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Box Office: ‘Dune: Part Two’ Makes $12 Million in Previews, More Than Twice as Much as ‘Part One’

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It’s finally time to return to Arrakis.

Denis Villeneuve‘s “Dune: Part Two” has arrived, making a mighty $12 million in previews at the box office from more than 3,400 theaters. Big-screen Imax showings made up $4.5 million of that huge haul.

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s epic sci-fi sequel is projected to make between $70 million and $80 million in its opening weekend, with some estimates even putting it at the $90 million mark. A debut that big would make it the largest movie opening since last October’s horror hit “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” which launched with $80 million.

The preview grosses are more than double those of “Dune: Part One,” which made $5.1 million while debuting simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max during the pandemic. “Part One” opened with $41 million and ended its run with $402 million worldwide, one of the few box office successes of the pandemic.

Timothée Chalamet and his A-list “Dune” co-stars return for the follow-up about two and a half years after the original debuted in fall 2021. Chalamet’s Paul Atreides is on the run from the evil Harkonnen clan on the desert planet Arrakis. He bands together with the native Fremen people; falls in love with Zendaya‘s badass, blue-eyed Chani; rides a giant sand worm; and leads an army in the war against the Harkonnens.

Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem and Dave Bautista return from the first movie (the sequel boasts much more Zendaya, who only had a few scenes in the original). Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, Lea Seydoux and Anya Taylor-Joy join the franchise as characters from Frank Herbert’s sprawling novel.

The box office has been quiet so far this year, so “Dune 2” will be a much-needed shot in the arm for movie theaters. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, as Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge wrote, “Audiences spoiled by TV series such as ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘Succession’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ which juggled intricate strategizing with explosive confrontations over runs of many years, will find in Villeneuve’s multipart saga a satisfaction few films can offer. It’s an enormous gamble, given the expense of creating at this scale, and a vote of confidence in cinema, which still hasn’t recovered to the pre-pandemic level at play when the franchise was conceived. The fate of far more than Arrakis is riding on ‘Dune.’”