Box Office: ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ Lands Victorious $58.3M U.S. Opening; ‘Dune 2’ Nears $370M Worldwide

Jack Black’s Po is back after nearly a decade, and he’s already receiving a hero’s welcome from audiences.

Kung Fu Panda 4 opened to a stellar $58.3 million domestically, well ahead of expectations and a near-series best in a win for the family marketplace, as well as for DreamWorks Animation and parent company Universal (the studio behind Sunday’s Academy Awards frontrunner Oppenheimer). The only other Kung Fu Panda installment to open higher was the first one in 2008 with $62 million, not adjusted for inflation.

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Along with Black, returning members of the Kung Fu Panda 4 voice cast include Dustin Hoffman as Kung Fu master Shifu, James Hong as Po’s adoptive father, Bryan Cranston as Po’s birth father Li and Ian McShane as Shifu’s former student and arch-nemesis.

Series newcomers include Viola Davis as a tiny lizard and shapeshifting sorceress and Awakawfina as a quick-witted thief whom Po needs in order to protect their world. Ke Huy Quan also joins the franchise as a criminal leader named Han. The film boasts an A- CinemaScore from audiences and strong PostTrak exits.

Kung Fu Panda 4 is directed by Mike Mitchell, who also helmed Trolls and Shrek Forever After.

All eyes are also on Denis Villeneueve’s Dune: Part Two to see how it holds up in its second outing. The Legendary and Warner Bros. sci-fi epic opened last weekend to a stellar $82.5 million domestically and finished Thursday with a North American tally of more than $110 million and $200 million globally.

Heading in into Oscar weekend, box office pundits believed Dune 2 could earn $40 million or so in its second outing; it earned $46 million, thanks in part to keen demand for higher-priced Imax and other premium large-format screens. Overseas, its foreign tally hit $210 million after landing in China. The estimated global cume is $376.5 million.

Lionsgate and Blumhouse’s Imaginary also entered the mix and opened to a pleasing $10 million. The story follows a young woman (DeWanda Wise) who moves back to her childhood home, where her youngest stepdaughter (Pyper Braun) develops an eerie attachment to a stuffed bear named Chauncey she finds in the basement. The film is directed by Jeff Wadlow, who also produces alongside Jason Blum. It earned a C- CinemaScore, which is not unusual for horror.

Cabrini, the latest offering from Angel Studios, the Utah-based production and crowd-sourcing company that was home to summer 2023 sleeper hit Sound of Freedom, opened to a modest $7.6 million. Angel’s series and movies are often infused with faith-based stories or themes.

In regards to Oscar-nominated films, many of the movies vying for top honors are already available in the home, but some could still see an uptick at the box office. If Christopher Nolan and Universal’s Oppenheimer wins best picture, it will make box office history by becoming the highest-grossing movie to win the prize since the final The Lord of the Rings in 2004. Oppenheimer has earned nearly $960 million in worldwide ticket sales

This story was originally published March 8 at 9:35 am PT.

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