Box Office: ‘Dune' Delivers $5.1M in Thursday Evening Previews

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Box Office: ‘Dune’ Delivers $5.1M in Thursday Evening Previews
‘Dune’

Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated sci-fi epic Dune delivered $5.1 million in Thursday evening previews from thousands of theaters across North America. Of that total, Imax theaters amounted to 30 percent of the movie’s early business.

The Legendary and Warner Bros. tentpole is launching simultaneously on HBO Max in the U.S. Dune was a high-profile player on the fall film festival circuit, and has been warmly embraced by critics (it sits at 83 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).

Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi classic features an all-star cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Zendaya.

Dune will easily win the weekend box office race, but judging its theatrical performance will be complicated by the fact that it is also available in the home. (WarnerMedia’s pandemic-era hybrid release strategy with HBO Max will cease at the end of the year.)

Tracking suggests Dune will open in the mid-$30 million range; Warners is being more cautious in suggesting $30 million. The film started out playing Thursday evening in roughly 3,200 theaters, including numerous Imax locations; by Friday, the count will grow to 4,100-plus.

There are other challenges aside from the HBO Max factor. Younger moviegoers are so far driving the box office recovery, yet they aren’t the demo who grew up on the Dune books. And Dune‘s lengthy running time of 155 minutes will reduce the number of showtimes in cinemas. (No Time to Die is longer, or 163 minutes.)

Overseas, Dune began rolling out earlier this month, earning an impressive $130 million-plus to date from select markets (it has yet to open in China).

Legendary produced Dune, which cost roughly $165 million to make before marketing. The company also financed most of the film, with Warner Bros. and its partners putting up the rest.

Disney and 20th Century’s animated family film Ron’s Gone Wrong turned in $240,000 in Thursday previews. The movie is opening nationwide and hopes to clear $10 million in its debut.

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