Dune ticket pre-sales are topping all box office blockbusters of 2021, including franchise hits like Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and No Time To Die. The film is finally landing in U.S. theaters this weekend, along with 40 other markets including China. It’s projected for a global weekend of over $70 million with $30-$35 million coming from the U.S. and $40 million coming from China. However, a new report from Deadline suggests that movie theaters are expecting more based on pre-sale tickets.
According to Deadline, the presale tickets for Dune are “squashing everything that’s come before it, i.e. No Time to Die, Shang-Chi, F9, Black Widow.” Dune has been a highly anticipated film for many, especially after being delayed a year due to the pandemic. Based on Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 sci-fi novel, this adaptation is directed by Denis Villeneuve, one of the biggest directors in Hollywood who helmed other modern sci-fi classics like Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Dune also boasts an incredible ensemble of popular stars including Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, and Javier Bardem.
Dune debuted at the Venice Film Festival before opening up in several markets worldwide and has so far amassed a total of $129.3 million at the box office. This and the pre-sale tickets are incredibly promising for Warner Bros, especially since Dune is also opening this weekend on HBO Max as a part of Warner Bros. pandemic distribution plan. Unfortunately, this strategy hasn’t worked great for Warner Bros. so far as films like The Suicide Squad and In The Heights, which both received excellent reviews, saw their box offices suffer, partly because people could just watch them at home. In fact, Godzilla Vs. Kong is the only day-and-date release film that garnered over $100 million at the U.S. box office.
However, fantastic early reactions from critics and audiences may have people wanting to go see Dune in theaters. Many critics have also said that Dune is a film that must be experienced in theaters. Also, Dune is considered to be the first part of the adaptation, meaning that it needs to do well for Warner Bros. to greenlight a sequel. This may give people the incentive to pay the extra $15 to watch Dune in a theater. It will be interesting to see if the film has legs as Black Widow, which had a hybrid release on Disney+, started strong but suffered in later weeks. Maybe Dune can be the first HBO Max film to really succeed at the box office.