2021s Dune — HBO Max Release
Dune was originally slated for November 2020. It was later delayed to December 2020 for none-COVID reasons. Due to the pandemic, it was then pushed to October 2021. However, now Variety reports that Dune (alongside the rest of the Warner Bros films) will now air simultaneously on HBO Max.
What is the new release date?
The official release date is currently 1st October 2021. However, this is much more likely a stockholder date. Warner Bros assumed that the pandemic would be gone by late 2021, but the virus is predicted to still be around at the time. Theatres will not be making any money anytime soon.
This now leads to the potential new release date of Dune. As HBO is conducting a simultaneous streaming release, it does not really make any sense to delay it all the way to October since the situation will be more or less the same. Currently, the hype for Dune is alive. And Warner Bros does not want the hype to die out.
Also, some theatres might be reluctant to show Dune in retaliation for the absence of the theatrical-V.O.D window. In other words, the time between the theatrical release of the film and it airing on video-on-demand services is completely severed and exhibitors are upset. In protest, they might not air Dune. Dune might essentially become a HBO Max exclusive.
So what does this mean?
Dune will more than likely get pulled earlier into 2021. VERY EARLY. There is no motive to keep it almost a year away. Expect some imminent news with a new Dune release dated for Q1 2021.
Please bear in mind this is purely my speculation.
Update (06/12/2020, 21:23 British Time) — I spoke to Midnight’s Edge who possesses insider information which has been proven accurate before and he too believes Dune will receive an earlier release.
Why to HBO Max?
Aside from the pandemic, there are other motives to release Dune and the rest of the 2021 Warner Bros films on HBO Max. AT&T, the owner of Warner Bros, want to become a game player in the streaming war. Disney announced a few weeks ago that they now had 70 million subscribers. Netflix has around 195 million subscribers. HBO Max only has between 5–10 million subscribers.
HBO should have had five Game of Thrones spin-offs in their service by now. The Dune: The Sisterhood TV series was suppose to start filming only a month ago. Most of the Warner Bros content is licensed to their competitors, so that’s the reason why Wonder Woman 1984 will only air on HBO Max for a month. After that, it might end up on Netflix or a similar streamer.
Simply put, HBO Max needs premiere content. They are desperately in need for subscribers. Adding high quality movies will significantly increase the subscriber count.
What does it all mean?
To summarise, there were two reasons for the simultaneous release:
- To Boost HBO Max
It is quite possible that if one of those factors was ignored, it would still air simultaneously.
What about the trilogy?
Insider information, originating from Robert Myers Burnett, previously suggested that Warner Bros is developing a trilogy plan for Dune. These would be titled and cover as follows:
- Dune (2021) — 2/3rd of the book.
- Dune: The Prophet — Remainder of the original book.
- Dune: Messiah — The entire second novel.
Will it actually happen?
Warner Bros previously assumed this movie will make almost a billion dollars. No movie will reach that the limit for a long, long time. Warner Bros is adjusting their expectations accordingly. This means the success of the movie will be based on the numbers of subscribers earned on HBO Max which originates from the film. If it proves popular enough, there will be a sequel.
Will it be successful?
The trailer of Dune in one month managed to get more views that the Robert Patterson’s Batman and Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman 1984 trailer. The former two franchises are already quite popular and the fact that Dune managed to receive more views than those two trailers shows that there is a huge interest in this film. I talk about specific numbers in my Box Office Potential of Dune article. It might perform better than expected in the given circumstances. The fact that they are already planning to film Dune: The Sisterhood TV series shows how confident Warner Bros are in the franchise.
We will have to wait and see what actually happens next. We can pray to see Dune sooner rather than later. In the meantime, check out my “2021s Dune — The Story and Everything You Need To Know” for all of the background information on Dune.