One of the most anticipated movies of the year, Dune is still a massive gamble for Warner Bros. After Warners dumped its 2021 releases on HBO Max, which breaks if users so much as think about rewinding, Dune director Denis Villeneuve went on the offensive. First, he published an op-ed in Variety accusing his studio of sacrificing its “entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention.” Now, determined to encourage fans to see this thing in theaters, the director has begun warning people of the consequences of a poor box office: No Dune Part 2.
Speaking with Total Film, Villeneuve broke it down for fans concerned about the future of Dune—won’t someone please think of the Children Of Dune. “There’s no such thing as ‘Dune 1’ and ‘Dune 2’,” Villeneuve said. “It’s Dune: Part One and Dune: Part Two.” The director seems to imply that we won’t be getting the complete experience if there’s no Part Two. He’s optimistic, but it’s not a sure thing. A disastrous box office would likely have Warner Bros. thinking twice about another $165 million Dune movie.
“So the first thing was to prove that there was a beautiful, popular movie that can exist, and I think that I proved that—everybody at Warner Bros and Legendary, they are 100 percent behind the project. They feel that it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have a Dune: Part Two, because they love the movie. They are proud of the movie, so they want the movie to move forward. And they still did half of it.”
Of course, it’s not all spice and rainbows out there at the moment. There’s still a pandemic ravaging the world, so if people see this movie in theaters, they should get vaccinated and wear their stillsuits—er, masks. Obviously, there’s a lot to consider when going to the movies these days, and Villeneuve isn’t ignorant of the state of the movie industry. He simply wants audiences to experience the movie on a big-ass screen.
“First of all, the enemy of cinema is the pandemic. That’s the thing. We understand that the cinema industry is under tremendous pressure right now. That I get.” Still, the director is “not happy” with the decision to dump these movies on a broken app for puny TV sets. “Frankly, to watch Dune on a television, the best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub. For me, it’s ridiculous. It’s a movie that has been made as a tribute to the big-screen experience.”
Nevertheless, Villeneuve is still writing Part Two, and at least the director is having a good time:
“I’m writing [Part Two] now, and I feel like I’m eight years old again,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve experienced it where I’m watching one of my movies, and I have a moment of deep gratitude, of deep joy.”
Dune: Part 1 hits theaters on October 22.