With the second part of Frank Herbert’s epic coming in two years, “Dune” is officially a movie franchise now.
Frank Herbert’s Dune was long considered far too huge and epic for Hollywood to handle. Denis Villeneuve must have proven the old thinking wrong though—we’re definitely getting a theatrical release of the sequel to the Warner Bros. and HBO Max box office hit in the next two years.
The key word here is theatrical. We understand that a key point of negotiations between Legendary and Warner Bros was that Dune: Part Two would be given a pure theatrical window; no day-and-date HBO Max release plan is in the mix for this cinema spectacle.
Villeneuve planned the movie in parts, as Deadline notes in quoting him: “It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune, and I have the fans, the cast, and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream. This is only the beginning.”
It really does seem inevitable that more Dune is coming—after all, the first movie has something of a cliffhanger ending. But it also did better box office than expected, according to Deadline:
Dune overperformed its domestic projections this past weekend, opening to $41 million, with over half of its ticket sales driven by large-format and PLF theaters. Heading into the weekend we’d heard that Dune had some $12M in advance tickets sales; more than any other event film during the pandemic. The pic was bolstered further by Canada, which delivered 11% of domestic weekend ticket sales; it was on a theatrical window up there since HBO Max isn’t available in the country.
The movie has been a critical success as well. It current has excellent Rotten Tomatoes ratings and critics have been free with glowing takes, calling Dune a “spicy journey to an amazing future” and “a new sci-fi epic, an immersive cinematic journey that, like its source material, feels poised to endure as one of the genre’s great works.”
Look for Dune Part II in theaters in October 2023.