Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve, the man behind the highly anticipated Dune, says his new franchise faces the threat of being “killed” off.
Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve has written a scathing op-ed slamming a Warner Bros. decision to release his upcoming sci-fi movie Dune at the cinema and on the streaming services at the same time.
The studio announced last week they would be using this hybrid release model for its entire 2021 film slate, including Dune, The Matrix 4 and Godzilla vs. Kong.
“There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here,” Villeneuve said in his essay on the Variety website.
He said the decision was about the survival of a ‘telecom mammoth’ AT&T, which owns Warner Bros.
“AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention.”
Villeneuve isn’t the first director of his calibre to speak out against Warner Bros. for its decision to move films to HBO Max.
Last week, The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan unloaded on WarnerMedia for sending Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 movie slate directly to US streaming service HBO Max, due to America’s ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Villeneuve continued: “Warner Bros.’ sudden reversal from being a legacy home for filmmakers to the new era of complete disregard draws a clear line for me. Filmmaking is a collaboration, reliant on the mutual trust of team work and Warner Bros. has declared they are no longer on the same team.”
“Streaming can produce great content, but not movies of Dune’s scope and scale,” the director wrote. “Warner Bros.’ decision means Dune won’t have the chance to perform financially in order to be viable and piracy will ultimately triumph. Warner Bros. might just have killed the Dune franchise.”
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Last week in his critcism, Christopher Nolan accused HBO Max of being “the worst streaming service,” and warned that filmmakers will no longer want to work with Warner in the wake of its industry-shattering decision.
“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” said Nolan in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter.
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“Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theatres and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak,” he continued. “They don’t even understand what they’re losing.
“Their decision makes no economic sense, and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”