Denis Villeneuve has confirmed that his upcoming movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune will be released in two parts.
The news will come as a relief to Dune fans. David Lynch previously tried to adapt the entire 550-page novel as one two-hour movie in 1984 and structurally it didn't work (various director's and editor's cuts that clock in at over three hours were more successful). SyFy adapated the book as a four-hour mini-series in 2000 which was altogether more coherent as a story, but lacked the production values necessary to depict the action convincingly (even down to trying to film desert scenes in a studio).
Villeneuve and Paramount are also likely considering the disappointing box-office returns of Villeneuve's previous movie, Blade Runner 2049. Despite blanked critical acclaim (now bolstered by two Oscars), the film barely broke even at the box office and is banking on strong DVD and Blu-Ray sales to get it into profitability. The film's long running time (approaching three hours) appears to have been the factor that put a lot of people off seeing the film in the cinema and Villeneuve apparently even considered splitting the film in two, but the studio was not keen on the idea.
Villeneuve also says there may be "more than two" Dune movies, suggesting he may be considering adapting (possibly as a producer, not necessarily directing the whole thing) all six books of the Dune canon.