Denis Villenueve has made it abundantly clear on more than one occasion that he’s hardly thrilled at the prospect of his sci-fi epic Dune being made available to HBO Max subscribers the same day the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel comes to theaters.
While it’s hardly an ideal situation for any of the talent or filmmakers involved, Villenueve arguably has more at stake than the majority of his peers. For the most part, Warner Bros.’ 2021 release calendar is comprised of either prestige dramas, mid budget thrillers, franchise fare and the odd standalone effort like this weekend’s Reminiscence, but the Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director has a sequel under threat.
Dune comes at a cost of $165 million and only tells one half of a story, and he’s admitted that the second chapter is almost entirely dependent on how the sprawling cosmic tale fares at the box office. Business is still in the dumps with no end to the downturn in sight, and in a new interview Villenueve stated his belief that watching his latest film for the first time on a television is ridiculous.
“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. The way it happened, I’m still not happy. Frankly, to watch Dune on a 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.”
As funny as the ‘speedboat in a bathtub’ analogy is, you can’t argue with Villenueve’s logic. All of the footage we’ve seen from Dune so far paints it as a movie that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible, and it doesn’t matter how good the setup in your living room is, you’ll never be able to replicate that experience at home.
Crossing his fingers and hoping for a solid commercial performance is one thing, but it’s up to audiences all over the world to ensure he gets the opportunity to bring the narrative to a close in a second chapter.