Director Denis Villeneuve’s epic science fiction film Dune is set to hit cinemas in October, with a simultaneous release on the HBO Max streaming service. Although he understands the pressure that studios are under due to the pandemic, the director is still very unhappy with his film being broadcast this way.
In an interview with Total Film, Villeneuve expressed his disappointment with the situation and referred to the global pandemic as the enemy of cinema. “First of all, the enemy of cinema is the pandemic. That’s the thing. We understand that the cinema industry is under tremendous pressure right now. That I get.”
While he seems to have accepted the studio’s new business model, the Dune director is still not pleased with how it came about. “The way it happened, I’m still not happy,” he told the publication. “Frankly, to watch Dune on television, the best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub. For me, it’s ridiculous. It’s a movie that has been made as a tribute to the big-screen experience.”
In 2020, Warner Bros announced that each of its 2021 films will be released in theaters and on HBO Max concurrently. The revolutionary decision was due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The move also allowed the studio to maximize their movies as revenue events on its streaming service, while still helping theaters to remain open.
Almost eight months later Warner Bros has stood by its decision, leaving directors to make the best of a tough situation. As such, Villeneuve’s plight is understandable since Dune’s overall performance could affect the sequel. But the director feels rather optimistic about part two of his film.
“So the first thing was to prove that there was a beautiful, popular movie that can exist, and I think that I proved that. Everybody at Warner Bros and Legendary, they are 100 percent behind the project. They feel that it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have a Dune: Part Two because they love the movie. They are proud of the movie, so they want the story to move forward.”
Based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. All the while, malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s supply of melange, a precious resource necessary for both space travel and immortality.
In the trailer, viewers were introduced to the planet, Arrakis with its breathtaking but desolate desert scenery. It also touches on the emotionally charged journey that Paul Atreides has ahead of him. And finally, we get a glimpse of Frank Herbert’s infamous sandworms.
Unlike previous versions, the new Dune will only adapt the first half of the book. A sequel with Zendaya in the lead has been planned to cover the rest. In the novel, Chani Kynes (Zendaya) is a member of the Fremen and the daughter of Liet Kynes – the imperial ecologist and planetologist of Arrakis. She forms a close bond with Stilgar (the leader of the Fremen) and features prominently in the second half of the book.
Dune is scheduled to have its world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 3rd and be released theatrically on October 22nd. The film will have a simultaneous release on the HBO Max streaming service for 31 days.