Warner’s ‘Dune’ Opens to $40.1 Million North American Box Office

Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ sci-fi reboot Dune generated an estimated $40 million in opening weekend ticket sales across more than 4,100 screens — matching industry and studio projections. Director Denis Villeneuve’s big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s same-named 1965 sci-fi novel generated another $20 million in China to push its global box office earnings past $200 million. More than 22% of Dune moviegoers reportedly frequented Imax screens.

The results aren’t surprising, considering Dune generated more than $5 million in “sneak peak” Oct. 21 screenings, and had generated $130 million internationally ahead of launches in the United States and China.

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The results represent a win for WarnerMedia, which is also streaming Dune free to HBO Max subscribers. The box office take tops Warner’s previous opening weekend box office leader Godzilla vs. Kong, which opened to $31.7 million in ticket sales.

WarnerMedia created controversy late last year when it announced its intent to simultaneously stream its entire 2021 theatrical release slate on HBO Max in the hopes of jumpstarting subscriptions and circumventing theaters handicapped by the pandemic.

After a strong start with Wonder Woman 1984 and Godzilla vs. Kong, subsequent releases seemed to underperform due in large part to their availability on HBO Max. As a result, in 2022 all major Warner releases will have a shortened 45-day exclusive theatrical window, while smaller releases will stream concurrently (and exclusively) on Max.

“I’m smiling,” Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said in a media statement. “Exhibitors are thrilled. The best part is, fans are loving what they’re seeing. They’re loving the big-screen experience. It’s been a winner of a weekend for movie-lovers.”

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