Warner Bros. Is Thinking about Moving Dune Back to a Traditional Theatrical Release to “Preserve Its Franchise Potential”

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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.”

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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