Dune probably won’t pull in the haul that Warner Bros. may be hoping for when it’s released in theaters, but a sequel will still happen as long as enough people are still streaming the movie at home. After previous delays, Dune is currently scheduled to release theatrically in October. On that same day, it will also be released on HBO Max where it will stream for 31 days.
Ideally, Dune is best enjoyed on the big screen, at least that’s what director Denis Villeneuve had in mind for the movie. Even so, the reality is that many potential filmgoers are avoiding the theater with COVID cases on the rise. There will be people who will prefer to stream Dune at home rather than miss out on the movie entirely. Fortunately, these viewers tuning in will contribute toward Villeneuve getting his planned sequel greenlit.
Variety reports that a deal is in place for filmmakers and talent to be handsomely rewarded for movies that are given a day-and-date release. It’s noted that Dune will almost certainly make less money than it would have if it were playing in theaters only, but this alone will not adversely affect the future of the franchise. Reportedly, the HBO Max deal gives Villeneuve assurances that “diminished box office revenues won’t prohibit him from having the chance to make his follow-up film.” In other words, as long as HBO Max subscribers embrace Dune, Dune 2 will likely happen.
Last year, Villeneuve publicly criticized the studio’s decision to give Dune a day-and-date release. Per Variety, the director stated, “Streaming can produce great content, but not movies of Dune‘s scope and scale. Warner Bros.’ decision means Dune won’t have the chance to perform financially in order to be viable and piracy will ultimately triumph. Warner Bros. might just have killed the Dune franchise. This one is for the fans. AT&T’s John Stankey said that the streaming horse left the barn. In truth, the horse left the barn for the slaughterhouse.”
He added, “I strongly believe the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what any Wall Street dilettante says. Since the dawn of time, humans have deeply needed communal storytelling experiences. Cinema on the big screen is more than a business, it is an art form that brings people together, celebrating humanity, enhancing our empathy for one another – it’s one of the very last artistic, in-person collective experiences we share as human beings.”
Based on the Frank Herbert story, Dune is written by Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts, and Eric Roth. It stars an ensemble cast including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.
Dune is scheduled to be released in theaters on Oct. 22, 2021, after recently holding its world premiere at Venice. The early reviews have been mostly positive, so let’s hope this translates into high viewership on HBO Max so the sequel can happen. Meanwhile, a spinoff series called Dune: The Sisterhood is already in early development at the streamer. This news comes to us from Variety.