How Much Money Dune 2 Could Make On Opening Weekend?

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Written By Maya Cantina

If “Barbenheimer” was the theatrical movie event of last year—and it clearly worked out for both of those films, between Oppenheimer‘s awards dominance and Barbie‘s billion-dollar box-office turnout—then Dune: Part Two is undoubtedly in the running for the movie event of 2024. 

Given the fervor around Villeneuve’s first adaptation of the Frank Herbert classic—2021’s Dune brought in a cool $41 million in its opening weekend from 4,125 theaters across North America and went on to gross a worldwide total of $434.8 million—movie pundits are expecting to see an even more sizable turnout for the epic sci-fi sequel. Per outlets like Deadline and Variety, projections for Villeneuve’s big-budget sequel are targeting $70 to $80 million in North America during opening weekend, and another $80 to $90 million being pulled in from international markets. 

Though the film’s distributor, Warner Bros. Pictures, is being conservative with its own opening weekend numbers—starting expectations are set around the $65 million mark for North America—box-office prognosticators believe the 2024 space opera could score a massive $170 million global debut during that first March weekend. 

Denis Villeneuve’s return to Arrakis is one of the most anticipated movies of the year, with an all-star Dune 2 cast that includes returning actors Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and Josh Brolin, as well as high-profile newcomers like Florence Pugh, Austin Butler and Anya Taylor-Joy. (Yes, that secret casting is no longer much of a secret.)

An opening take-in of $170 million would nearly clear the $190 million it reportedly cost to make Dune: Part Two, with Legendary Pictures taking on the bulk of the financing. A film of this scope and size requires a lot of money, from the high salaries of that megastar cast to the heavy marketing plan needed to promote the film (though the less said about those NSFW novelty popcorn buckets, the better) to the far-flung, real-life locales and extensive visual effects used to portray the desert planet. 

To be successful, ScreenRant notes, Dune: Part Two would need to earn $380 million to break even and $475 million to profit due to its high budget, which was considerably loftier than the first Dune, a comparative bargain at $160 million. 

But there’s one thing the sequel has going for it that its predecessor didn’t: Dune 2 will have an exclusively theatrical rollout, including IMAX and 70mm IMAX theaters. That greatly differs to how Dune was handled, with that film being released simultaneously in United States theaters and the streamer formerly known as HBO Max on October 22. The first Dune did end up making an impressive amount of money in its first day of release, but that decision to offer it same day on a streamer no doubt cut into those box-office bucks. 

With box offices slowly but steadily bouncing back from the economic uncertainty of the lengthy writers’ and actors’ strikes of 2023, a big theatrical hit would be just what the industry needs to find its footing again. It looks like Dune: Part Two might just be the movie to do it. 

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