Why is the Dune 2 popcorn bucket going viral?

Why is the Dune 2 popcorn bucket going viral?

Following its debut weekend, “Dune 2” has already amassed a global box office revenue of £147m ($182.5m). However, it’s not just the star power of Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya that attracted fans to theaters; the film’s limited-edition popcorn bucket, introduced by AMC in honor of the movie, has garnered a devoted following of its own.

The popcorn bucket is certainly distinctive, resembling a sandworm, or Shai-Hulud, native to the planet Arrakis. To access the popcorn inside, fans must navigate their hands past the creature’s plastic teeth. Videos showcasing the bucket have gone viral on platforms like TikTok, inspiring a “Saturday Night Live” skit and drawing humor from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. Surprisingly, fans don’t appear deterred by the novelty – or the suggestive nature – of the snack container. The popularity of the bucket is undeniable, although the cast of the film seems less enthused.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, the stars expressed a borderline discomfort with the widespread embrace of the quirky merchandise. Zendaya remarked on the challenge of retrieving popcorn from the bucket, noting how it seems to “pull” the popcorn out of one’s hand, while Josh Brolin, visibly unsettled, quipped, “I’m not sticking my hand in there.”

Despite the cast’s reservations, the sandworm popcorn buckets have proven to be a successful marketing gimmick. This success isn’t entirely surprising, given the long-standing tradition of memorable merchandise associated with “Dune” films. The 1984 adaptation by director David Lynch boasted unique collectibles, including sandworm action figures that remain sought after, fetching high prices on platforms like eBay. Additionally, relics like the Dune lunchbox and thermos endure as coveted items available on Etsy.

“Dune” isn’t the first film to leverage pricey, fan-targeted popcorn receptacles in its marketing strategy. Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” film, for instance, featured its own themed popcorn tins, modeled after the character’s iconic pink Corvette. This marketing tactic proved successful, contributing to the film’s record-breaking opening weekend and driving significant sales of Barbie-related merchandise.

The phenomenon of movie merchandise extends beyond “Dune” and “Barbie,” encompassing iconic franchises like “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park.” Merchandise sales for these films have reached staggering figures, with “Frozen” and “Harry Potter” among the highest-grossing in the industry’s history. Social media plays a pivotal role in driving merchandise sales, serving as a platform for fans to showcase their collections and fueling excitement surrounding film releases.

Ultimately, whether it’s for sentimental value or as a display of fandom, movie merchandise continues to captivate audiences and contribute to the cultural phenomenon surrounding beloved franchises. And in the case of the sandworm popcorn bucket, its quirky allure has undoubtedly sparked conversations and social media buzz surrounding “Dune: Part Two.”