‘Dune: Part 2’ Trailer Sees Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet Prepare for War (Video)

The sci-fi sequel is one of a handful of key year-end Warner Bros. theatrical releases

The second trailer for “Dune: Part Two” arrives presumably in time to play with opening weekend showings of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” meaning there will absolutely be time for a third sell between now and mid-November. This sweeping, very serious 184-second sell promises mass battle scenes, epic confrontations, new characters played by Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken as well as plenty of handwringing as to whether Paul Atreides’s destiny is to become a chosen one closer to Harry Potter or Anakin Skywalker.

Legendary’s shot-on-Imax film, opening courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery on Nov. 3, will be the second half of a two-part theatrical adaptation of Frank Herbert’s first 500-page tome. It will again feature Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya alongside franchise vets who survived the first film, like Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista and Josh Brolin.

The film, again directed by Denis Villeneuve and adapted for the screen by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts, will essentially kick off the year-end holiday blitz all the way through New Year’s Day. While the first picture was unofficially anointed as a savior of high-toned, prestige blockbuster cinema in October of 2021, this sequel will face comparatively more competition from Marvel’s “The Marvels” and Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” in November and Warner Bros. and Chalemat’s own “Wonka” and Warner Bros.’ own “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” in December.

The first “Dune” earned rave reviews and won six Oscars while grossing $110 million domestically and $402 million worldwide. Sans COVID-related variables, and whatever lost viewership occurred due to concurrent HBO Max availability in North America, that might have been a disappointing figure for a $165 million sci-fi epic.

However, the film was seen as a commercial success, over the long term, with the hope that the sequel would build on that gross due to the first film’s relative popularity and a return to more conventional theatrical windows. Whether the film would have earned more in non-COVID and non-Project Popcorn times is an open question, as the likes of “The Conjuring 3” ($197 million) and “Godzilla vs. Kong” ($470 million) earned on par with or better than what might have been expected in conventional circumstances.

On the plus side, history shows that the halfway decent “part II” of a well-received “part I” will out-earn its predecessor. Think “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” or the last two “Avengers” movies. That’s also good news for the two-part finales, both beginning this summer, of “Fast and the Furious” and “Mission: Impossible.”

However, “Dune Part II” is not the finale of a long-running cinematic saga, but rather just a very long book that was divided into two long movies. There isn’t a lot of cinematic precedent for a franchise beginning with a two-part saga, which will also make this film’s performance a test case for Universal’s two-part, Jon M. Chu-directed “Wicked.”

Considering the extent to which Warner Bros. Discovery is being watched with a microscope at the moment, the theatrical departments have a grand opportunity to end the year on a high note if “Wonka,” “Dune: Part Two,” “The Color Purple” and “Aquaman 2” all deliver something approaching best-case-scenario critical and commercial theatrical receptions.

Heck, if “Barbie” lives up to the hype next month and “The Nun 2” plays closer to “The Conjuring 2” than “The Conjuring 3,” well, the most important message WBD’s theatrical divisions can project is that they are more than just Batman and Harry Potter. Paul Atreides may be as pure a hero for the Fremen as hoped, but he could be one of a handful of saviors for Warner Bros. Discovery.