The Spice Flows As Dune Passes $100 Million At The International Box Office

Director Denis Villeneuve's latest big-budget, sci-fi epic is adapted from a complex — but incredibly influential — story. It's not much of a stretch to say that the entire project came with built-in expectations among certain circles of potentially flopping at the box office, considering the general (and now pandemic-affected) moviegoing habits of wider audiences who may not be familiar with the source material ... but reports of the demise of "Dune" may have been greatly exaggerated. More than two weeks before it's set to release in U.S. theaters, "Dune" has already reached the $100 million threshold in international markets and the risky gamble seems to have paid off.

Dune Makes Its Mark

Warner Bros. may have found out the hard way that fear is indeed the mind-killer, but a hefty sum of box office profits in the early going could be exactly the shot of confidence the studio needed to help justify such an exorbitant production. "Dune" first opened in some international markets on September 17, 2021 with a $36.8 million opening weekend. After its third weekend of early release, the film has now added another $13.7 million to bring its total to an estimated $100.3 million overall. According to Collider, this has put "Dune" comparatively ahead of the likes of "Tenet" (by 11%), "Black Widow" (58%), "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" (65%), and "Godzilla vs. Kong" (91%) at similar points in their respective releases.

That said, "Dune" has been somewhat outpaced by the frenzy surrounding its current competition. Both "No Time to Die" and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" have also achieved over $100 million worldwide, buoyed respectively by the final sendoff of Daniel Craig from the role that vaulted him to stardom and the meme-factory rom-com antics of the Eddie Brock/symbiote dynamic. "Let There Be Carnage" smashed pandemic-era box office records with relative ease on its way to the number one spot while "No Time to Die" has exceeded its tracking estimates.

However, this is still an incredibly solid performance for "Dune." Adapted from the Frank Herbert novel and coming after David Lynch's previous attempt to bring the complicated novel to life in 1984, expectations for Villeneuve have been sky-high since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival (you can read /Film's review by Marshall Shaffer here). This trio of (so-far) successful performances by highly-anticipated blockbusters will likely renew calls that "The movies are back ... for real this time!", but it's important to keep things in perspective and recognize the early results for "Dune" as precisely what they are: an impressive showing for sci-fi/fantasy story that many have considered to be near-unadaptable.

"Dune" is scheduled for its domestic release in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22, 2021. Be sure to keep a finger on /Film for updates on the film's continued box office performance in the days and weeks ahead.