“Dune” is Denis Villeneuve’s Best Opening & Best IMAX Opening of Pandemic Era
Dune delivered in more ways than one. Co-writer and director Denis Villeneuve enjoyed the best opening weekend of his career as Dune finally hit theaters—and HBO Max—this past weekend. Dune pulled in $40 million at the box office and had the best three-day opening for a Warner Bros. film that was also playing on the same day on HBO Max. Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s iconic sci-fi novel also hauled in a pandemic-era best $9 million on IMAX. All of this points to a strong showing for one of the year’s most hotly anticipated films, and, one hopes, will mean that Villeneuve will get to complete his vision with Dune 2.
If you saw the film this weekend, or if you’re even just a casual fan of this website, you know Villeneuve told only half of the story in Dune. The film ends (spoiler alert) with Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides finally meeting Zendaya’s Chani, a member of the Fremen, with Chani telling the young prince “this is only the beginning.” The second part of the story—which Villeneuve said he’s already written—will focus on Chani’s role within the Fremen, the inhabitants of the desert planet Arrakis where Paul’s family, House Atreides, were sent to control the country’s vast mineral resources of spice. The first half of the movie revealed (again, spoiler alert) that House Atreides had been set up, and with only Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson) surviving, the second half will deal with their battle, with the Fremen’s help, to defeat the evil House Harkonnen and bring peace to the planet.
Dune has done well internationally, too, collecting another $47.4 million, with a total gross of $220 million globally so far. As Variety points out, while most cerebral sci-fi films don’t always perform well at the box office, Dune has performed at the higher end of expectations. “I’m smiling,” Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein told Variety. “Exhibitors are thrilled. The best part is, fans are loving what they’re seeing. They’re loving the big-screen experience. It’s been a winner of a weekend for movie-lovers.”
As for the potential sequel, WarnerMedia chair Ann Sarnoff told Variety that Dune 2 decisions will be made based on “the entirety of what ‘Dune’ can do for the company, including HBO Max. The story in itself sets up for a sequel. The production is so amazing and the storytelling is so compelling that it’s not going to be judged on box office alone.”
Here’s hoping that sequel is greenlit and we can all head back to Arrakis for the final half of this sweeping story.
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Featured image: Caption: TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures