Early box office wrap: Kung Fu Panda 4 on its way to a $55 million opening; Dune 2 has major legs

Kung Fu Panda 4 is having a much bigger weekend than expected, but Dune 2 is showing incredible staying power in 2nd place.

Last Updated on March 11, 2024

Kung Fu Panda Dune

It’s looking like Kung Fu Panda is about to K’O Dune: Part Two at the box office – for this weekend anyway – with the Dreamworks sequel on its way to the highest-grossing weekend of the franchise since the original film in 2008. Indeed, Kung Fu Panda 4 is set to open way beyond our expectations, with Deadline’s early numbers predicting a potential $55 million opening in the cards. Dune: Part Two slips to second place with about $44 million on the books. While Panda will be this weekend’s champ, Dune is the real winner in many ways. Consider this – the film posted a huge $82 million opening last weekend and has only posted a 47% week-to-week drop, which is exceedingly rare for a tentpole movie. In just a week, the movie has already beaten the lifetime gross of the first film at the domestic box office (although we should remember that it opened during the pandemic). 

Overall, this weekend is shaping up to be a massive win for Hollywood. It’s no secret that the industry has been challenged recently, with the holiday movie season not posting any four-quadrant smash hits (although Wonka did quite well). While Kung Fu Panda’s opening is nothing compared to what Jack Black’s other animated movie, The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossed last year, it’s worth noting that this is a much higher opening than what the last two films in the franchise posted. Perhaps this Panda hasn’t run out of gas after all. 

Meanwhile, Dune: Part Two is shaping up to be a major hit for Warner Bros and Denis Villeneuve. Given the grosses, I’d expect the studio to pressure Villeneuve to get cracking on Dune Messiah immediately. However, he told us recently that he hoped to film another movie before returning to Arakkis. 

The weekend’s other major release, Blumhouse’s Imaginary, is looking to open in the $10 million area, a shade below what their last film, Night Swim, pulled off earlier this year. However, given the awful reviews (including one from our critic Tyler Nichols) and the low budget, I think Blumhouse and the studio, Lionsgate, are happy enough with this opening.

Of course, we’ll return with a full box office wrap-up tomorrow!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.