Dune is a big movie. Big sets. Big stars. Big worms. And now, a pretty big—though, not massive—box office earner. With $17.5 million in returns from Friday and $5.1 million from Thursday preview screenings, director Denis Villeneuve’s pricy franchise-starter is off to a respectable start at the domestic box office.
That’s nothing to scoff at for an ambitious, alienating, and deeply weird science fiction movie in which characters scream “Desert! Power!” multiple times and Stellan Skarsgård swims in a pool of black goo. But, thanks to solid reviews, marvelous special effects, and Timothée Chalamet stans around the country, Dune is no longer poised to be this week’s The Last Duel. In fact, analysts believe the film will finish the weekend with 10 times the amount Duel brought in, with estimates around $35 million or more.
Worldwide, Dune has ridden its thropter to $134 million against a $165 million production budget. Dune’s take must be a relief to Warner Bros., which, despite director Denis Villeneuve’s wishes, did the old day-and-date release model for the film, simultaneously launching it on HBO Max and in theaters and hampering its box office a bit.
It should also come as a relief to Dune fans anxious for a sequel. The film (full title: Dune: Part One) is only half of a complete work, with the picture ending right as the plot actually gets into motion.
Nevertheless, the studio, which has thus far hesitated in formally announcing a sequel, seems intent on continuing to mine Arrakis for all its spice with a Bene Gesserit-focused prequel series on the way and strong hints that a sequel is in the works.
Earlier this week, Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff all but publicly greenlit the sequel. “Will we have a sequel to Dune?” Sarnoff told Deadline. “If you watch the movie you see how it ends, I think you pretty much know the answer to that.”
Neither Warners nor HBO have released any of the streaming numbers for the film. But we assume they, too, were strong, considering the lack of competition this weekend and the strong buzz around the film.
As for David Lynch, whose 1984 version of Dune has been dragged into the conversation regarding the recent adaptation, he doesn’t seem too concerned with Villeneuve’s version of things. In his Friday weather report, the dreamy auteur who did his time in the dunes of Arrakis mentions thinking about the Captain Beefheart song “The Dust Blow Forward ‘N The Dust Blows Back,” which feels oddly appropriate.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]