LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) – The domestic box office was lighter on the treats and heavier on the tricks during Halloween weekend, capping an otherwise busy October at the movies on a muted note.
Horror movies “Antlers” and “Last Night in Soho” opened nationwide and struggled to scare up strong ticket sales, leaving last weekend’s champion “Dune” to rule over box office charts again. It’s the first time since COVID-19 that people could safely celebrate the spooky holiday, so it’s understandable that audiences opted to trick-or-treat or go to costumed parties rather than visit their local multiplex.
“Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s influential sci-fi novel, generated $15.5 million in its second weekend of release, bringing its domestic total to $69.4 million. The film, which opened simultaneously on HBO Max, declined 62% from its debut, a considerably better hold than other Warner Bros. spectacles, such as “Mortal Kombat,” “The Suicide Squad” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Those movies all but collapsed in their second weekends, plunging roughly 70%, while playing day-and-date on streaming. For “Dune,” most of the marketing has hinged the idea that fans need to watch the movie in the best possible quality, which is to say it demands to be seen in theaters. Patrons have been responding to that sentiment, as evidenced by robust Imax ticket sales. The premium format accounted for $4.2 million of this weekend’s haul and $17 million of “Dune’s” overall domestic tally. Warner Bros. and Legendary, the companies behind “Dune,” have already announced that director Denis Villeneuve — and stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya — will return to Arrakis for a sequel.
The Focus Features film “Last Night in Soho” and Searchlight’s “Antlers” will battle for sixth place, with each film collecting a tepid $4.2 million over the weekend. Those figures could vary slightly when final numbers are tabulated on Monday. Either way, it’s an unenviable spot for nationwide releases.