Warner Brothers may have just killed the Dune franchise.
The negotiations with Warner Bros. HBO Max, where the studio will release its films in 2021 day and date via a streaming service, has not been very successful for several parties. Christopher Nolan has already set the studio on fire and openly called HBO Max the worst streaming service. Now another director, Denis Villenev, the director of Dune, who is expected to be here next year, has destroyed the decision of the studio, which is based on high profits, because he complains that the studio may have just destroyed the Dune franchise.
In a stern letter published on Variety’s website, Vilnev expressed his contempt for Warner Bros. and explained that the studio, controlled by its parent company AT&T, has gone from a haven for creative talent to a place where there is no love for film. The studio’s total and utter contempt for cinema draws a clear line for Vilnius, who seems to change his mind again about working with the studio.
I learned that Warner Bros. has decided to release Dune on HBO Max at the same time as our movie release, using great footage from our movie to promote their streaming service. With this solution AT&T has conquered one of the most prestigious and important studios in the history of cinema. There is absolutely no love for the cinema or the audience. We’re talking about the survival of the telecommunications mammoth, which currently has an astronomical debt of over $150 billion. So while Dune is about cinema and audience, AT&T is about survival on Wall Street. When the launch of HBO Max failed, AT&T decided to sacrifice the entire year 2021 in a desperate attempt to gain public attention.
Although he understands the importance of streaming services, Vilnev says that streaming alone cannot sustain the industry as we know it. Film revenue is important and with the simultaneous introduction of movies on streaming platforms, each high definition movie will be accessible to pirates who can ruthlessly tear it up and share it online. Wilnew understands this fact and doesn’t hide the fact that he mentions it in his letter.
Streaming services are a positive and powerful addition to the film and television ecosystem. But I want viewers to understand that streaming alone cannot sustain the film industry as we knew it before VIDOC. Streaming can provide large content, but not films the size and scale of a dune. Warner Brothers. This solution means that the Dune has no chance to be financially viable and that piracy will eventually prevail. Warner Brothers could have destroyed Dune simply by destroying the Dune franchise.
Vilnev and his team worked on Dune, its effects and sounds for the theatre experience and dedicated almost three years of their lives to it. The tragic thing for Vilnius is that it ends so quickly on the small screen, and the director expressed his solidarity with other filmmakers who have suddenly learned the news and are now in the same boat.
Dune is without a doubt the best movie I’ve ever made. My team and I have worked over three years of our lives to make it a uniquely large screen. The image and sound of our film have been carefully designed to be seen in the cinema.
I speak for myself, although I am in solidarity with sixteen other filmmakers who are suffering the same fate today. I want you to know that I’m with you and we’re strong together. It is the artists who make the films and soap operas.
Finally, at the end of the letter, Vilnev expresses the hope that the future of cinema is in the theatres, on the big screen.
With such strong lyrics by famous filmmakers, Warner Bros. has certainly turned their most important creative talent upside down. It remains to be seen whether the studio is ready to change its mind and regain the confidence of the directors, or whether she will stick to her plans and let the ensemble of her filmmakers smoke and cook with anger about this betrayal.
By the time Dune becomes 1. October 2021 in the cinemas and broadcasted on HBO Max.
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