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China Box Office: James Bond Nabs $8 Million Friday As ‘Dune’ Drops 85%

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 29, 2021

In China box office news, No Time to Die opened with $8.18 million on Friday, a disappointing figure that’s 45% less than the opening day of Spectre back in late 2015. No be fair, Spectre opened comparatively unopposed, nabbing a $47 million weekend against the $6 million launch of A Journey Through Time With Antony. Conversely, this new James Bond movie is dealing with the second weekend of Dune (not that Dune is providing much competition) and the still strong The Battle At Lake Changjin which earned another $4.5 million on its fifth Friday.

That brings the Korean War epic’s Chinese total to $845 million, passing Hi, Mom ($837 million) to become the year’s biggest global grosser. Of what’s left, only Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17) has a shot at the global title for 2021. Meanwhile, the Daniel Craig 007 movie should earn around $30 million over the weekend, positioning itself for a $70 million lifetime cume in China.

While obviously not taking as big of a jump as, say, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation ($131 million in 2015) to Mission: Impossible – Fallout ($181 million in 2018), an over/under $70 million total in China would be right between Skyfall ($60 million in 2012) and Spectre ($83 million in 2015). The 007 flick had $525 million worldwide as of Sunday with a $120.5 million domestic cume. And if the worldwide split hasn’t changed, it has now passed $555 million worldwide.

It has now earned $125.5 million domestic, passing the unadjusted domestic grosses of Tomorrow Never Dies and (after tonight) The World is Not Enough. For a film that wants to be the next On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, well, it’ll end up close ($23 million in 1969) in terms of domestic tickets sold. There’s a lesson there (don’t chase yesteryear’s fanbase who will show up anyway at the expense of the current fans), but that’s for another day.

Meanwhile, it’s good news/bad news for Dune. The bad news is that Dune dropped a whopping 85% on its second Friday, earning just $1 million on day eight. That brings its eight-day cume in China to $30 million, and it probably won’t top $40 million in the end. Blame audience indifference, competition from The Battle At Lake Changjin and No Time to Die or just Chinese audiences not being all that in to Dune, but it’s fortunately not a deal-breaker.

I mean, we’ve already got Dune part Two set for October 20, 2023, so the question now is whether it becomes an actual commercial success in terms of budget and comparative expectations or is merely spun as one. The good news is that the film has earned $53.8 million in eight days, a decent 1.31x weekend-to-cume multiplier. If the domestic/overseas split remains intact, its global cume is now at around $265 million.

We’ll see if it drops closer to Blade Runner 2049 (-52% from a fan-driven $32 million debut) for a $20 million second-weekend gross or Power Rangers (-64% from a fan-driven $40 million debut) for a $15 million second-weekend gross. Dune’s global cume is over the $259 million worldwide total of Denis Villeneuve’s last $150 million-plus, 2.5-hour, action-lite, adult-skewing sci-fi drama. Blade Runner 2049 was considered a massive commercial whiff.

It’s interesting to see the narrative for Dune’s likely 1/3 better performance being hailed as the next Fellowship of the Ring (a film that earned $875 million on a $95 million budget 20 years ago). HBO Max value and Covid variables notwithstanding, Hollywood’s obsession with IP has created a scenario where the movies are more expensive while the bar for success is lower. Still, I expect Dune part Two to perform better theatrically, although how much better will be a fascinating thing to observe.

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