Dune Director Says Warner Bros. Might’ve Killed The Franchise


Warner Bros. recently announced that all of their 17 blockbuster titles for 2021 will release on HBO Max as well as in theaters, prompting a lot of rage and backlash from industry experts and Hollywood talent alike. Now, Dune director Denis Villeneuve has claimed in a recent interview that this move by WB might potentially kill all of the franchise’s future prospects.

Over the past couple of years, many have voiced their concerns about the rising interest in streaming platforms. Lately, especially amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Disney+ have grown exponentially in terms of household subscriptions, so much that a lot of people would even prefer to skip the whole moviegoing experience and watch films from the comfort of their sofas. While that seems like an inevitable ordeal, given the natural evolution of these mediums, some directors feel like studios shouldn’t push to aggravate this divide between movie enthusiasts.

Take Christopher Nolan, for instance, who’s had a lot to say about Netflix and their policies towards cinema in the last few years. Now, the legendary filmmaker is on the frontline of fighting this new decision by WB, assisted by a number of his high-profile colleagues, namely Denis Villeneuve, whose highly anticipated Dune is another one of the victims here.

The star-studded remake will be heading to theaters on October 1st, 2021, but it’ll also release simultaneously on HBO Max. The director doesn’t seem to favor this decision, though, and recently had some harsh words to say about WB’s move in an op-ed for Variety.

“With this decision AT&T has hijacked one of the most respectable and important studios in film history. There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here. It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion. Therefore, even though Dune is about cinema and audiences, AT&T is about its own survival on Wall Street. With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention,” he wrote.

“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.”

Villeneuve is regarded as one of the best directors of our time for his work on features like Sicario and Arrival. Though unfortunately, the marketing machine behind most of his films usually fail to generate enough buzz and hype for audiences, a tragic fate that befell the otherwise masterfully written and directed Blade Runner 2049 as well. Let’s just hope he’s wrong about WB’s decision and we still get that Dune sequel he’s planning.