Even if we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic, Dune would be far from a guaranteed hit at the box office. Sure, Frank Herbert's novels have many devotees and a lot of fans are looking forward to the upcoming movie, but then, the same could be said about Blade Runner 2049.
Denis Villeneuve's recent sequel to Ridley Scott's classic was a hit with critics and movie-goers (at least, the ones who showed up) alike, but it failed to make much of a dent in the box office. Now, the acclaimed director has another bleak, thoughtful, multimillion dollar sci-fi project coming up, and there is a lot of concern that Dune is destined for the same reaction.
The major difference is, while 2049 was a relatively self-contained story, Dune is a "Part 1 of 2." Still, despite the current climate, Villeneuve says he's optimistic that the sequel will happen.
"Everybody at Warner Bros and Legendary, they are 100 percent behind the project," he tells Total Film. "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. So, you know, I’m very optimistic."
The filmmaker is in the process of writing the script for Part 2, but is still not happy about Dune's simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max debut.
"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," Villeneuve concedes. "The way it happened, I’m still not happy. 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."
Dune is set for release on October 22, and we'll just have to wait and see what kind of reception awaits it. For now, you can check out some new stills from the movie below.