Denis Villeneuve has more than proven that he’s capable of tackling visually spectacular and thought-provoking sci-fi, but the commercial results have been much more mixed that the critical ones. Arrival made over $200 million at the box office on a $47 million budget and became one of the biggest awards season favorites of 2016, where it wound up with eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, ultimately walking away with a solitary prize for Best Sound Editing.
Meanwhile, as the long-awaited sequel to one the greatest and most iconic sci-fi movies ever made, Blade Runner 2049 came burdened with much more pressure, and while it was enthusiastically received by critics, the box office numbers were disappointing for a $185 million blockbuster. That being said, it did win Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography.
Now, the Prisoners director is going three for three in the genre, with his latest effort being another attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel Dune for the big screen. Those involved with the movie have touted exciting things, and have even compared it to The Lord of the Rings, but without a trailer to go on, the jury is still out.
Dune is currently slated to arrive in December, but we’re nonetheless hearing from our sources – the same ones that told us Ben Affleck would be returning as Batman in The Flash a month before it was confirmed – that Warner Bros. are seriously considering delaying it until next year when the theatrical industry has returned to something close to normality.
Adult-orientated sci-fi is always a hard sell at the box office, and with Dune rumored to cost up to $200 million and only tell half a story with a sequel already in development, the studio are keen to protect their investment and release it at a time when it’s guaranteed to make as much money as possible. A final decision hasn’t been made just yet, but if the box office fails to show serious signs of recovery in the coming months, then we’re told that there’s a very high chance that the pic will be pushed back.