Thursday, April 18, 2024

‘Dune: Part Two’ Races to $97 Million at International Box Office

Director Denis Villeneuve’s otherworldly sequel has generated $97 million from 71 overseas markets, bringing its global tally to a promising $178.5 million. Those worldwide revenues include $81.5 million from North American theaters, where it landed the biggest domestic opening weekend of the year.

The movie, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, has been embraced in the U.S. and Canada. But the backers of “Dune 2” need overseas audiences to keep the ticket sales flowing as freely as spice on the desert planet of Arrakis. That’s because Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment spent $190 million to produce and roughly $100 million more to promote the film to global audiences. Those hefty fees mean the tentpole will require outsized admissions to turn a profit.

At this rate, though, the second “Dune” already looks well positioned in its box office run. It helps that the movie has been especially popular in Imax and other premium large formats, which cost more than the average ticket and accounted for 48% of initial sales.

In 2021, the original “Dune” was hobbled in North America because it debuted simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. But the film was granted a traditional run at the international box office. (Well, as traditional as it gets at a time when many countries still had capacity restrictions in place due to the pandemic). Even with those limitations, “Dune” powered to an impressive $324.8 million overseas and $402 million globally.

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The sequel marks the largest opening weekend of Villeneuve’s career in all 71 markets, meaning it improved upon the first film in every territory. “Part Two” enjoyed the biggest international start in the United Kingdom with $11.8 million, followed by France ($9.6 million), Germany ($9.1 million), Korea ($6.9 million) and Australia ($6 million). It has yet to open in China or Japan, two major overseas markets.

Positive word-of-mouth and interest in all things Imax should keep the ticket sales flowing for “Dune: Part Two.” Based on the second half of Frank Herbert’s massive book, the story continues the mythic quest of Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, who seeks safety in the desert after powerful royals betray his family. Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken join the sprawling cast of Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Stellan Skarsgård.

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