictures’ The French Dispatch dispatched an estimated $1.3M on only 52 theaters, with its $25.0K average marking a new high for the post-pandemic era, exceeding the opening averages for Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($21.3K) and Black Widow ($18.7K).

Major tentpole releases have proven their ability to get audiences back to the cinema over the past five months, with eight films crossing the $100M domestic mark in that time. However, the arthouse and specialty audience have struggled in recent months, particularly because the audiences for such titles generally skew older, a demographic which has proven more reticent to go to the cinema in light of COVID-19 and the delta variant.

The French Dispatch is a jolt of electricity for the specialty box office, delivering record-breaking results in theaters across the country,” Searchlight Pictures’ SVP-General Sales Manager Frank Rodriguez said in a press release. “These figures show that after a year and a half, arthouse and independent theaters have a superhero of their own in Wes Anderson. What has been doubly encouraging is the crossover results in mainstream theaters hungry for Wes’ 10th film as well. We are thrilled that after several delays, moviegoers said it was worth the wait.”

Compared to the limited starts for the two other most recent titles directed by Anderson, 2018’s Isle of Dogs started with $1.6M on 27 theaters ($60.0K average), while 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel earned $3.6M on 66 theaters ($55.1K average).

French, costarring Timothée Chalamet who also plays the lead in this weekend’s box office leader Dune, will expand wide next weekend to 600+ theaters.

Halloween Kills

Universal’s horror sequel Halloween Kills led last weekend’s box office, but didn’t “kill” in its second frame with a -70.6 percent sophomore frame drop to an estimated $14.5M.

That’s notably steeper than the comparable drops for 2018’s prior installment Halloween (-58.7 percent) and 2007’s film also called Halloween (another installment in the decades-long franchise) with -63.9 percent.

Kill‘s steep drop is due in no small part to its simultaneous day-and-date debut on Peacock, as such releases have often experienced larger-than-expected theatrical drops during the pandemic.

Kills has earned $73.1M to date, running -42.0 percent behind 2018’s Halloween through the same point ($126.0M).

No Time to Die

The United Artists Releasing / MGM action-adventure sequel No Time to Die declined -50.0 percent to an estimated $11.8M in its third weekend. 

In its prior frame, the James Bond film’s -56.9 percent sophomore weekend drop marked the second-steepest of the five installments starring Daniel Craig: steeper than 2006’s Casino Royale (-24.6 percent), 2012’s Skyfall (-53.4 percent), or 2015’s Spectre (-52.1 percent), though not quite as steep at 2008’s Quantum of Solace (-60.4 percent). 

Among third-weekend drops, the tentative estimate is right in the middle of the pack, falling more than Skyfall (-13.6 percent) and Quantum (-29.4 percent), but not as much as Casino Royale (-50.9 percent, though it’s possible Time could exceed that drop when Monday afternoon actuals are released) or Spectre (-55.3 percent).

Time has now earned $120.0M to date domestically. Through the same point in their releases, that’s running -22.1 percent behind Spectre ($154.1M), -45.7 percent behind Skyfall ($221.1M), -15.1 percent behind Quantum ($141.4M), and +3.5 percent ahead of Casino ($115.8M, although ticket prices were also notably lower a decade and a half ago).

But Time‘s real headline this weekend came globally, as the film surpassed the $500M mark. Released in some overseas markets by MGM and in others by Universal, the film has now earned $405.6M overseas and $525.3M globally — and that’s with China set to debut next weekend.

It marks only the second Hollywood release to exceed $500M global since the pandemic, behind only F9 with $716.5M to date. Among all films, Time currently ranks fifth for the year globally, behind Chinese titles Hi, Mom ($822.0M) and The Battle at Lake Changjin ($769.0M), the aforementioned F9, and Chinese title Detective Chinatown 3 ($686.2M).

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Sony Pictures’ sci-fi sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage dropped by -44.8 percent to an estimated $9.1M in its fourth weekend.

Compared to 2018’s original Venom, the sequel declined more sharply in its second weekend (-64.7 percent versus -56.3 percent), then both posted almost identical third-weekend drops but the sequel held just the slightest bit better (-48.0 percent versus -48.4 percent). For their fourth frames, the original held a bit better with -40.9 percent.

Carnage has now earned $181.3M, or -3.1 percent behind its predecessor’s $187.1M through the same point.

Total box office

The cumulative box office this weekend came in at an estimated $93.5M. 

That’s -14.1 percent behind last weekend (when Halloween Kills led with $49.4M), 8.4x the same weekend in 2020 as films were just starting to come back to cinemas (when Honest Thief led for a second frame with $2.3M), and -13.0 percent behind the same weekend in 2019 (when Maleficent: Mistress of Evil led for a second frame with $19.3M).

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: October 22-24, 2021

Title Estimated weekend % change Locations Location change Average Total Weekend Distributor
Dune $40,100,000   4,125   $9,721 $40,100,000 1 Warner Bros.
Halloween Kills $14,500,000 -71% 3,727 22 $3,891 $73,104,845 2 Universal
No Time to Die $11,886,514 -50% 3,807 -600 $3,122 $120,041,599 3 United Artists (MGM)
Venom: Let There be Carnage $9,100,000 -45% 3,513 -500 $2,590 $181,829,631 4 Sony Pictures
Ron’s Gone Wrong $7,300,000   3,560   $2,051 $7,300,000 1 20th Century Studios (Disney)
The Addams Family 2 $4,339,247 -39% 2,907 -700 $1,493 $48,318,224 4 United Artists
The Last Duel $2,100,000 -56% 3,065 n/c $685 $8,567,968 2 20th Century Studios (Disney)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings $2,000,000 -40% 1,600 -700 $1,250 $220,973,832 8 Walt Disney
The French Dispatch $1,300,000   52   $25,000 $1,300,000 1 Searchlight Pictures
Free Guy $258,000 -60% 380 -535 $679 $121,254,001 11 20th Century Studios (Disney)
Lamb $156,905 -71% 435 -430 $361 $2,519,928 3 A24
Candyman $150,000 -66% 786 -226 $191 $61,027,225 9 Universal
Dear Evan Hansen $119,000 -69% 489 -485 $243 $14,834,695 5 Universal
Becoming Cousteau $110,959   319   $348 $110,959 1 National Geographic Entertainment
Jungle Cruise $55,000 -50% 145 -90 $379 $116,843,899 13 Walt Disney
Mass $23,272 -17% 59 22 $394 $89,516 3 Bleecker Street
I’m Your Man $7,200 -74% 36 -67 $200 $253,916 5 Bleecker Street
The Eyes of Tammy Faye $5,000 -78% 25 -30 $200 $2,383,991 6 Searchlight Pictures
Photo Credits: Warner Bros. & Greig Fraser ("Dune")