Dune 2 Coming To Theaters Exclusively Was "Non-Negotiable," Director Says

Dune 2 happening is "fantastic news, but it's also kind of a burden," Denis Villeneuve says.


Dune 2 is finally confirmed, and now director Denis Villeneuve has shared some insight into the deal to make the movie, when cameras could start rolling, and more.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Villeneuve said said he understood that Warner Bros. and Legendary "really believed in" the Dune series, and the only way they wouldn't have made a sequel would be if the film posted "catastrophic" numbers at the box office, he said with a laugh.

The director also said he's feeding off the energy and enthusiasm of the audience who has seen Dune and wants more. "Even from a very egocentric point of view, that joy gives me energy. That's what I will say. If it was the opposite and nobody had shown up to the theater, I don't know where I would find the necessary stamina to face the challenge of Part Two," he said.

For Dune 2, WB and Legendary have worked out a 45-day theatrical window where the movie will play in theaters before coming to HBO Max. This was a key point in the negotiations, Villeneuve said. He was very critical of the day-and-day strategy for Dune, and he's glad this won't continue for the sequel, which is scheduled for release in October 2023.

"For me, it was a non-negotiable condition," he said of the theatrical window.

The director added that he has nothing against streaming as an option, but he prefers for his films to release first in theaters. When people see a movie in a theater, they are "fully committed," as opposed to watching a film at home and stopping to answer a phone call or walk the dog, he said.

"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," he said. "All movies need to have proper time in theaters. 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."

Villeneuve added that he's happy Dune 2 is finally happening, but also acknowledged that it's "kind of a burden" because he wants to make it as quickly as possible.

"It's fantastic news, but it's also kind of a burden. The good news is that a lot of the work has been done already regarding design, casting, locations and writing," he said. "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."

As for when production will begin on Dune 2, Villeneuve said Spring 2022 is too soon. "We still have a lot of work to do. It'd probably be more toward Fall, and even that would be fast. (Laughs.)" he said.

Villeneuve previously talked about how the movie studios agreed from the onset to make Dune into a two-part film. Villeneuve wanted to film the movies back-to-back, but the studio balked, the director said, in part because Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 was not a huge box office success.

"I think they were a little cold at the idea of investing in two movies right away. I think that's the truth I understood," he said on the Directors Guild of America podcast (via Collider).

GameSpot's Dune review scored the film a 10/10. "Fans of the series need only know this: Villeneuve's Dune is the best possible adaptation of one of science fiction's most iconic works. It's the one you've awaited for over five decades, or since whatever time you first turned a page in Herbert's seminal novel," Michael Rougeau wrote. "The talented filmmakers and jaw-dropping cast have done it justice. Go see it so that they can tell the rest of the story."

Dune opened in the US last weekend where it made $40.1 million to set a new pandemic record for Warner Bros. Globally, the movie has now made more than $223 million.

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