AceShowbiz - "Dune" has made Warner Bros. executives' weekend much brighter. After almost a year delay, the movie was finally released in North America on October 22 and audiences appeared to agree that the film was worth the long wait.
The Denis Villeneuve-directed film opens strong on box office with an estimated $40.1 million in ticket sales. It marks the best domestic opening for any of the films that simultaneously aired on HBO Max, topping previous champ "Godzilla vs. Kong" that garnered $31.7 million on its first three days back in March.
Commenting on the movie's first weekend performance domestically, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein said on Sunday morning, October 24, "I'm smiling." He added, "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."
Goldstein also expressed his optimism on the future of movie industry post-pandemic. "This was a tremendous result as we're ramping out of the pandemic," he said. "Once we get out of the pandemic, if we have a movie like this, clearly you'd want to go into theaters first. There's no question of that."
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, weighed in, "What I think Warner's strategy has proven is that movie fans, by and large, will choose the movie theater experience when given the choice - particularly for movies like this."
Echoing Goldstein's sentiment about the business, Dergarabedian added, "This should be a very encouraging sign for theater owners. The allure of the movie theater remains whether a piece of content is available at home or not."
"Dune" received majorly positive reviews from critics, with an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers gave the film an A-minus on CinemaScore.
With the strong box office debut and the public's reception, it remains a question whether a sequel will be greenlit. WarnerMedia Chair Ann Sarnoff previously told Variety that the box office result won't the only key factor in determining the sequel. "The story in itself sets up for a sequel. The production is so amazing and the storytelling is so compelling that it's not going to be judged on box office alone," she explained.
Back to this week's box office, last week's champ "Halloween Kills" is pushed to No. 2 with approximately $14.5 million, dropping significantly 70.7% from last week. "No Time to Die" loses another spot as it now sits at No. 3 with an estimated $11.9 million.
"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" also drops one place to No. 4 with an estimated $9.1 million. Rounding out the top five is newcomer "Ron's Gone Wrong", an animated tale which envisions a world where personal robots are all the rage, with approximately $7.3 million.
Top 10 of North America Box Office (Oct. 22-24, 2021):