Denis Villeneuve Says Releasing Dune On HBO Max Was 'A Bad Decision'

Dune was one of 2021's biggest and most successful films, as a sequel was greenlit just a week after its release. While the sci-fi blockbuster racked up big numbers at the box office, it's very likely that the film would've garnered much more if it were released exclusively in theatres. Now, Denis Villeneuve has shared his displeasing thoughts on Warner Bros.' decision to release the film simultaneously on HBO MAX.

Due to the heightened tensions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and moviegoers at the time being uncertain about the safety of movie theatres, as well as a vaccine was not being available, Warner Bros. created its hybrid model in late 2020 that would see all of its 2021 slated films released in theatres and on HBO Max at the same time for a month. While the decision made sense in terms of giving all moviegoers a chance to see the new films, including Dune, many filmmakers like Villeneuve and director Christopher Nolan were opposed to it.

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“I think it was a bad decision,” Villeneuve told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview. “I designed the movie to be seen in the theater, not on TV. If people are in a safe environment, it needs to be seen on the big screen.” Even if Villeneuve is against the hybrid model, the director still seems to be on good terms with the studio, as he is set to begin filming Dune: Part Two in July 2022.

The film is based on Frank Hebrert's acclaimed 1965 novel of the same name and has been regarded as impossible to adapt into a feature film due to the complexity and heftiness of the source material. Dune has been Villeneuve's dream project since when he was child, as the director has claimed that if the opportunity ever came up where he could direct his own adaptation, he definitely couldn't pass it up. While there have been many attempts to adapt Herbert's work, Villeneuve finally seemed to have captured the spirit and tone of the novel.

Greig Fraser, who served as cinematographer on the 2021 adaptation of Dune, felt working with Villeneuve on his dream project was a seamless and very enjoyable process. According to Fraser, watching Villeneuve realize the ideas he's had since childhood was "absolutely fascinating."

Dune follows the Atreides family accepting the stewardship of the dangerous desert planet Arrakis (also referred to as Dune), which contains the most valuable substance in the universe known as the "spice." But taking control of a planet with such value means greater conflict for the family to face. The Dune sequel will cover the second half of the novel.

Dune is now available on digital and Blu-Ray while Dune: Part Two is set for a October 20, 2023 theatrical release.

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Source: Los Angeles Times

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