Home business Box Office: “Dune” Falls Short Again of $100 Mil as Warner Bros’...

The sands of time are running very slowly for “Dune.”

Denis Villeneuve’s sci fi epic would have made well over $150 million by now if it hadn’t been placed on HBO Max for the last month.

As it is, “Dune” finished this weekend after 5 weeks in release with just $98 million. The Warner Bros. policy of putting all their theatrical films simultaneously on HBO Max, critics say, has wrecked their box office. Filmmakers cannot be happy.

For months, WB has touted Will Smith and pushed him with the press for Best Actor in “King Richard.” The ingredients for success were all there, certainly. But now reality has set in. “King Richard” opened to a lousy $5.7 million in very wide release. So now they’ve got a major studio release that acted like a small indie film. If business doesn’t pick up fast, exhibitors will cut its showings.

Warners’ policy has hurt all of its films this year. “The Many Saints of Newark,” which I loved, died on arrival. This has to be a blow for David Chase and the actors, who we ginned up with deserved glowing reviews. But the Sopranos fans saw this on HBO Max and thought of it as a TV show, not a movie. Very very frustrating.

And that doesn’t include the complete catastrophe of “The Suicide Squad,” also DOA, “In the Heights,” and Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho.” It can’t be fun for the marketing and PR departments, which work overtime only to see everything go up in smoke.

(PS I still think Margot Robbie deserves some awards notice for “The Suicide Squad.” Great performance!)

So there we are. Let’s hope poor “Dune” finally crosses the $100 million line this week, and “King Richard” can hold on until the first week of December.

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