Los Angeles, November 28 - A big box office win for Warner Bros. as Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi film "Dune" touched the $100 million domestic mark. It also becomes the studio's second day-and-date release in theaters and on HBO Max to reach the milestone during the covid-19 pandemic.
Released on October 21, "Dune" took 35 days to reach $100 million domestically. It is part of Warner Bros.' controversial theatrical-day-and-date HBO Max 2021 strategy. Earlier, Warner/Legendary's "Godzilla vs. Kong", had reached the milestone, it, however, took 12 weekends to reach there. "Godzilla vs. Kong" was also the first Hollywood film to reach $100 million in North America during the pandemic.
Dune was on HBO Max during its first 31 days in theaters. It's now exclusively theatrical, currently playing in 1,312 theaters with a Thanksgiving weekend outlook of $2.26M over three days and $3.2M since Wednesday which will bring its U.S./Canada box office total to $102.4M by Sunday. It will also surpass "Godzilla vs. Kong" total domestic gross of $100.5 million to become Warner's biggest hit of 2021.
Internationally, where it is playing exclusively in theaters, "Dune" has grossed $270 million so far, taking its total worldwide haul to $370 million. It may not cross "Godzilla vs. Kong's" total worldwide gross of $467.8 million, but a $400 million globally will be a massive result for the studio.
Happy with the box office outcome and HBO Max streaming, Warner Bros.' has already green-lit a sequel to this epic sci-fi, based on the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert. Over the last few decades, Dune has been regarded by most critics and fans of the novel as impossible to realize on film. But, a lot of people who had never read the book, but were curious, went out and took a chance on the sci-fi epic.
Meanwhile, Denis Villeneuve always wanted "Dune's" exclusive theatrical release. He even criticized Warner Bros.' decision to send the film on HBO Max. In a Variety
column on Dec. 10 last year, Villeneuve wrote, "With this decision, AT&T has hijacked one of the most respectable and important studios in film history. There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here".
"It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion", and that "streaming alone can't sustain the film industry as we knew it before COVID. Streaming can produce great content, but not movies of Dune’s scope and scale. Warner Bros.' decision means Dune won't have the chance to perform financially in order to be viable and piracy will ultimately triumph. Warner Bros. might just have killed the Dune franchise. This one is for the fans. AT&T's John Stankey said that the streaming horse left the barn. In truth, the horse left the barn for the slaughterhouse", the filmmaker added.