Forex Box Office: “Dune” Nabs $41M Debut To Top $223M Global Money

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (part one) opened with $41 million in its domestic debut, nabbing Warner Bros.’ biggest Fri-Sun opening weekend since Joker ($96 million) in October 2019.


It also earned WB’s biggest pandemic-era release period, besting the $31 million Fri-Sun (of a $50 million Wed-Mon Easter frame) debut of Godzilla Vs Kong earlier this year. Among concurrent day-and-date streaming releases, it is behind only last weekend’s Halloween Kills ($49 million while on Peacock) and last July’s Black Widow ($80 million, but Disney+ subscribers had to pay an extra $30 to lease it).

I don’t know the HBO Max viewership, to the extent we will beyond Samba TV giving us an estimate tomorrow, but thus far I’d argue a $41 million debut for Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya’s Dune is a successful disappointment. Yes, that’s good… for now.

For those who haven’t been following along, a “successful disappointment” is when a movie opens to about how it would have had it underwhelmed in non-Covid times. Think Tom & Jerry opening with $14 million in February 2021.


$41 million is just 28% more than Blade Runner 2049’s $32 million Fri-Sun debut in October 2017, despite a 40% higher Friday ($17.5 million versus $12.5 million). Under normal circumstances, a 2.29x weekend multiplier would be a perilous sign of poor post-debut legs, a figure about equal to Watchmen (which grossed just $108 million from a $55 million weekend and a $24.5 million Friday in 2009).

Even if HBO Max is a culprit (as the “got to see it in theaters” folks showed up on Friday and Saturday), that’s still not encouraging for the film’s domestic future.


Legs are an open question, due to HBO Max and that it’s a less crowd-pleasing action fantasy compared to The Force Awakens or The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s only going to keep most of those IMAX (where it earned 22% of its opening weekend gross), Dolby, and PLF theaters for two weeks.

Legs like Godzilla ($200 million from a $93 million debut) or The Suicide Squad ($55 million/$26 million) would leave it with $86 million domestic (ironically tied with Alita: Battle Angel).


Legs like Pacific Rim ($103 million/$37 million) or Kong: Skull Island ($168 million/$60 million) would give it $114 million (on par with Godzilla: King of the Monsters).

However, audiences did stick around for Quentin Tarantino’s long, action-lite Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ($142.5 million from a $41 million debut) in summer 2019.