Following some strong worded comments from Warner Bros. darling Christopher Nolan after WarnerMedia announced they would be adding their entire 2021 film slate on HBO Mac with a day-and-date release alongside theaters, a model that is expected to become the new norm at WarnerMedia even post-pandemic.
There were even some signs earlier in the week that Legendary Entertainment could end up filing a lawsuit against WarnerMedia for not being consulted prior to the announcement and the industry unions are also displeased which could lead to a boycott of the company.
Dune director Denis Villeneuve has chosen to write an opinion editorial on Variety laying out his concerns. I selective some of the key segments which you can read below but I would advise people read the entire opinion piece in full.
Warner Bros.’ sudden reversal from being a legacy home for filmmakers to the new era of complete disregard draws a clear line for me. Filmmaking is a collaboration, reliant on the mutual trust of team work and Warner Bros. has declared they are no longer on the same team.
Streaming services are a positive and powerful addition to the movie and TV ecosystems. But I want the audience to understand that streaming alone can’t sustain the film industry as we knew it before COVID. 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.
Public safety comes first. Nobody argues with that. Which is why when it became apparent the winter would bring a second wave of the pandemic, I understood and supported the decision to delay Dune’s opening by almost a year. The plan was that Dune would open in theaters in October 2021, when vaccinations will be advanced and, hopefully, the virus behind us. Science tells us that everything should be back to a new normal next fall.
I’m speaking on my own behalf, though I stand in solidarity with the sixteen other filmmakers who now face the same fate. Please know I am with you and that together we are strong. The artists are the ones who create movies and series. Once the pandemic is over, theaters will be filled again with film lovers. That is my strong belief. Not because the movie industry needs it, but because we humans need cinema, as a collective experience.
Denis is rightfully upset because he’s currently working on a second film titled Dune: Part Two with screenwriter Jon Spaihts covering the second part of the original Dune novel by Frank Herbert and is producing an HBO Max series titled Dune: The Sisterhood that Denis is expected to direct. There are still five original books to adapt into feature films with even more subsequent installments from Frank’s son Brian Herbert and franchise writing partner Kevin J. Anderson.
DUNE – A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
The science fiction property was the inspiration for Star Wars as key elements were lifted by George Lucas and if given the right chance could become a global success story after the David Lynch version from 1984 become a famous flop.