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Denis Villeneuve's ‘Dune 2'

Denis Villeneuve's sequel - sporting an A-list cast led by Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya - opened to an estimated $81.5 million in North America this weekend, double the first film and the biggest opening of the year to date. It's a major win for Legendary in broadening the audience for its Dune franchise.

The film also did huge business in Imax theaters, which delivered $32.2 million of the total global gross, or a notable 18 percent. In 10 markets, Imax enjoyed its biggest opening ever. Like his friend Christopher Nolan, Villeneuve shot part of the movie with Imax cameras.

Throughout the weekend, Warner Bros. tried to manage expectations and suggested Dune 2 would debut more in the $72 million to $75 million range. The sci-fi genre can be a tough sell, and Villeneuve's films runs two hours and 46 minutes. Also, many wanted to see Dune in Imax and other premium formats.

After enduring one of the worst early winters in years (outside of the pandemic), theaters are banking on the movie to usher in a steady stream of event fare that was delayed by last year's labor strikes.


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