March box office up ‘significantly’ on back of Dune: Part Two

March box office up ‘significantly’ on back of Dune: Part Two
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two

Total UK and Ireland box office in March reached £99.8m, according to the latest figures from Comscore, 24% higher than in March 2023. The improvement in year-on-year box office performance was primarily led by Dune: Part Two.

Year to date, box office is now tracking 9% ahead of 2023.

Dune: Part Two was the top film of March, taking in £35.6m for the month, including a year-best £9.3m debut weekend.

The title has already blown past the lifetime performance of its predecessor, 2021’s Dune, which earned £22.5m. It is also by far the highest-grossing release of 2024 thus far, outpacing Universal’s animated film Migration (£20.4m).

Tom Linay, content business director at cinema advertising company Digital Cinema Media (DCM), told The Media Leader that for the first half of March, Dune: Part Two was “the main show in town” and “obviously the big driver of box office this month”.

While admissions for Dune: Part Two were good, Linay explained that a considerable portion of its box office success can be attributed to the demand to see the blockbuster in Imax and on other premium large-format screens, which cost more.

According to Linay, the sci-fi film could potentially surpass £40m in UK and Ireland box office, amounting to an 80% increase on its predecessor’s performance.

Given the film’s box office success, director Denis Villeneuve has reportedly received the green light to make a third instalment in the series.

Linay added that while Dune‘s hype and box office “is not at Oppenheimer or Barbie levels”, it has “kind of had a halo effect” for other films by getting people back into cinemas, where they view trailers for other shows that could pique their interest.

Three other franchises released sequels in March: Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Kung Fu Panda 4 and Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, all of which are, according to Linay, like Dune: Part Two performing “significantly better than their first instalment” — something that is far from a guarantee for sequels.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire was the second-best-performing film in March with £10.7m. Kung Fu Panda 4, meanwhile, raked in £9.9m in its opening weekend at the end of March to become the third-best-performing film. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, which also opened in the final weekend of the month, similarly earned £7.2m.

In April, a wider variety of films are slated for release compared with the sequel-heavy month of March. Major debuts include Alex Garland’s Civil War (11 April), Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black (12 April) and Zendaya rom-com Challengers (26 April).

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