IMAX ‘runs out of seats’ for ‘Dune: Part Two’ and Legendary Entertainment ponders ‘Part Three’

March 7, 2024

After a two-month drought, “Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” has delivered a much-welcomed deluge of ticket sales to the domestic box office—and its success could bring a third franchise film to cinemas. The epic movie has opened with an estimated $81.5 million at the box office—the highest of any film released so far in 2024, reports CNBC.

The Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment film was buoyed by IMAX ticket sales, which represented around 23% of domestic ticket sales, or $18.5 million.

“The only reason it wasn’t higher is we ran out of seats,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX.

“Like an oasis in the desert, ‘Dune: Part Two’ is a sight for sore eyes across theatrical exhibition and all of Hollywood,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at

Gelfond noted that presales of the film were “really impressive” and that in many locations, tickets for IMAX screenings aren’t available until three weeks out.

“The lesson is that if you take a beautiful visual experience, a good story, and you put it in the hands of a brilliant filmmaker with an IMAX camera, you’re going to get very good results,” Gelfond said.

Notably, the entirety of “Dune: Part Two” was filmed using IMAX digital cameras.

Expectations from studio executives, theater owners and box office analysts are that the film will have a long tail in cinemas and continue to collect strong ticket sales in the weeks to come. Similar, Gelfond said, to Universal’s “Oppenheimer” and Disney’s “Avatar: The Way Of Water.”

Internationally, the film is expected to tally $97 million,—bringing its global haul to $178.5 million. IMAX represents 18% of all international ticket sales, the company said. The film will debut in China on March 8.

“I think this is a movie where you know the word of mouth is going to carry it,” Josh Grode, CEO of Legendary Entertainment told CNBC. “It is a stupendous piece of filmmaking. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve just about run out of adjectives.”

Grode didn’t dismiss rumors of a potential third film in the franchise, noting that, “We have to have all creative stakeholders aligned and support the vision.”

“I think everybody is very excited and really enjoying this moment and if Denis [Villeneuve] gets the script right and he feels that he can deliver another experience on par with what we’ve just completed then I don’t see why not,” he said.

“In any given box office year there is a turning point and in 2024 the ‘Dune: Part Two’ debut represents a milestone in a year bereft of blockbuster-sized offerings,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The box office year of ’24 officially kicked off this weekend two months late and not a moment too soon and will help build the much-needed momentum for March and beyond for movie theaters.”

Research contact: @CNBC