Dune is perhaps the most curious blockbuster of 2021 as it represents vastly different things depending on your vantage point. To some, it’s a sprawling orientalist fever dream that filters Middle Eastern culture through a Western lens. To others, it’s a masterfully composed epic but so esoteric that non-book readers may be left scratching their heads. For distributor Warner Bros. and production company Legendary, the film could be a potential franchise-launcher or yet another costly non-starter in an era so beholden to familiar intellectual property. Wherever the truth may lie for filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s cinematic tome, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, audiences will be able to decide for themselves this weekend.
After a year of pandemic-related delays, Dune will arrive in U.S. theaters on Friday, October 22. Adapted from Frank Herbert’s iconic 1965 novel of the same name, Dune is meant to be the first half of a larger narrative. Legendary will greenlight a direct sequel should Dune perform well commercially and an HBO Max spinoff, Dune: The Sisterhood, has already been ordered. The wheels of blockbuster franchise building are in motion.
When it comes to the potential success of Dune, it’s important to remember that movie studios aren’t entirely reliant on box office grosses in 2021. Streaming viewership has become increasingly important for Warner Bros. this year as it has released its entire film slate both in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. Similar to The Suicide Squad, WB will release Dune on HBO Max a day earlier. Viewers will be able to stream the film beginning on Oct. 21 at 3p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET. To watch the new blockbuster, you must have an HBO Max subscription, which’ll run you $14.99 per month if you are not eligible to convert an existing HBO subscription at no extra charge. Unfortunately, HBO Max’s newly launched ad-supported tier, which costs $9.99 per month, does not feature Warner Bros.’ day-and-date film releases. While we highly recommend seeing Dune on the biggest of screens, we understand that a trip to the movie theater isn’t always feasible for everyone.
Dune is set some 20,000 years in the future and follows Paul Atreides (Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding. The young nobleman must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.
This story has been updated to include production company Legendary.