A lot is riding on the success of Dune. The Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi epic drama, which carries a reported $165 million budget, has been highly anticipated but the simultaneous release it’s getting on streaming via HBO Max and in theaters, has some concerned that it will mute the film’s box office potential and prevent Part II of the film from getting made. Well, according to a report from “Variety“, Warner Bros. has said if the film is also embraced on HBO Max, the film will get its follow-up.
What we don’t know is how much it needs to be embraced on HBO Max to be determined a success. All that is known is that insiders say the HBO Max deal gives Villeneuve assurances that “diminished box office revenues don’t prohibit the director from having the chance to make his follow-up film. If Dune is embraced by HBO Max subscribers, they say they will move forward with a follow-up.” That’s encouraging news for those worried that the film’s box office would be the only barometer of success. Just look at Warner Bros.’s very own The Suicide Squad. The $185 million film has made a mere $55.2 million to date at the domestic box office. Even its global take of $165.2 million isn’t enough to make up for its losses which is why so many are worried the same fate could be waiting for Dune. Warner Bros. hasn’t been 100% transparent about how well The Suicide Squad has done during its run on HBO Max. I’m sure it has done well on the platform but is it enough to justify its price tag and move forward with a third film? Warner Bros. has been pretty silent on the matter.
Dune recently premiered at The Venice Film Festival and also made the rounds at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film carries an 87% fresh rating so far on Rotten Tomatoes and Villeneuve has continued to push that the film needs to be seen on the big screen. Villeneuve was never happy with the HBO Max deal but behind the scenes, things were done to smooth a lot of the details out. New deals were made with the creatives and the film’s sprawling ensemble cast to reflect the HBO Max release and Legendary Entertainment, who financed the majority of the film, was given the option to push the film again into 2022 since this release model only affected the 2021 Warner Bros. film slate but no one involved wanted to delay the film again. This is why moves were made to keep everyone relatively happy. It did come down to the wire though. Dune premiered this month in Venice and the deals weren’t finalized until the middle of August. Other films impacted by the HBO Max release plan had been completed months prior.
Hopefully, Warner Bros. keeps its word on this. Cerebral sci-fi is a tough sell during a normal box office climate so Dune is fighting an uphill battle in terms of generating solid box office revenue. If its performance on HBO Max is also a factor, it’s looking a bit better that Villeneuve and his team will be able to complete Dune’s story as intended.
Dune follows the son of a noble family that is entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy. Villeneuve has gathered an impressive ensemble cast for the film including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.
Do YOU think Dune will perform well enough to get its follow-up made?