China Box Office: ‘Dune 2’ Scores $20 Million Opening With Huge Imax Component

“Dune 2” launched in mainland China cinemas this weekend with a solid $19.9 million three-day haul. That put it in second place, narrowly behind holdover crime-drama “The Pig, the Snake and the Pigeon.”

Data from consultancy firm Artisan Gateway, showed that “The Pig, the Snake and the Pigeon” earned $21.3 million (RMB151 million) between Friday and Sunday, for a 10-day cumulative of $54.1 million (RMB384 million). “Dune 2” managed RMB142 million.

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Many Hollywood titles have struggled in China over the past three years, especially franchise titles. But “Dune 2” with its particularly spectacular visuals looks to have escaped the rut.

Giant screen provider Imax, which has nearly 800 screens in the Middle Kingdom, reported that some $6.5 million of the film’s opening weekend was earned at its venues. That was nearly a third of its opening total in China.

Local cinema ticketing firm Maoyan has increased its predictions for “Dune 2’s” performance in China. It now forecasts a lifetime total of RMB560 million or $78 million. That compares with $38 million for the previous Denis Villeneuve-directed “Dune” in 2021.

Directed by Hong Kong’s Wong Ching-po and starring Ethan Juan, the Taiwanese-produced “The Pig, the Snake and the Pigeon” tells the story of a gangster who discovers, first that he has cancer and only a few months to live, and second that he is the country’s third most wanted outlaw. He decides to eliminate the two higher-ranked criminals so that he can die on top.

“I Miss You,” a Chinese romantic drama directed by Han Yan and adapted from a novel by Zheng Zhi, was the weekend’s second-ranked new release and third in the local chart. It earned $13.6 million (RMB96.6 million) in three days. It tells the story of a couple who get a second chance at love, but nearly miss out all over again.

In fourth and fifth places over the weekend were two titles release in early February for the Lunar New Year holidays. The Zhang Yimou-directed “Article 20” earned $8.4 million for a running total of $334 million. Han Han’s “Pegasus 2” earned $6.8 million for a running total of $469 million.

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