Dune is releasing this week in the United States. As part of the promotion, director Denis Villeneuve has been quite open about the fact that this movie is a “part one”. The director knew he was taking on an ambitious project that many didn’t believe could be done well. He knew that director David Lynch saw his own Dune adaptation fail at the box office when it was released in 1984. Still, the director has been adamant that Dune is a part one, and that audiences won’t get the full story until there’s a part two. Perhaps the director’s insistence on this point has helped guide the studio to move forward in the direction he wants to see. A trusted and proven inside source for Giant Freakin Robot has now shared with us that Warner Bros has greenlit Dune 2.
Getting the cast back for part two is not going to be an easy feat. Part one includes major actors like Timothee Chalamet, Jason Momoa, and Oscar Isaac. The director has already expressed that Chani, played by Zendaya, will have a major role to play in Dune 2. While we know that the sequel has been greenlit, we aren’t sure how far along the studio is in lining up the schedules of these in-demand actors. That may be a bigger feat than actually making the movie itself.
In 1984, David Lynch’s Dune was released to box office tragedy, bringing in less than its budget. The Frank Herbert book is considered one of the most influential sci-fi novels. It’s also a difficult novel to read for those who aren’t familiar with science-fiction and is widely considered to be a very difficult story to adapt for the screen. These factors made box office success for Denis Villeneuve’s new movie, and therefore Dune 2, a point of concern.
The greenlight for Dune 2 is likely to come as a major relief to audiences who’ve been looking forward to this adaptation for a long time. It’s frightening to go into an epic film knowing that it’s a “part one” without the second part necessarily ever being made. The pressure on Dune to do well at the box office so that fans can see Dune 2 has been high, and ultimately, nerve-wracking. After all, Warner Bros is releasing Dune in movie theaters and on HBO Max at the same time. This will likely impact how well the epic does at the box office. However, many speculate that the HBO Max numbers may matter more to the studio at this point than the theatrical release itself. Certainly, this early green light for Dune 2 indicates that the box office numbers aren’t the only factor the studio considers when making a sequel these days, important as it may be.
Still, the box office numbers are already coming in for part one. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is releasing in 4,100 US movie theaters this week. It’s been released in several other countries already, putting its international box office earnings at $129 million to date. The production budget was $165 million, which is likely an estimate for how much Dune 2 will require as well. Because part one is releasing on streaming for HBO Max and in US movie theaters at the same time, will be hard to judge the financial success of the movie. Warner Bros isn’t likely to give out an estimation on what their earnings are for the movie via streaming.
For fans, the box office numbers won’t be quite the issue to overcome as they normally are. Audiences are free to watch the upcoming part one knowing Dune 2 is on the way, eventually.