For Dune alone, it seems like WarnerMedia has reversed its US release strategy of simultaneous cinema and home releases.
For some time now, WarnerMedia has been left to count the cost of its bold decision to release its entire 2021 slate on HBO Max, their streaming platform, at the same time as cinemas. The announcement, which came back in December, may have driven subscribers to its growing streaming platform, but it also incensed a lot of the creators who partner with Warner Bros.
Christopher Nolan may well have ended his long partnership with the studio over the decision. Several filmmakers and stars have reportedly negotiated large settlements in lieu of performance-related payouts, and what’s more, the company may well have damaged its relationship with Legendary, a key co-financier of its big-budget blockbuster projects.
Reports emerged shortly after the original announcement that Legendary was looking to take legal action to block WarnerMedia’s plans, an understandable move considering that Legendary had financed up to 75% of some of the films effectively being given away for free on a streaming service in which it had no stake.
One of those films was Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune, a reimagining of Frank Herbert’s celebrated series of novels. It’s been suggested that Legendary was particularly upset with the decision to push the film into homes at the same time as cinemas, because it believed that this would undervalue the property, damaging the film’s chances of starting the multi-movie franchise that it had envisaged.
Negotiations in this area have been ongoing, with reports emerging today, via Deadline, that Dune will receive a 45-day exclusive theatrical window after all, with the film set to release on October 1st. Clearly, WarnerMedia has weighed up the potential outcry from subscribers against upsetting one of its most important financial partners, and decided that maintaining its relationship with Legendary is of paramount importance. We’d argue that it may have made a wise decision there.
It is worth noting that the Head of Warner Bros Communications has already refuted this story in a tweet you can find below. Until there’s an official announcement, we’ll have to wait and see just how this story will play out.
— Johanna Fuentes (@jfuentes) May 17, 2021
Dune is set to release on the same date here in the UK, where it will also receive an exclusive run in cinemas and frankly, we’re very much looking forward to it.
Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:
Buy our Film Stories and Film Stories Junior print magazines here.
Become a Patron here.