Dune: Part Two looks to be far bigger than Denis Villeneuve’s first adaptation of the novel, both in terms of story and box office success.
There are several ways in which Dune: Part Two is going to be bigger than Denis Villeneuve’s first Dune adaptation. Villeneuve always envisioned his first Dune movie to be the first entry in a two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 sci-fi novel. However, Dune: Part Two was not guaranteed to be made, only being greenlit after the first Dune was successful at the box office and HBO Max in late 2021.
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was not the first time that Frank Herbert’s novel had been adapted into a film either. Avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky had tried to create an adaptation in the 1970s, while David Lynch actually succeeded in adapting the novel in 1984. However, Lynch’s film was heavily criticized as messy and difficult for people who hadn’t read the book to understand (Lynch later disowned the film). Villeneuve’s adaptation succeeded by only adapting the first half of the novel, instead of the whole thing, allowing audiences to fully understand the movie’s complicated political intrigue and universe. It also allows Dune: Part Two to focus solely on adapting the novel’s epic climax.
Dune: Part Two Is A Much Bigger Story Than Part One
With Dune: Part Two being an adaptation of the second half of Frank Herbert’s novel, it has a far bigger scope to tell a much larger story. With most of the set-up for the story complete in Villeneuve’s first Dune adaptation, Dune: Part Two can now focus on depicting the epic climax of the Herbert novel, filled with double-crosses, dangerous visions of a potential future, and Fremen riding sandworms into epic battles.
Dune: Part Two also has a bigger scope than the first in terms of its cast. Joining the already impressive ensemble cast for Dune: Part Two are Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV, Florence Pugh as the novel’s narrator Princess Irulan, and Elvis‘ Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, the heir of the evil Baron Harkonnen. The bigger scope of both Dune: Part Two‘s story and cast mean that the film has more than enough potential to be even more successful than the first.
Dune: Part Two’s Box Office Should Really Beat Part One’s
The other way in which Dune: Part Two should be bigger than the first is in box office returns. Villeneuve’s first Dune adaptation had a significant handicap in terms of box office, due to its simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max. Although it was Warner Bros’ second film to make over $100 million at the US box office during the COVID pandemic, this was not enough money to break even, given the film’s $165 million budget. However, Dune was more successful in foreign markets, grossing nearly $300 million outside the US.
The sequel, Dune: Part Two, therefore, has the opportunity to be far more successful at the box office than Dune‘s total takings of $402 million. It neither has to worry about a loss of theatrical earnings, either due to home streaming and piracy or being released at the height of a pandemic. This potential for even more success than Villeneuve’s first Dune film means that Dune: Part Two could even make the director’s wish for a Dune Messiah film adaptation come true.
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