IMAX Sold Out for ‘Dune: Part Two’, Legendary Eyes ‘Part Three’ Production

After a two-month drought, “Dune: Part Two” has delivered a much-welcomed deluge of ticket sales to the domestic box office — and its success could bring a third franchise film to cinemas. The Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment film opened with an estimated $81.5 million at the box office, the highest of any film released so far in 2024.

“Like an oasis in the desert, ‘Dune: Part Two’ is a sight for sore eyes across theatrical exhibition and all of Hollywood,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic, the second in the Dune franchise, was buoyed by IMAX ticket sales, which represented around 23% of domestic ticket sales, or $18.5 million.

“The only reason it wasn’t higher is we ran out of seats,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. Gelfond noted that presales of the film were “really impressive” and that in many locations, tickets for IMAX screenings aren’t available until three weeks out.

“The lesson is that if you take a beautiful visual experience, a good story and you put it in the hands of a brilliant filmmaker with an IMAX camera, you’re going to get very good results,” Gelfond said.

Notably, the entirety of “Dune: Part Two” was filmed using IMAX digital cameras.

The official 'Dune: Part Two' movie poster has been revealed, featuring Paul and Chani.
“Dune: Part Two” debuts with $81.5 million, the highest in the 2024 box office. (Credits: Dune News Net)

Expectations from studio executives, theater owners, and box office analysts are that the film will have a long tail in cinemas and continue to collect strong ticket sales in the weeks to come. Similar, Gelfond said, to Universal’s “Oppenheimer” and Disney’s “Avatar: The Way Of Water.” Internationally, the film is expected to tally $97 million, bringing its global haul to $178.5 million.

IMAX represented 18% of all international ticket sales, the company said. The film will debut in China on March 8. “I think this is a movie where you know the word of mouth is going to carry it,” Josh Grode, CEO of Legendary Entertainment told CNBC. “It is a stupendous piece of filmmaking. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve just about run out of adjectives.”

Grode didn’t dismiss rumors of a potential third film in the franchise, noting that, “We have to have all creative stakeholders aligned and support the vision.”

“I think everybody is very excited and really enjoying this moment and if Denis [Villeneuve] gets the script right and he feels that he can deliver another experience on par with what we’ve just completed then I don’t see why not,” he said.

The strong opening for “Dune: Part Two” comes after the film was removed from the 2023 movie calendar because dual Hollywood labor strikes made it impossible for cast members to promote the film publicly.

Cast of Dune Part 2
The cast’s extensive promotion, including junkets and late-night appearances, boosts the film’s visibility and anticipation. (Credits: The Arab News)

Grode noted that Legendary Entertainment struggled with the decision to move the film out of its November slot and to a new date in March. However, he felt that without a marketing campaign “that matched the movie” the film might not reach as many moviegoers.

“Hindsight is always 2020, but I think it may be absolutely the right decision,” he said.

The film’s cast has been heavily promoting the film for weeks, participating in junkets, video interviews, and appearing on late-night shows. Even the stars’ premiere outfits have been making headlines, driving more awareness of the film’s release.

Alongside industry veterans such as Christopher Walken, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Dave Bautista, “Dune: Part Two” features four of the biggest young stars in Hollywood: Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh and Austin Butler.

Heading into the weekend, the domestic box office had tallied less than $900 million in ticket sales through the first two months of the year, a nearly 18% drop from the same period in 2023, according to Comscore data. A boost at the beginning of the year could prove critical to a box office that’s still struggling to reclaim $10 billion in domestic annual ticket sales, a mark last seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In any given box office year there is a turning point and in 2024 the ‘Dune: Part Two’ debut represents a milestone in a year bereft of blockbuster-sized offerings,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The box office year of ’24 officially kicked off this weekend two months late and not a moment too soon and will help build the much-needed momentum for March and beyond for movie theaters.”

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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