Image: Warner Bros.

Dune fans who want to see Dennis Villeneuve’s take on Frank Herbert’s epic science-fiction novel when it debuts may have to venture out to cinemas after all. According to a Deadline report regarding Denzel Washington’s new thriller, The Little Things, Warner Bros. is considering moving the blockbuster back to a traditional theatrical release instead of debuting it simultaneously in both cinemas and HBO Max.

The supposed reason for this is to “preserve its franchise potential,” but we can’t help but think that all of the drama and controversy that has ensued from distribution partners and filmmakers had something to do with Warner executives getting cold feet. Film star Timothée Chalamet even donned a Legendary hoodie during his Saturday Night Live appearance earlier this month, signaling that the Dune team wasn’t thrilled with the idea of bringing such a big film straight to streaming.

“Battles big and small are being fought on numerous films,” Deadline wrote, noting that “Legendary is in a big fight that might result in lawsuits after it financed 75% of tent poles Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong and was completely blindsided.”

“Rumors have the solution to that breach being to preserve Dune as a traditional theatrical to preserve its franchise potential and since its October 1 release date falls well after the estimated late spring date when Covid vaccines should achieve herd immunity.”

Dune director Dennis Villeneuve is certainly upset over the HBO Max deal, having penned a lengthy letter to Variety earlier this month arguing that the decision does noting for cinema and was strictly enacted to increase the lukewarm subscription numbers of AT&T’s streaming service.

Dune is by far the best movie I’ve ever made,” Villeneuve boldly stated. “My team and I devoted more than three years of our lives to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie’s image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters.”

“I strongly believe the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what any Wall Street dilettante says,” the director added. “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.”

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  1. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 26029, member: 215″]
    How will that work after announcing they were releasing it?
    With my HBO max cancellation, thats how.

  2. “Franchise potential”-LOL! I admit that I did like Blade Runner 2049 and was looking forward to this but between character recasts and the trailers, I don’t have a lot of hope for this thing. Hope I’m wrong because I’m a big fan of the story but that trailer didn’t show enough to give a good impression outside of the worm.

  3. Why cut off an alternate avenue of revenue potential? Makes absolutely no sense. Cinemas are not going to magically go back to prior audience numbers at the end of next year.

  4. [QUOTE=”Armenius, post: 26042, member: 180″]
    Why cut off an alternate avenue of revenue potential? Makes absolutely no sense. Cinemas are not going to magically go back to prior audience numbers at the end of next year.
    This is a 100% pure release to gauge audience impact. If the audience bitches enough about not getting dune on max, then they will write a bigger check to the partners and those that get points on the project. If there isn’t enough complaining then they simply pull it from Max and avoid the headache.

  5. I so called this. I knew when it came time to release the big ones they would waffle. The movie chain execs were probably calling the WB CEO day and night screaming their heads off.

    I figured they would get away with Wonder Woman since it’s been done forever and was just sitting there being delayed over and over. But not the upcoming bigs like Dune and Matrix.

  6. If WB steps up to the plate with a big enough check then the studio’s will back off. Guaranteed money is a lot better than ‘if people will risk their lives to see DUNE’ money. They just need enough guaranteed income.

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