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Denis Villeneuve: ‘Dune Part Two’ Theatrical Window ‘Non-Negotiable,’ 2023 Date ‘Kind of a Burden’

"Dune: Part Two" will play in theaters exclusively for 45 days before streaming.



Warner Bros.

Denis Villeneuve issued a brief statement after Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. confirmed “Dune: Part Two” would be going into production for an October 20, 2023, release date. “It was a dream of mine to adapt Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ and I have the fans, the cast, and crew, Legendary and Warner Bros. to thank for supporting this dream,” he said. “This is only the beginning.” Now in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Villeneuve opened up more about the chance to continue his “Dune” franchise on the big screen. Unlike the first installment of “Dune,” which debuted in theaters on the same day it became available to stream on HBO Max, “Part Two” will get an exclusive 45-day theatrical window.

“For me, it was a non-negotiable condition,” Villeneuve said about the window. “But again, I love streaming. I use streaming all the time. I think it’s a fantastic way of revisiting movies or discovering movies from the past that are not accessible in theaters anymore. But I still think that contemporary movies need to have their chance. All movies need to have proper time in theaters.”

Villeneuve continued, “The theatrical experience is at the very heart of the cinematic language for me. There’s something about committing. The act of going to the theater means you’re totally committing yourself. You’re engaging in the process of receiving a movie with a different rhythm, a different approach and a vision. For that, you have to be fully committed. It’s part of the ritual to receive cinema. At home, you’re in front of your computer, you’re taking the dog outside or you’re answering your phone.”

It’s no surprise Villeneuve ensured an exclusive theatrical window for “Dune: Part Two,” as he openly criticized Warner Bros. when the studio announced it was moving “Dune” to a hybrid release model. Warner Bros. decided in December 2020 to shift its entire 2021 theatrical slate to a theatrical and HBO Max–streaming release model. The director said at the time, “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.”

For Villeneuve, it’s going to be something of a sprint to get “Dune: Part Two” shot and edited to meet its October 2023 release date. Per The Hollywood Reporter: “Villeneuve estimates that the earliest he could begin shooting would be in the fall of 2022.” That gives Villeneuve a year to turn the film around from when cameras start rolling to when the tentpole opens in theaters.

“It’s fantastic news, but it’s also kind of a burden,” Villeneuve said of the date. “The good news is that a lot of the work has been done already regarding design, casting, locations and writing. So we’re not starting from scratch. It’s not a long period of time, but I will try to face that challenge because it’s important for me that the audience sees ‘Part Two’ as soon as possible. It’s not a sequel where it’s another episode or another story with the same characters. It actually has direct continuity to the first movie. It’s the second part of the big huge movie that I’m trying to do. So the sooner the better.”

“Dune” is now playing in theaters nationwide and streaming on HBO Max.

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