Denis Villeneuve on Poor Box Office: "Number One? Still Disappointing"

Exploring cinema's evolution amidst shifting box office trends

by Zain ul Abedin
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Denis Villeneuve on Poor Box Office: "Number One? Still Disappointing"
© Jeremy Chan/Getty Images

Denis Villeneuve, the acclaimed director behind Dune: Part Two, expressed a mix of humility and disappointment despite the film's continued success at the box office. Speaking in Toronto, where he was honored with the Academy Icon Award at the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards, Villeneuve shared his thoughts on the current cinematic landscape.

"Dune: Part Two," which premiered on March 1, has amassed over $711 million globally, positioning it as the highest-grossing movie of 2024, surpassing "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" by a significant margin. Despite this achievement, Villeneuve voiced a desire for a more competitive box office environment.

“I’m disappointed to still be number one," Villeneuve remarked. "I hope soon that there will be other successes at the box office. I hope, sooner or later, that this summer box office will be much better”. Villeneuve emphasized the importance of films that leverage the full potential of theatrical experiences, not limited to his own projects but extending to other major releases.

He highlighted "Civil War" as a prime example of a movie that effectively utilizes the power of cinema to enhance storytelling.

Theater's Crucial Role

“The theatrical experience is crucial, and I’m not just talking about Dune 2,” he continued.

“We need movies that fully embrace the power of the theatre”. The director's comments come amid a broader discussion about the state of the film industry, as box office numbers have shown a significant decline.

According to Deadline, the box office is down 66% compared to the previous year, underscoring the challenges facing the industry. In a separate box office battle, Alcon/Sony's The Garfield Movie is performing robustly against Warner Bros’ Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

In their second weekend, The Garfield Movie edged out Furiosa with a slight lead, earning $13 million to $11.5 million respectively. The films pulled in $3.7 million and $3.05 million in a single day, showcasing a tight race between the two.

Villeneuve remains optimistic about the future, expressing a wish for more films to reach and resonate with audiences on a large scale, just as Dune: Part Two has. As the industry navigates through these turbulent times, his call for quality cinematic experiences resonates with both filmmakers and audiences alike.

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