dune part two

Source: Warner Bros

‘Dune: Part Two’

Sci-fi blockbuster Dune: Part Two opens in 721 venues this weekend, carrying the hopes of many UK-Ireland cinemas after a slow start to 2024.

Denis Villeneuve’s sequel is Warner Bros’ fourth-widest opening of all time in the territory, after last year’s Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom  (749) and Barbie (724), and 2022’s Elvis (746).

It is opening on 62 sites more than Dune, which started in 659 venues in October 2021. That film began with a £4.8m weekend at a £7,210 average, dethroning James Bond title No Time To Die. It went on to a £22.1m total – a decent result in a market still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

Part Two will be aiming for a bigger result, following an extensive publicity campaign, and the successes of Warner Bros’ Barbie (£95.5m), Wonka  (£62.7m and counting) and Universal’s Oppenheimer (£58.8m) in the last 12 months.

The second film in Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, Part Two sees the exiled Paul Atreides unite with the Fremen desert people of the planet Arrakis to wage war against House Harkonnen.

Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and Lea Seydoux join an already-stacked cast of Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling and Javier Bardem from the first film.

It is an 11th feature film for French-Canadian filmmaker Villeneuve, who has increased his record box office for a single film with each of his last three titles (2016’s Arrival with £9.7m; 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 with £19.2m; Dune).

Cinemas have filled their schedules with screenings of the 166-minute feature, in the hope of recapturing the spirit of Barbenheimer from last summer. That seems rather distant now, with top five takings down 15.5% last weekend on the same session from 2023.


Despite Dune: Part Two’s domination, there is space for other releases. In a potentially canny piece of counter-programming, Universal is starting comedy-horror Lisa Frankenstein in 330 cinemas.

The film is the feature debut of actress Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late acting star Robin Williams. It is written by Juno scribe Diablo Cody, and follows a misunderstood teenage goth girl who develops a relationship with a reanimated Victorian corpse. Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse lead the cast.

Four Daughters

Source: Cannes International Film Festival

‘Four Daughters’

Amongst independent titles, Modern Films is starting Kaouther Ben Hania’s Four Daughters in 20 sites. A Cannes Competition premiere last year where the film won the L’Oeil d’or for best documentary in official selection, Four Daughters has gone on to multiple prizes, including best documentary at last weekend’s Independent Spirit Awards and Cesar Awards. It is nominated for best documentary at the Oscars this month.

The docu-fiction hybrid follows a Tunisian woman, the mother of four daughters, whose elder two daughters disappear; so Ben Hania invites professional actresses to fill in their absence.

Tunisian filmmaker Ben Hania broke out with 2017’s Beauty and the Dogs; before her 2020 feature The Man Who Sold His Skin was nominated for best international feature at the 2021 Oscars.

Signature Entertainment is starting animated sequel Combat Wombat: Double Trouble in 210 sites; the film is a sequel to 2020’s Combat Wombat, which went straight to digital in the UK and Ireland. In the sequel, an evil tech genius threatens to turn his city into a metaverse simulation, leaving Combat Wombat to save the day.

Curzon is opening Robin Campillo’s Red Island in 17 sites, after festival play at San Sebastian and BFI London Film Festival last year. The Madagascar-set drama follows a youngster living on a military base, who gradually becomes aware of territorial and sexual politics. Curzon released Campillo’s 120 Beats Per Minute to £201,508 in 2018.

Limited releases this weekend include Hilmar Oddsson’s Icelandic comedy Driving Mum in three sites through Tull Stories, expanding to further venues once Dune fever abates; and Lukasz Konopa and Emil Langballe’s child soldiers documentary Theatre of Violence in one cinema.

Dune: Part Two will squeeze the holdovers as much as the new releases; films looking to maintain some screen space including two-time number one Bob Marley: One Love through Paramount, and Studiocanal’s sweary comedy Wicked Little Letters.