Denis Villeneuve will finally get to fulfill his two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune.” Following an opening weekend at the box office of $41 million-plus stateside, Legendary Entertainment has officially given the greenlight to “Dune: Part Two.” That’s great news for fans of the first film, which opened on October 22, because it begins with the title card “Dune: Part One” and ends on a cliffhanger as Paul Atreides joins the Freman at the film’s end to bring peace to the desert planet of Arrakis. Warner Bros. will release “Dune: Part 2” in theaters October 20, 2023.
Per Deadline: “We understand that a key point of negotiations between Legendary and Warner Bros was that Part 2 of this cinema spectacle would be given a pure theatrical window; no day/date HBO Max release plans are in the mix.”
Globally, “Dune” has earned $220 million and counting at the box office. Warner Bros. was waiting to see how well the film performed at the box office and on WarnerMedia-owned HBO Max before giving the official go to director Villeneuve, who’s already well at work on the script for “Part Two.”
“I just received news from Legendary that we are officially moving forward with ‘Dune: Part Two,'” Villeneuve said in a statement. “It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ and I have the fans, the cast, and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream. This is only the beginning.”
Toby Emmerich, Chairman Warner Bros. Pictures, added, “Denis Villeneuve has crafted a film that is both visually extraordinary and emotionally transporting, as evidenced by its global success both critically and at the box office. We are thrilled to continue on this journey with Denis and his cast and crew, and our partners at Legendary, and can’t wait to bring the next chapter of this epic tale to theaters in October 2023.”
Still, throughout the film’s long-running press tour, beginning while the film was in post-production during lockdown and continuing through the film’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Villeneuve remained confident he would get the chance to make Part Two. As the director told Total Film magazine, “There’s no such thing as ‘Dune 1’ and ‘Dune 2.’ It’s ‘Dune: Part One’ and ‘Dune: Part Two.’” Villeneuve said that he only agreed to direct Herbert’s novel for Warner Bros. and Legendary if they let him split the book into two parts. It would have to take a total box-office disaster for “Part Two” not to get made. Earlier this week, Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff all but confirmed the sequel was happening.
“We have been hearing in the past few decades that it’s not possible to adapt this book, and that it’s an impossible task. I think that in the back of the mind of the studio, it’s still the same!” Villeneuve recently told Total Film. “The first thing was to prove that there was a beautiful, popular movie that can exist, and I think that I proved that — everybody at Warner Bros and Legendary, they are 100 percent behind the project. They feel that it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have a ‘Dune: Part Two,’ because they love the movie. They are proud of the movie, so they want the movie to move forward. And they still did half of it. So, you know, I’m very optimistic.”