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411 Box Office Report: Kung Fu Panda 4 Wins Weekend, Dune: Part Two Holds Well

March 10, 2024 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Kung Fu Panda 4 - Po still Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Po won the box office crown this weekend as Kung Fu Panda 4 held off Dune: Part Two to take #1. The fourth entry in DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster franchise took the top spot with $58 million, marking the second-best start in franchise history. The opening numbers top the previous two entries, which opened at $47.6 million for the second film and $41.3 million for the third, and fell just short of beating the original film’s $60.2 million start back in 2008. It’s also ahead of the $50 million start that was expected going into the weekend, numbers that had risen considerably from the projected high $30 million start going into the week.

It’s a triumphant return for the animated martial arts family film, which had been dormant on the big screen since 2016. The film took advantage of a lack of family films at the box office; the only direct competition was Migration which has been in theaters since before Christmas. Panda came into the weekend with moderately positive critical buzz but high audience anticipation, the latter of which paid off with an A- CinemaScore and a solid 87% RT audience rating. Those helped the film climb in its projections throughout the weekend.

Even better for DreamWorks and Universal is the fact that the film cost far less than previous entries. Kung Fu Panda 4 had a reported $80 million budget compared to the $130 million-plus for the last three films. Panda is also off to a decent start overseas with $22.2 million in 41 markets, which is just 23% of its footprint with more markets to come. That gives the film $80.5 million thus far and positions it well for profit. As it stands, the film should be able to finish out its US run with around $160 million and will be a hit for the studios.

Dune: Part Two may have taken a backseat to the panda, but it’s not shedding any tears thanks to a strong second weekend hold. The sci-fi action film brought in $46 million in its second frame, down just 46% from its stellar start. Warner Bros. is very happy with the results for this one, which is now an unmitigated hit with $157 million domestically and $367.5 million against a $190 million budget. Dune: Part Two is still on course for around $250 million or more, making the expected third film very likely now.

Horror picked up the third spot as Imaginary took in $10 million in its opening weekend. The Lionsgate release from Jeff Wardlow opened at the low end of expectations, driven by middling reviews and a lackluster audience reaction. The film has a sketchy 31% RT critic score and while critics don’t kill horror films at the box office, a low score doesn’t help (see also: Night Swim’s middling performance). Those who saw the film gave it a C+ – not awful for horror, but by no means an endorsement.

Imaginary also had some external factors working against it. For one, its potential audience was sucked up by both Kung Fu Panda and Dune: Part Two working against it; Imaginary is PG-13 horror that was hoping to bring in the younger audiences along with the usual demographics, and there weren’t many of those left after those other two films cleaned up. The film also had a low profile in part because a much bigger (and family friendly) film about imaginary friends, Ryan Reynolds’ IF, opens in just a couple of months.

Any way you slice it, Imaginary is going to be a middling performer. The film cost $10 million to produce and even with a relatively light marketing spend, a hefty box office drop next weekend will likely leave it settling for a smaller profit than Lionsgate hoped for. It should finish off in the high $20 million range – fine enough not to be considered a loss, but don’t expect Imaginary 2 any time soon.

Angel Studios’ latest film Cabrini opened about where it was expected to with a $7.6 million start. The biopic about Catholic missionary Francesca Cabrini wasn’t breaking box office records, but it’s a start that the studio is fine with as it reps their second highest opening behind Sound of Freedom’s $18.2 million launch.

Cabrini largely flew under people’s radars, but it delivered for the faith-based audience with a 90% RT critic score, a 98% RT audience rating and an A CinemaScore. The film is unlikely to have the box office legs of Sound of Freedom but is off to a good start against its $6.4 million budget and should end its run in the mid-$20 million range.

Bob Marley: One Love eased 45% in its fourth weekend to bring in $4.1 million. The musical biopic is officially a hit for Paramount with $89.3 million domestically and $160.5 million worldwide against a $70 million budget. At this point the film will pass $100 million domestically and deliver a nice bit of profit when all is said and done.

Ordinary Angels was off 46% in its third weekend, grossing $2 million. The drama is performing admirably for a low-profile release with $16.1 million thus far against a $12 million budget and should end its run around $20 million in the US.

Madame Web saw a bigger drop in its fourth weekend as it slipped 64% to $1.1 million. The Sony Spider-Man Universe movie is now at $42.6 million stateside and $96.6 million worldwide against an $80 million budget. It’s chug its way to around $50 million and will lose money for the studio.

Migration finally fell a bit harder with Kung Fu Panda 4 taking its audience away. The Illumination animated comedy tacked up $1.1 million for the weekend, down 56%, and bumped its totals to $125.3 million in the US and $282 million worldwide. It’s a big hit for Universal against a $72 million budget and should close out just short of $130 million.

Coming in at #9 was Chinese dramedy YOLO, which saw its domestic debut through Sony Pictures International with $840,000. The film won’t be making much of a splash here but it doesn’t need to as it’s a massive hit already overseas with a $479.1 million worldwide gross due to its China numbers. The film will slip off the charts quickly, but any money here is just icing on the cake.

Wonka finished out the top 10 with $600,000, down 65% in its 13th weekend. The musical prequel is now available on MAX so its box office run is coming to an end with $217.8 million domestically and $625.7 million worldwide, a huge against a $125 million budget.

Kung Fu Panda and Dune: Part Two will rematch at the box office next weekend and it would not be a surprise to see Dune reclaim the crown. The frame will see a number of lower profile releases, with the best performer likely to be Mark Wahlberg’s drama Arthur The King in the low- to mid-$10 million range. Anthony Hopkins’ drama One Life, the buzzy Kristen Stewart romantic thriller Love Lies Bleeding and the satirical comedy The American Society of Magical Negroes should all score in the single digits.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Kung Fu Panda 4 – $58 million ($58 million total, $80.5 million WW)
2. Dune: Part Two – $46 million ($157 million total, $367.5 million WW)
3. Imaginary – $10 million ($10 million total, $10 million WW)
4. Cabrini – $7.6 million ($7.6 million total, $7.6 million WW)
5. Bob Marley: One Love – $4.1 million ($89.3 million total, $160.5 million WW)
6. Ordinary Angels – $2 million ($16.1 million total, $16.1 million WW)
7. Madame Web – $1.1 million ($42.6 million total, $96.6 million WW)
8. Migration – $1.1 million ($125.3 million total, $282 million WW)
9. YOLO – $840,000 ($840,000 total, $479.1 million WW)
10. Wonka – $600,000 ($217.8 million total, $625.7 million WW)