Kung Fu Panda 4 leads, Dune 2 stays strong


Universal and DreamWork’s animated adventure “Kung Fu Panda 4” topped the domestic box office, grossing a solid $58.3 million from 4,035 theaters in its opening weekend.

It marks the franchise’s biggest debut since the original, 2008’s “Kung Fu Panda” ($60 million), surpassing the start of the two previous installments, 2016’s “Kung Fu Panda 3” ($41 million) and “Kung Fu Panda 2.” ” 2011. ” ($47.6 million), not adjusted for inflation.

“Family audiences were ready to come out and have fun with a beloved franchise,” says Jim Orr, president of domestic distribution at Universal. “Animated films tend to stand out. We anticipate a tremendous runner.”

Internationally, the fourth film of the martial arts-inspired animated comedy grossed $22 million in 41 markets for a global total of $80 million. This installment cost $85 million to produce, a lower price than the first three films, each of which cost around $150 million. Jack Black returned to voice the title character in “Kung Fu Panda 4,” the franchise’s first new installment in eight years. The story, which follows Po as he searches for his successor while fighting a new shape-shifting enemy called the Chameleon, appears to have resonated more with audiences (it has an “A-” CinemaScore rating) compared to critics (it has a 69% on Rotten). Tomatoes).

“This is an excellent start for an animated sequel that is already so far into its series,” says David A. Gross of the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “‘Kung Fu Panda’ is showing tremendous strength now, with good momentum for another sequel.”

Although “Dune: Part Two” ceded its box office crown to “Panda,” the sci-fi sequel had another solid outing with $46 million in 4,074 theaters. This marks a 44% drop in ticket sales since its debut (an impressive hold for a blockbuster of this scale) and brings the film’s North American total to $157 million.

After 10 days on the big screen, “Dune 2” surpassed the entire domestic gross of the first film ($108 million), although that milestone comes with an important caveat. The original 2021 film was released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, so ticket sales were stifled by the hybrid streaming release.

“Dune: Part Two” and “Kung Fu Panda 4” are helping revive a barren box office, which is about 10% behind the same point in 2023, according to Comscore. In the coming weeks, Sony’s sequel “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” (March 22) and Warner Bros. and Legendary’s monster mash-up “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” (March 29) hope to continue drawing audiences and reduce that number. gap.

“Two big movies have made a huge difference to the year-to-date deficit,” says Comscore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian, who notes that revenues were 20% behind last year before the return to Arrakis. “The current success of ‘Dune: Part Two’ and the strong debut of ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ are moving the needle in the right direction.”

Another newcomer, Lionsgate’s Blumhouse thriller “Imaginary,” came in on par with expectations with $10 million in 3,118 theaters. The film cost just over $10 million, so it is well positioned in its theatrical career. That’s a good thing because “Imaginary,” a horror movie about a woman tormented by her old teddy bear named Chauncey, was panned by audiences and critics. It has a “C+” CinemaScore and a Rotten Tomatoes average of 31%.

The weekend’s third new release, Angel Studio’s religious drama “Cabrini,” came in at No. 4 behind “Imaginary” on the national charts. It grossed around $7.7 million in 2,840 theaters despite being well received by moviegoers, who gave the film an “A” CinemaScore rating.

Alejandro Gómez Monteverde directed “Cabrini,” a biographical story about Catholic missionary Francesca Cabrini, who encounters resistance to her charitable and business efforts in New York City. “Cabrini” is the second theatrical release from independent distribution Angel Studios following last summer’s “Sound of Freedom.” That film, a suspense thriller also directed by Monteverde, became an unlikely box office hit with $242 million worldwide.

“The beginning of (‘Cabrini) is not on the level of (‘The Sound of Liberty), but they are different films,” Gross says. “A period biography is not going to have the same effect as a crime thriller.”

Paramount’s musical biopic “Bob Marley: One Love” fell to No. 5 with $4 million in 2,764 theaters. The $70 million-budgeted film, starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the reggae music legend, has become a surprise box office hit with $89 million in North America and $160 million worldwide.

Elsewhere, A24’s romantic thriller “Love Lies Bleeding” debuted with $167,463 across five screens (averaging $33,493 per location). Rose Glass directed the film, which stars Kristen Stewart as a lonely gym manager who falls in love with a bodybuilder. Her love leads to violence when they are drawn into the web of Lou’s crime family. The film, which received a positive reception during its Sundance premiere, will continue to expand to 1,200 theaters next week.

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