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Denis Villeneuve ‘Very Optimistic’ He’ll Make ‘Dune Part 2,’ but Not If ‘Part 1’ Bombs at Box Office

Villeneuve believes streaming "Dune" on a television is a "ridiculous" choice.

“Dune”

Venice Film Festival

Denis Villeneuve is feeling confident that he will get the chance to make “Dune Part 2,” which he isn’t even viewing as a sequel to his upcoming “Dune” movie that’s being released this October. As the director told Total Film magazine, “There’s no such thing as ‘Dune 1’ and ‘Dune 2.’ It’s ‘Dune: Part One’ and ‘Dune: Part Two.'” Villeneuve only agreed to direct an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel for Warner Bros. and Legendary if they let him split the book into two parts. The director is now writing “Dune Part 2” and said it would take a “Part 1” box office disaster for the next film not to get made.

“We have been hearing in the past few decades that it’s not possible to adapt this book, and that it’s an impossible task. I think that in the back of the mind of the studio, it’s still the same!” Villeneuve told Total Film with a laugh. “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. So, you know, I’m very optimistic.”

Figuring out whether or not “Dune: Part One” is successful enough to warrant “Dune: Part Two” will be somewhat difficult for the public. Warner Bros. is releasing the movie in theaters on the same day it becomes available to stream for 31 days on HBO Max. The streaming launch will surely cut into the film’s prospective box office total, but Warner Bros. will be watching the box office as closely as it’s watching HBO Max subscriber gains when “Dune: Part One” becomes available to stream. Villeneuve condemned the decision to move “Dune” to streaming, and he still thinks it’s nonsensical to watch “Dune” in a non-theater setting.

“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 said. “The way [the HBO Max decision] 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.”

Villeneuve said he’s now writing “Dune Part 2” and feeling “like I’m eight years old again.” In a separate interview from earlier this month with Italy’s La Repubblica, the director added about the next movie, “I am honored to present two such explosive talents on screen [Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya] and I can’t wait to shoot the second part of ‘Dune’ to get them back together. Knowing that in the next chapter Zendaya will be the [female main character].”

“Dune” launches October 22 in theaters and HBO Max. The film will have its world premiere September 3 at the Venice Film Festival.

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