Dune director says HBO Max threatens future of franchise

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Last week we dedicated a large chuck of our africast to discussing the Warner Bros. decision to simultaneously release its 2021 blockbusters in theatres and HBO Max (US only). Already the likes of Christopher Nolan has voiced his displeasure at the decision, and now Dune director, Denis Villeneuve, has done something similar.

More specifically he’s penned an op-ed in Variety talking about the HBO Max deal, and the potential ramifications for filmmakers as a result. Villeneuve singled out AT&T (which owns Warner Bros.) in particular for its decision, saying that it has hijacked the studio.

He also notes that the Dune series of films that he is planning, which starts with next year’s release, is now in jeopardy as a result.

“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,” writes the director.

“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,” he adds.

Much like Nolan, Villeneuve acknowledges that safety be the primary concern at this moment, and that a full theatrical release would be irresponsible, but he also says that he designed Dune with the specific intention of it being showcased in theatres.

“‘Dune’ is by far the best movie I’ve ever made. My team and I devoted more than three years of our lives to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie’s image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters,” he explains.

While we understand the need for AT&T and Warner Bros. to have made this decision, we still side with the filmmakers on this one.

Our is hope that the decision for 2021 is only a precaution against the pandemic for films that have already been shot, and not the plan the studio takes post-COVID19.

[Source – Variety]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.