Dune 2's Massive Budget Sets Historic Milestone for Director

By David Thompson Posted:
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune

It's official, Dune 2 has already set a new financial record for director Denis Villeneuve before it even hits theaters.

The stakes are high for Dune: Part Two, with Warner Bros. having delayed the movie out of 2023 for its star-studded cast to properly promote it. It was originally scheduled to be released during the Hollywood actors' strike.

Considering the potential, this appears to have been a shrewd move by Warner Bros., which has now poured money into the marketing campaign which includes some Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, and Austin Butler promoting the film non-stop.

What's the Most Expensive Denis Villeneuve Movie

Dune Part 2
Warner Bros.

Dune: Part Two reportedly (via Variety) has a budget of $190 million, making it the most expensive movie ever by director Denis Villeneuve.

2021's Dune cost $165 million to make and ultimately earned $402 million globally at the end of its box office run.

Before Dune 2, a fellow sci-fi sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was reportedly the director's most expensive film, coming in at $185 million (per The Numbers).

Other popular films by Villeneuve like Arrival, Prisoners, and Sicario, utilized significantly smaller budgets. For reference here's a look at the budget for all eight Villeneuve-directed films:

  1. Dune: Part Two - $190 million
  2. Blade Runner 2049 - $185 million
  3. Dune - $165 million
  4. Arrival - $47 million
  5. Prisoners - $46 million
  6. Sicario - $30 million
  7. Incendies - $6.8 million
  8. Enemy - Unknown

However, the story of Dune warranted the massive cost and WB is hoping it results in an even greater box office performance.

[ Dune 2 Sandworm Popcorn Bucket Explained: Where You Can Get It ]

Will Dune 2 Turn a Profit?

Heading into its first weekend in theaters, Dune: Part Two is hoping to amass $80 million at the domestic box office.

Some important context to remember is that the first Dune by Villeneuve was simultaneously streaming on HBO Max. With that considered, its $434.8 million global haul was more than impressive.

Considering the slow pace, dense sci-fi, and the lack of conclusion (as it was a part one), Dune was a triumph for the studio, leading to this franchise adding more notable talent and increasing the budget.

So far so good, as Dune: Part Two is sitting at a 95% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and is being called by someone of the best direct sequels in history. 

This positive word-of-mouth will likely enrich its earnings, possibly getting audience members on the fence to embark on the nearly three-hour epic.

The Direct previously predicted that Dune 2 could rake in $700 million total worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. 

If it were to hit this mark, it would certainly be profitable and possibly warrant another sequel, moving into Frank Herbert's novel Dune Messiah.

Dune: Part Two is now playing in theaters worldwide.

Read more about Dune: Part Two

Dune Part 2 Streaming: When Will It Release Online?

Dune 3 Gets Frustrating Release Update from Director

Dune 2 Gets Unsurprising Rating

- In This Article: Dune: Part 2
Release Date
March 01, 2024
Rebecca Ferguson
Timothée Chalamet
- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.