Dune Lands Best Opening For HBO Max Day And Date Release — What Does This Mean For Part 2?

After much anticipation, multiple delays, and much (heated) discussion about the decision to release the film both in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, "Dune" has finally arrived in theaters domestically. As it turns out, things are going quite well in these early days, even with the hybrid release, as director Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic has set a record for a Warner Bros. day-and-date release on HBO Max.

Per Deadline, "Dune" mined $17.5 million at the domestic box office Friday. That includes $5.1 million from preview showings. This is also the best opening day for any movie directed by Villeneuve. For comparison's sake, "Blade Runner 2049," another attempt to bring an '80s sci-fi franchise back to life for modern audiences, earned $12.6 million on its opening day back in 2017, en route to a $32.7 million opening weekend. Currently, estimates have the adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic novel coming in somewhere in the high $30 million range come Monday morning.

As has been the case with every single Warner Bros. movie this year, "Dune" is also currently available for free to subscribers on HBO Max. Not only is there plenty of evidence to suggest this cuts into the box office, but Villeneuve has been adamant about the idea that he crafted this movie for the theatrical experience. The big question here is whether or not the film can earn enough to warrant the sorely hoped-for Part Two.

Dune Sequel Prospects Look Good

The good news is "Dune" is doing better than any other Warner Bros. movie has this year at the box office, at least in the early going. If the HBO Max numbers are also good, it seems safe to assume that the studio will let Villeneuve loose to craft his second installment. Beyond that, who knows? But things look promising. Heading into the weekend, the movie had already earned $129.7 internationally. It is important to note that the movie's budget is said to be somewhere in the $160 million range, not accounting for marketing. For what it's worth, WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff already strongly hinted that "Dune: Part Two" will happen.

Helping matters is the A CinemaScore, as well as the 83 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go with a stellar 92 percent audience rating (as of this writing). It's early, but it appears Warner Bros. may have dug up another franchise.

"Dune" is in theaters and streaming on HBO Max now.

A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, "Dune" tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.