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Box Office: ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ Dethrones ‘Dune 2,’ Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Arthur the King’ Lacks Bite

Kung Fu Panda 4 and Dune: Part Two are still going strong at the box office, with both movies celebrating milestones this weekend.

From DreamWorks Animation and Universal, the Jack Black-voiced Kung Fu Panda 4 dethroned Dune 2 in its sophomore weekend with an estimated $30 million from 4,067 theaters as it leaped past the $100 million mark to finish Sunday with a 10-day domestic total of $107.7 million. Overseas, it grossed another $39.6 million for a foreign tally of $68.6 million and $176.4 million globally. The pic fell a respectable 48 percent domestically.

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Not far behind was Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2, now in its third weekend. The Legendary-Warner Bros. tentpole is the first release of 2024 to clear $200 million domestically. The pic earned an estimated $29.1 million from 3,847 cinemas, putting its North American total at $205.3 million.

Overseas, the sequel — starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya — earned another $51.2 million this weekend from 73 markets for a dazzling foreign tally of $289.4 million and a global booty of $494.7 million. It has already eclipsed the $433 grossed by the first Dune — which was released in 2021, during the pandemic — and should ultimately end up well north of $600 million globally.

Both tentpoles will face competition in the coming days with the arrival of Sony’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (March 22) and Warners/Legendary’s Godxilla x Kong: The New Empire (March 29).

New offerings in North America this weekend included feel-good canine adventure drama Arthur the King, featuring an ensemble cast led by Mark Wahlberg. The Lionsgate and eOne film opened on the low end of expectations with an estimated $7.5 million from 3,003 cinemas. Tracking this week had suggested $8 million to $10 million, but the film’s backers believe an A CinemaScore from audiences will result in long legs.

Simu Liu, Juliet Rylance, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ali Suliman, Paul Guilfoyle and real-life adventure racer and TV host Bear Grylls, who plays himself, round out the cast. The film follows a pro adventure racer (Wahlberg) who forms an unbreakable bond with a dog named Arthur after he and his team travel 435 miles over 10 days.

Ali Suliman as Chik, Mark Wahlberg as Michael, Nathalie Emmanuel as Olivia and Simu Liu as Leo in Arthur The King.
Arthur the King

Lionsgate also took the fourth spot on the chart with Blumhouse’s supernatural horror pic Imaginary, which earned an estimated $5.6 million from 3,118 cinemas in its sophomore outing for a 10-day cume of $18.1 million.

Rounding out the top five was Angel Studios’ faith-themed Cabrini, which fell off a steep 61 percent in its second weekend. The biographical drama about a real-life 18th century Catholic missionary earned an estimated $2.8 million from 2,850 theaters for a 10-day domestic tally of $12 million. Angel Studios is also home to Monteverde’s 2023 surprise blockbuster and cultural sensation Sound of Freedom.

The forecast is even worse for Focus Features’ The American Society of Magical Negroes, another new wide offering. The specialty title placed No. 9 with an estimated $1.25 million from 1,143 theaters. The satirical comedy tells the tale of a young man who is recruited into a secret society of magical Black people who dedicate their lives to a cause of utmost importance: making white people’s lives easier. (By expanding nationwide, the film will be available relatively quickly on premium VOD for $19.99.)

Justice Smith and David Alan Grier appear in The American Society of Magical Negroes by Kobi Libii, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.
Justice Smith and David Alan Grier appear in The American Society of Magical Negroes

Directed by Kobi Libii, American Society of Magical Negroes stars Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, An-Li Bogan, Drew Tarver, Michaela Watkins, Rupert Friend and Nicole Byer. (Focus can take solace in last weekend’s Oscars support for The Holdovers. The Alexander Payne-directed movie was up for multiple top awards, including best picture, with Da’Vine Joy Randolph winning for best supporting actress.)

Another specialty film making a nationwide push is A24’s Love Lies Bleeding, which placed No. 6 with $2.5 million after expanding into a total of 1,362 theaters for an early domestic cume of $2.7 million. The crime thriller stars Kirsten Stewart.

Bleecker Street, another indie distributor, opened Anthony Hopkins-starrer One Life in select cinemas domestically. The movie placed No. 8 with $1.7 million from 983 locations. The holocaust-related drama, a joint British-U.S. production, has already grossed north of $25 million overseas since its December 2023 release.

Following Oppenheimer‘s Oscars sweep last week, Warners rereleased Christopher Nolan’s movie in more than 1,300 theaters domestically. Rereleases don’t usually generate huge grosses — exceptions include Avatar — and Oppenheimer looks to earn roughly $300K for the weekend. The film, readily available to stream on Peacock and Max, is the top-grossing best picture Oscar winner in 20 years after amassing nearly $959 million at the global box office. It’s unlikely, however, that it will be able to clear $1 billion even with this rerelease.

This story was originally published March 15 at 10:13 am.

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