Now that Denis Villeneuve's Dune is finally in the United States after making its way to the UK and China, as well as other larger markets for weeks earlier, American audiences have had a chance to watch the sci-fi epic. Perhaps, more importantly, it was an opportunity to assess the possibility of Warner Bros. greenlighting the second part of the movie adaptation based on the novel of the same name.
And, what do you know - Dune broke a small but rather significant WB/HBO Max record.
What does Dune's box office take mean for the sequel?
According to Warner Bros., Dune is the first WB/HBO Max hybrid release movie to pull in $31.6 million at the box office on its opening date. Dune beat out both studio projections and the previous record holder, Godzilla vs. Kong. In total, Dune had an opening weekend box office take of $40 million, which is above the studios' $35 million projection. Not to mention, it's a good sign for the sequel, which Warner Bros. is yet to confirm.
Warner Bros.' hybrid schedule has received a lot of flack, and rightfully so. It's been blamed for the lackluster opening of several movies, including James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. By making movies available on HBO Max and theaters simultaneously, WB effectively gimped a movie's ability to draw audiences into theaters on purpose.
Christopher Nolan is one of those that was very vocal about his displeasure with Warner Bros. release strategy. His distaste led to him breaking his long-time partnership with the studio, eventually finding a willing dance partner with Universal Pictures for his Oppenheimer biopic starring Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt.
As we mentioned in an earlier article, Dune is a two-part movie. Because Warner Bros. hasn't greenlit a sequel yet, we can only assume that the studio was waiting to see how well Dune performed at the local box office. So, even if Dune's record isn't amazing, by any means, it might still be good enough for the studios involved to give Villeneuve a chance to do the second part that could release in a relatively COVID-free world sometime in 2023, if not 2024.
Here's to hoping that this is indeed the case. But, if it did happen, we suspect Villeneuve will ask for an exclusive theatrical release for the sequel, much like Christopher Nolan's demands when he was shopping Oppenheimer around.