Zendaya Double Feature: “Dune: Part Two” Returns to IMAX as “Challengers” Serves Up Premiere

Zendaya is ready to serve for the win this weekend at the box office.

The megastar will be on the big screen in two critically acclaimed films from major directors. One you likely know all about by now—Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two returns to IMAX this weekend as it continues its epic run. The second Zendaya film in theaters this weekend is Luca Guadagnino’s romantic comedy Challengers, a sexy new film about three “athletic demigods” (in the words of the New Yorker‘s Justin Chang) who find themselves as committed to their excellence on the tennis court as to romancing each other off of it.

Dune: Part Two will play this weekend in 200 IMAX theaters, topping out at 1,300 theaters in the eighth week of its theatrical run. It’s been an absolute smash hit, critically and commercially. And while we already know that Dune: Part Two, especially in IMAX, is a film that has wowed audiences since it bowed back in early March, the pull of Guadagnino’s Challengers is going to be, at least at the beginning, primarily due to the mega wattage of Zendaya, a star who has improved everything she’s been in (including the blockbuster Dune and Spider-Man franchises) but here gets to shine in a movie unattached to any major IP.

Challengers’ prospects are looking very good—it’s currently sitting at a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics reveling in how unabashedly pleasurable the viewing experience is and how Zendaya’s chemistry with her two co-stars, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor, creates an exhilarating tension.

“A funny, tempestuous, and exuberantly lusty story about how three athletic demigods see their destinies upended. And Guadagnino tells it the way he knows best, with a sometimes exasperating but ultimately irresistible surfeit of style,” is how the aforementioned Justin Chang sums it up in the New Yorker.

“Anchored by three arresting performances and playfully experimental direction, Challengers is fresh, exhilarating, and energetic,” writes Entertainment Weekly‘s Maureen Lee Lenker.

The excitement for Challengers has been growing—the first trailer served up more than 150 million global views, and, at the time, became the most-viewed trailer for an original film not based on pre-existing IP, a reboot, or a sequel in its first 24 hours.

Challengers is, in short, nothing at all like Dune: Part Two save for having a single, crucial Spice-like ingredient at its center—Zendaya.

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

Steven Spielberg Anoints “Dune: Part Two” a Masterpiece

“Dune: Part Two” Cinematographer Greig Fraser on Finding Clarity in Chaos

“Dune: Part Two” Cinematographer Greig Fraser on Poisoning the Light of Giedi Prime

“Dune: Part Two” Costume Designer Jacqueline West on Creating a Goth Rock God in Feyd-Rautha

Featured image: L-r: Zendaya stars as Tashi in director Luca Guadagnino’s CHALLENGERS An Amazon MGM Studios film Photo credit: Niko Tavernise © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved. ZENDAYA as Chani in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


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