KEY POINTS

  • "Dune" director Denis Villeneuve slammed Warner Bros. over hybrid release plan
  • Villeneuve believes that the whole deal was made so that the "telecom mammoth" could survive
  • He also noted that the bizarre move "might have just killed" the "Dune" franchise

Almost a few days after Christopher Nolan blasted Warner Bros.’ for its decision to bring its entire 2021 film slate to HBO Max, director Denis Villeneuve has also broken his silence on the move, saying that AT&T has “hijacked” one of the most “reputable” studios in the history of the entertainment industry.

Villeneuve, whose film “Dune” is one of the projects to release simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max, explained that the entire scenario proves that there is “no love” for cinema, Variety first reported.

While writing an essay for the aforementioned media outlet, the filmmaker noted that the decision has been taken so that a company that has an astronomical debt of $150 billion could survive.

The “Blade Runner 2049” director also criticized the deal by calling HBO Max a “failure.” He also said that the deal is AT&T’s way to attract attention.

“There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here. It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion. With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention,” Villeneuve wrote.

Villeneuve believes that streaming platforms are a “positive and powerful addition to the movie and TV ecosystems,” however, he also noted that it will “never be able to sustain the movie industry” as people knew it before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academy Award-nominated director also said the decision of the hybrid release means “they are no longer on the same team.”

“Streaming services are a positive and powerful addition to the movie and TV ecosystems. But I want the audience to understand that streaming alone can’t sustain the film industry as we knew it before COVID. Streaming can produce great content, but not movies of ‘Dune’s’ scope and scale,” the directed added.

He also believes that WB’s decision to bring the movie to HBO Max might have just put an end to the franchise.

“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,” Villeneuve said.

The filmmaker is standing in solidarity with 16 other directors who have been affected by the release strategy, saying that we are “stronger” when we stand together.

Villeneuve is the second prominent director who slammed the production company for its bizarre decision following Nolan. The “Tenet” filmmaker criticized the move and said the whole deal is “very, very messy.”

“In 2021, they've got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they've got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. And now they're being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service -- for the fledgling streaming service -- without any consultation. So, there’s controversy,” Nolan told Entertainment Tonight.

“Dune” stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin in pivotal roles.

Denis Villeneuve
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 08: (L-R) Jury member Denis Villeneuve and jury president Cate Blanchett attend the photocall for Jury during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 8, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The movie is scheduled to hit theaters and HBO Max on Oct. 1, 2021.

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