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Dune director decries HBO Max as a “slaughterhouse” for his “best movie” yet

Denis Villeneuve has heavily criticised Warner Bros and HBO Max for the plan to release Dune to streaming, holding nothing back in the defence of his latest movie.

Hell hath no fury like an auteur scorned. In the last few days, both Christopher Nolan and now Denis Villeneuve have unleashed their anger against the Warner Bros & HBO Max deal that will see all of the studio’s films in 2021 arrive in cinemas and on demand at the same time; but are they in tune with public opinion?

Read more: Has Christopher Nolan gotten too big for his boots in Warner Bros dispute?

The Canadian film-maker, who directed science-fiction landmarks Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, revealed to Variety that he only heard of the deal through the news, and pinned the reason for this ‘hijacking’ (to use his words) on the unenviable financial situation of AT&T, parent company of HBO Max, which he claims has debts of more than $150 billion.

Addressing concerns over public safety, Villeneuve had accepted to delay the film’s release until October 2021; but he argues that the decision to release it to streaming services at the same time introduces greater risks of piracy, and will discourage film-makers from mounting cinematic spectacles that make use of the big screen and superior surround sound systems found only in cinemas.

He cuttingly concludes: “AT&T’s John Stankey said that the streaming horse left the barn. In truth, the horse left the barn for the slaughterhouse.”

Read more: How will UK viewers be able to watch the Warner Bros movies released on HBO Max?

In among his unbridled anger at the perceived betrayal, Villeneuve offered a fleeting insight into his new film Dune, and if his tantalising testimony is anything to go by then we’ll be in for a treat.

Describing it as “the best movie I’ve ever made” in his op-ed, Villeneuve writes that “my team and I devoted more than three years of our lives to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie’s image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters.”

In our previous poll, Recombu readers generally disagreed with Nolan’s comments, instead preferring to have the choice between VOD and cinemas on release dates. But what do you think is the best way to watch an epic space opera like Dune? Let us know in the poll below:




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