Earlier this month, Warner Bros. announced plans for simultaneous HBO Max and theatrical releases for its entire slate of movies through to the end of 2021.
The news came as a shock to everyone, including everyone working on the movies, and – in the case of Dune and Godzilla vs. Kong – to Legendary Pictures, the company which had partnered with Warner Bros. on the productions (and stumped up 75% of the films’ budgets, reported at $165 million and $155 million respectively).
As one might expect, Legendary wasted no time in challenging Warner Bros.’ decision, and now we have an update on the situation from Deadline, with the trade reporting that the two parties may be close to working out a deal.
According to Deadline’s report, a solution is said to be on the table whereby Dune would receive a traditional theatrical release “to preserve its franchise potential”, while MonsterVerse mashup Godzilla vs. Kong sticks to the hybrid HBO Max / theatrical release model – providing that “Warner Bros makes a deal with Legendary that uses as a base the $250 million value established when the film was shopped earlier to Netflix.”
In addition to its issues with Legendary, Warner Bros. is also said to be in dispute with Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment over King Richard, the biopic of Richard Williams, father to tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. Smith’s deal with WB reportedly calls for a theatrical only release, and this is said to have been the deciding factor when it came to selling the project to the studio over heavy interest from Netflix.
A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who 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—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
Dune is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) and sees Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) leading the cast alongside Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Dave Bautista (Avengers: Infinity War), Stellan Skarsgard (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), Charlotte Rampling (Red Sparrow), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Far From Home), Javier Bardem (Loving Pablo), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Josh Brolin (Avengers: Endgame), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Sex Education), and Chang Chen (The Assassin).