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Box Office: ‘Dune’ Pulls in $40 Million for Biggest Weekend for a Movie Also Streaming on HBO Max

Warner Bros. has a reason to smile this weekend, as the studio’s year-long strategy of releasing new films simultaneously in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service finally paid off. Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve and based on the epic science-fiction novel by Frank Herbert, registered WB’s biggest opening at the box office this year, raking in $40.1 million in its first three days.

That’s around $10 million more than what Godzilla vs. Kong made in its opening weekend back in April. In the weeks after the monster movie’s hugely successful run, other WB titles such as The Suicide Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and In the Heights — just to name three — have tanked at the box office, with many pointing fingers at the studio’s controversial day-and-date release strategy as the reason behind their subpar performance.

But despite Villeneuve’s vocal protests against his sprawling film potentially being watched on smartphones, the HBO Max audience doesn’t seem to have impacted the film’s box office performance to a worrying degree. In a recent interview with Variety, WB chair Ann Sarnoff said that they’d also be looking at streaming numbers as they deliberate the $165-million-question that is on every fan’s mind: Will Dune get the sequel that Villeneuve wants? An additional $87 million internationally this weekend took the film’s worldwide total to over $220 million, much to the delight of Warner Bros.

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Image via Universal

RELATED: The Best Part of ‘Dune’ Is Any Time Someone Says “Desert Power”

Despite a performance that is inarguably inferior to its immediate predecessor’s, director David Gordon Green’s horror sequel Halloween Kills claimed the number two spot this weekend, bringing in another $14 million for a running domestic total of $73 million. Green’s original Halloween finished with over $250 million worldwide, and earned far superior reviews. But Universal understands that the return-on-investment is high on these movies, and a third installment has already been set for an October 2022 release.

Daniel Craig’s fifth and final James Bond film, No Time to Die, finished the weekend at the number three spot, with $11.8 million, taking its domestic total to a ho-hum $120 million. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the film opened with $55 million in its first weekend — the fourth-lowest of the Craig Bonds — suggesting that perhaps its older-skewing target demographic still isn’t comfortable heading to theatres.

But director Andy SerkisVenom 2 successfully attracted its much younger core demographic when it opened to a record-setting $90 million. The film made another $9.1 million in its fourth weekend, taking its domestic total to $181 million. It still has a lot of catching up to do internationally, where it currently sits at around $350 million, roughly half-a-billion short of the first Venom film’s final worldwide haul in 2018.

The top five was rounded out by the animated film Ron’s Gone Wrong, a theater-exclusive title that Disney inherited in its takeover of 20th Century Fox. Featuring the voices of Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Ed Helms, the film finished its debut weekend with $7.3 million, but received a promising “A” CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Next week could present a face-off for the top spot between two acclaimed filmmakers. While Villeneuve and WB would no doubt want a repeat of this weekend, director Edgar Wright could pose a challenge with his psychological thriller Last Night in Soho.

KEEP READING: ‘Dune’ Ending Explained: Meeting Paul Atreides Halfway

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