“Dune: Part Two” Set for a Sandworm-Sized Opening Weekend

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two is rumbling towards theaters this weekend with the thunderous power of a sandworm. The second part of Villeneuve’s possibly three-part epic (he’s currently working on the script for Part Three, which has yet to be confirmed, and would be based on “Dune Messiah,” Frank Herbert’s sequel to his original book) was delayed from releasing this past fall due to the actor’s strike. This has meant that with this weekend’s release, the film’s stars have been out in full force to promote the film, including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, and Austin Butler. Now that Part Two‘s premiere is upon us, ticket sales are flying faster than the Spice off the desert of Arrakis, positioning Villeneuve’s latest as the year’s biggest film thus far. (We do and do not apologize for the Dune puns.)

The projections vary, from a more modest but still healthy $65 million opening weekend to a haul nearing $90 million. Still, the consistent takeaway is that Dune: Part Two is tracking for a very big premiere weekend domestically, boosted by a major splash at the international market, which will add another $80-90 million from around 70 markets.

The excitement surrounding Part Two is extra sweet, considering how Part One debuted. Villeneuve’s first installment was critically acclaimed, a sweeping, magisterial introduction to the world Frank Herbert created in his now iconic 1965 novel, the first proper adaptation of Herbert’s book since David Lynch’s 1984 film. Villeneuve decided to break Herbert’s tome into two parts, a bold choice given he and co-writer Jon Spaihts left major characters (like Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, played in Part Two by Austin Butler) and major action set pieces for a second film that hadn’t yet been greenlitYet the first film, despite opening simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max during the peak COVID era, was not just a critical hit—it ended up doing well commercially, notching $402 million worldwide. Part Two, on the contrary, is opening wide and benefits from being the sole big release this weekend, giving it a huge number of IMAX and Dolby screens, the premium large format that is the preferred choice for sci-fi fans, Villeneuve fans, and Villeneuve himself (as well as fellow filmmakers like Christopher Nolan).

Part Two picks up where the first Dune left off (here’s a video refresher), with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), now under the protection of the Fremen, the native inhabitants of Arrakis. Their desert planet has been the source of intergalactic power-grabbing for years due to the abundance of Spice, which functions as fuel for intergalactic travel and a whole lot more. Part Two is centered on the end game after the evil Houe Harkonnen’s decapitation of House Atreides in Part One, which included the assassination of Paul’s father, Duke (Oscar Isaac), and Paul’s increasingly fervent belief that he was chosen to lead the remnants of his House and the Fremen in a battle royale against House Harkonnen and the forces that backed them up, including the galaxy’s prime mover, Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken). 

Along with the aforementioned cast, Dune Part Two includes returning members Javier Bardem as the Fremen Stilgar, Josh Brolin as Atreides’ ally Gurney Halleck, and Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban. Newcomers joining Butler, Pugh (who plays Princess Irulan) are Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot and Souheila Yacoub as Shishakli.

Dune: Part Two opens on March 1.

For more on Dune: Part Two, check out these stories:

“Dune: Part Two” Review Round-Up: A Breathtaking, Cosmically Scaled Sci-Fi Masterpiece

Everything You Need to Know Before Seeing “Dune: Part Two”

“Dune: Part Two” Reactions: A Modern Day Sci-Fi Masterpiece

Featured image: Caption: A scene from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures


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