Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. announced on Tuesday that “Dune: Part Two” has been greenlit after the first film’s $41 million opening in North America this past weekend. Denis Villeneuve will return to direct the sequel, which is set for release in October 2023.
“Legendary is pleased to officially move forward with Dune: Part Two…once again based on the amazing books written by Frank Herbert,” read the statement from Legendary announcing the sequel. “We would not have gotten to this point without the extraordinary vision of Denis and the amazing work of his talented crew, the writers, our stellar cast, our partners at Warner Bros., and of course the fans! Here’s to more Dune.”
“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,” Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement. “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.”
“Dune” has received critical and audience praise since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and while the film’s theatrical run will only yield minimal profits at best with $225 million grossed so far against a $165 million budget, Warner’s plan is to turn Frank Herbert’s books into a crossplatform franchise, both in theaters and on HBO Max, and are thus looking at streaming metrics and other data to measure the film’s success.
“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.”
The film follows Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the heir of an aristocratic family that has been tasked with mining precious resources on a desert planet called Arrakis and who is prophesized to be the Lisan al-Gaib, a messiah who will liberate the Fremen, the people of Arrakis who have fought those attempting to colonize it. The sequel will adapt the second half of “Dune” as Paul continues his training under the guidance of the Fremen.
The October 2023 release slate still has a long way to be fully formed, as the only other major wide release in place that month is Universal’s reboot of “The Exorcist” starring Leslie Odom Jr. and Ellen Burstyn on Oct. 13. Disney recently pulled a placeholder for a Marvel Studios film from that month as part of a slate-wide shuffle.
Prior to that, Chalamet will also appear in Warner Bros.’ “Wonka,” a prequel film about the famed Roald Dahl candyman directed by Paul King that will be released in March 2023. Chalamet’s “Dune” co-star, Zendaya, will appear in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” this December.