Denis Villeneuve’s Dune has scored the best opening day for a Warner Bros. theatrical/HBO Max day-and-date released so far, but is it enough to get a sequel? $17.5 million on Friday has put the estimate at $33 million for the weekend domestically. Rivals are saying it’s going higher, closer to $40 million. It is already knocking on the door of $150 million worldwide thanks to earlier overseas releases.
For context, before the pandemic, Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 had a $12.6 million opening Friday. In the Warner / HBO day-and-date category Godzilla vs. Kong did $11.8 million.
As usual, people will be watching the drop with the HBO Max option available and a run-time of over 2.5 hours.
Critics are digging it. We gave it 4.5 stars in our review and a critics score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. audiences edge higher at 92% on the site. Luxury tickets are IMAX venues are also unusually high, with the message seemingly sinking in that the scale of the movie means it is worth the extra.
China chipped in $15.6 million in its first two days despite partial closures caused by what seems like the ninth wave of COVID for them.
So what of the sequel? The title card clearly said Dune Part 1. The movie ends approximately one-third of the way through the book, clearly open. The final word’s of the movie are Chani telling Paul:
“This is only the beginning…”
So are we going to get a sequel? Several internet outlets who like to vaguely wave their hands mysteriously while citing “sources” and “insiders” have claimed it is already a done deal and Dune Part II is on the way. Villeneuve himself says he is ready for a 2022 shoot. With an ensemble cast, they need to move quickly or scheduling becomes an issue.
There is hope, as Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff has given a pretty clear indication just this weekend. In an interview with Deadline, Sarnoff would not confirm outright, but did have this to say:
“Will we have a sequel to Dune? If you watch the movie you see how it ends. I think you pretty much know the answer to that.”
With so much to come and the reception so high, it would seem remiss of the studio to not take the opportunity. With the quality of the movie so high and leaving all fans wanting more, it would be a crime against cinema if they don’t at least finish this first story. As long as we get more Sardukar’s ceremonies with Mongolian throat singing then we will be happy!