Kung Fu Panda 4 Makes $3.8 Million in Thursday Previews

Two legendary heroes are battling at the box office this weekend: the Dragon Warrior and the Lisan al Gaib.

Kung Fu Panda 4” and “Dune: Part Two” will duke it out at the box office. So far, Universal’s animated, family friendly flick has made $3.8 million in previews at the box office from 4,035 North American theaters.

It’s expected to be a close box office battle, but Jack Black‘s karate-loving panda Po has a slight edge over Timothee Chalamet’s intergalactic hero Paul Atreides. “Kung Fu Panda 4” is projected to make between $45 million and $50 million in its opening weekend, while “Dune: Part Two” is on track for $40 million to $45 million in its second weekend of release.

The lack of family movies at theaters should bode well for “Kung Fu Panda 4.” Besides “Dune: Part Two” reinvigorating the theater business last week, there hasn’t been another box office smash yet in 2024. As evidenced by last year’s hits like “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “Elemental” and “Wonka,” families with young children will turn out to theaters in numbers for the right movie. That could help “Kung Fu Panda 4” notch the franchise’s best opening since the 2008 debut film.

The original “Kung Fu Panda” kicked off the karate franchise with a $60 million opening and ended up grossing $632 million globally. The next two films were also successes; “Kung Fu Panda 2” opened with $47.6 million in 2011 and tapped out with $665 million worldwide, while 2016’s “Kung Fu Panda 3” had a $41 million debut and $521 million grand total.

This weekend also sees the launch of Lionsgate and Blumhouse’s thriller “Imaginary,” which made $725,000 in previews and is targeting a debut of $10 million to $14 million, and Angel Studio’s faith-based film “Cabrini,” which is aiming for low-double digits.

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