Tavern Talk: Video Review - DUNE


The big question going into last weekend was not whether Dune deserved for people to show up to it or not, but more...would they? It had widely become known that Warner Bros. attempt to adapt Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi epic would be a tale of two halves from director Denis Villenueve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival) as past attempts at adapting the material, namely David Lynch's 1984 film, had all fallen on troubled times and disappointing outcomes. Would the bold move to only make the first half of the book into a movie and then wait and see if there was enough reason to make a second pay off or would this simply turn out to be another chapter in the long, hard road of bringing Herbert's worlds to life? Well, as of this week it looks like the gamble may have paid off as WB and Legendary officially greenlit Dune Part 2 as the film pulled in a not great, but probably better than expected $40.1 million domestic debut. This was the latest in WB's string of major releases this year that also premiered on HBO Max on the same day, but it seemed at least $40 million worth of folks had been listening to Villenueve for the past ten or so months as the filmmaker has been championing seeing his film in the most immersive environment possible since WB and HBO announced their collaboration last December. The catch with both the day-and-date streaming choice and how it might have impacted the ultimate decision as to whether or not a sequel could be justified is the fact Villenueve's movie cost a hefty $165 million. Villenueve is no stranger to large-scale sci-fi films that are well-reviewed and look gorgeous, but are questionable financial endeavors as his Blade Runner 2049 carried a $150 million price tag but made just less than $260 million worldwide (and that's not counting what was no doubt a costly marketing campaign). The good news is that Dune has already made $182 million internationally for a cumulative worldwide box office that currently stands at $223 million and will seemingly only continue to make strong returns overseas as HBO Max is not available in all territories. Questions over that simultaneous debut on a streaming platform and how that might cut into theatrical ticket sales were reignited again with the release of Dune, but have seemingly calmed with the announcement of Part 2 moving forward. Despite a lengthy runtime (meaning less showings, especially in the age of COVID where theater hours are limited on weekdays) the film managed to land a $9,721 per-screen average in 4,125 theaters in its debut weekend. It should also be noted that Dune’s release marked WB's best three-day tally since it began its day-and-date roll-out strategy with Godzilla vs. Kong back in April. Furthermore,  IMAX accounted for $9 million of the film’s domestic gross. As always, be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week! 




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