Box Office, Movies

Dune: Part Two And Kung Fu Panda 4 Have A Neck And Neck Battle At The Weekend Box Office

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March has been a very different month for the 2024 domestic box office compared to what we got used to in the previous two. In January and February, Hollywood had little to really get movie-goers excited about heading to their local cinema, and that was very much reflected in ticket sales. The past few weeks have been the complete opposite, however, as Mike Mitchell’s Kung Fu Panda 4 and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two are proving to be the best tandem hit we’ve seen in theaters since last summer’s Barbenheimer.

Early numbers show that Kung Fu Panda 4 is going to edge out Dune: Part Two in this weekend’s battle, both both films are doing terrific business following their respective excellent premieres. Check out the numbers for the full Top 10 below and join me after for analysis.

Weekend Box Office Kung Fu Panda 4 March 15-17, 2024

(Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
1. Kung Fu Panda 4 $30,000,000 $107,744,000 1 4,067
2. Dune: Part Two $29,100,000 $205,318,000 2 3,847
3. Arthur The King* $7,500,000 $7,500,000 N/A 3,003
4. Imaginary $5,600,000 $19,081,668 3 3,118
5. Cabrini $2,814,183 $13,003,109 4 2,850
6. Love Lies Bleeding $2,485,650 $2,762,268 21 1,362
7. Bob Marley: One Love $2,300,000 $93,365,000 5 2,272
8. One Life* $1,708,813 $1,708,813 N/A 983
9. The American Society Of Magical Negroes* $1,250,000 $1,250,000 N/A 1,147
10. Ordinary Angels $1,000,000 $18,072,921 6 1,753

Kung Fu Panda 4 Looks To Keep Its Box Office Crown With A Sub-50 Percent Weekend-To-Weekend Drop

A lot of blockbusters in the post-pandemic cinema landscape have performed one-and-done business at the box office: they have been solid debuts thanks to anticipation from die-hard fans and those most curious about the title, but the numbers then fall off a cliff as the rest of the movie-going audience decides to patiently wait until the release goes to streaming. It’s caused a lot of industry disappointment in the last few years… but this month’s releases are wonderfully going against the grain. 

Seven days ago, Dune: Part Two performed magic with a stunning 44 percent weekend-to-weekend drop following its best-of-2024 start, and now Kung Fu Panda 4 has pulled off a similar feat. The popular new hit from DreamWorks Animation made an impressive $58 million when it arrived on the big screen earlier this month, and families are still buying tickets: the new film added $30 million to its domestic haul since Friday, which calculates to an excellent 48 percent dip. 

Per The Numbers, the feature starring Jack Black and Awkwafina has already broached into nine-figure territory domestically, having made $107.7 million. This makes it the second biggest film of the year so far, rushing past Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Bob Marley: One Love, which you’ll note is still hanging out in the Top 10. 

Kung Fu Panda flying in Kung Fu Panda 4

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

So far, the trajectory of Kung Fu Panda 4 is very much in line with the business that the seminal film in the franchise did back in 2008. After John Stevenson and Mark Osborne’s Kung Fu Panda debuted making $60.2 million, it made $33.6 million in its second weekend. The new sequel is tracking just a little below those numbers, but the path still leads to great results, as its predecessor ultimately made $215 million domestically by the end of its big screen run.

The animated movie hasn’t quite taken off internationally yet, as it has only earned $31 million overseas to add to what has been earned in the United States and Canada (equating to a worldwide total of $138.7 million). That being said, it hasn’t been released in some major markets yet, including China, Brazil, Australia, France, Italy, and the UK – though that’s coming up later this month. The film’s global profile should change considerably before calendars flip over to April.

Dune: Part Two Crosses $200 Million Domestically And $400 Million Internationally

While Kung Fu Panda 4 is entertaining kids and families, Dune: Part Two is continuing to wow adults, and the two movies are finding success together instead of being in direct competition. Early Sunday numbers show that the sci-fi epic is going to come up less than $1 million short of reclaiming the box office crown, but what’s more important is sustained success.

Following its minimal drop last weekend, Dune: Part Two‘s numbers only fell 37 percent from there this weekend, as the released added another $29.1 million in ticket sales. To date, the film has made $205.3 million domestically, which is by far the most money any title has made in 2024 so far. This is clearly a result of excellent word of mouth and movie-goers attending multiple screenings – wanting to appreciate the magnificence of the film on the big screen (an experience I recommended in my Dune: Part Two CinemaBlend review and continue to proselytize to anyone who will listen).

Given that it cost $190 million to make (via Variety), the star-studded blockbuster very much needed to be a hit, and one imagines that there has been plenty of champagne-popping over at Legendary Pictures. The film has more than doubled its budget worldwide, having made $417.6 million globally so far, and the numbers keep going up. For whatever reason, there hasn’t been word about Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune: Messiah getting the official green light yet (the movie would complete the writer/director’s dream of a Dune trilogy), but it seems inevitable at this point.

With Audiences Distracted, Arthur The King Gets Mostly Ignored By Movie-Goers 

While movie-goers got excited about Dune: Part Two and Kung Fu Panda 4 last weekend, Jeff Wadlow’s PG-13 horror movie Imaginary got left out in the lurch, and it only made $9.9 million while audiences were distracted. This week, the standout title in that position is Simon Cellan Jones’ Arthur The King. The dog-centric drama starring Mark Wahlberg and Simu Liu got a mixed response from critics (read CinemaBlend’s 2.5-star review of the film) and it’s warming audiences hearts (as evidenced by the “A” grade from CinemaScore surveys), but it’s not getting a whole lot of attention otherwise, as evidenced by its $7.5 million start.

There is good news. The film reportedly cost $20 million to make, and positive word of mouth could end up doing it some favors. Two years ago, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin’s Dog made just $14.8 million in its debut, and it ended its worldwide theatrical run earning $84.7 million. If Arthur The King can even do 75 percent of that business, it will be considered a success. We’ll keep an eye on it.

Next week will see the arrival of yet another blockbuster on the scene, as Jason Reitman‘s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire will be heading into wide release – and Sydney Sweeney will also be back on the big screen starring in Michael Mohan’s horror movie Immaculate. How will they impact the Top 10? Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see the box office results, and you can take a look at what’s coming to theaters in the weeks and months ahead by scoping out our 2024 Movie Release Schedule.

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