'Dune 2' Starts Off Big at the Box Office, Raising $81.5 Million.  

Big sandworms are propelling “Dune: Part Two” to the top of box office statistics.  

The big-budget sequel directed by Denis Villeneuve grossed $81.5 million in its domestic opening, a much-needed boost for ailing theaters.   

This year's greatest opening weekend is the largest since Taylor Swift's "The Eras Tour" ($93 million) in October.  

“This is an outstanding opening for a science-fiction [sequel],” adds Franchise Entertainment Research's David A. Gross.   

Warner Bros., which adapted Frank Herbert's famous 1965 novel, conservatively estimated a $65 million opening for the weekend,..

...but most box office prognosticators predicted sales beyond $80 million.  

The sequel grossed $97 million internationally, bringing its global total to $178 million.

“It’s really permeated the culture,” says “Dune” producer Mary Parent. “All signs indicate a long play.”   

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