‘Dune: Part Two’ Shatters Box Office Records With Huge $81.5 Million Debut

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The box office is back in full force thanks to “Dune: Part Two,” the highly anticipated sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic. The film, starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh and a host of other stars, raked in a whopping $81.5 million in its first weekend in North America, making it the biggest opening of 2024.

Warner Bros., the studio behind the otherworldly saga, had projected a more modest $65 million start, but the film exceeded expectations and drew rave reviews and enthusiastic word-of-mouth from fans and critics alike. It has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A” grade from CinemaScore audiences.

“Dune: Part Two” is especially impressive in Imax and other premium large formats, where it accounted for 50% of its domestic revenue. The film, which cost $190 million to produce and another $100 million to market worldwide, is co-produced and co-financed by Legendary Entertainment.

The film is based on the second half of Frank Herbert’s massive novel, and continues the story of Paul Atreides (Chalamet), who leads a rebellion against the tyrannical empire that controls the desert planet of Arrakis and its precious resource, the spice. The film also features Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Austin Butler, Christopher Walken and many more in its sprawling cast.

The sequel’s opening grosses have far surpassed the original “Dune,” which debuted in 2021 to $41 million while being available simultaneously on HBO Max.

“Dune: Part Two” was originally scheduled to be released last fall, but it was pushed back to spring because of the actors strike that prevented the film’s stars from promoting it. The film’s new release date proved to be advantageous, as it faced no competition from other new releases and benefited from pent-up demand from moviegoers who haven’t seen a blockbuster in weeks.

The film’s star, Chalamet, has cemented his status as one of the most bankable and versatile actors of his generation, following his acclaimed roles in “Call Me By Your Name,” “Little Women,” “The French Dispatch” and “Wonka.”

The film’s director, Villeneuve, has also established himself as one of the most visionary and ambitious filmmakers working today, following his previous films such as “Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049” and “Dune: Part One.”