Dune is one of the most anticipated films coming out in the second half of 2021. The trailer promises a movie on an epic scale that blends together elements of sci-fi and fantasy. Some have even called it “Lord of the Rings in space.” However, it will not have the runtime of Lord of the Rings as director Denis Villeneuve has confirmed that the runtime for Dunewill be 155 minutes (2 hrs and 35 minutes).
In an interview with Quebec-based newspaper, La Presse, Villenueve addressed how long the movie would actually be and confirmed the runtime. He did mention that there is a ton of footage that he and editor Joe Walker cut that could end up in a director’s cut.
“It is true that if Joe [Walker] and I had let go, we could have done a version of several hours because I filmed a lot,” Villeneuve said. “But the final version is really the one that ends up on the screen. I have never done a director’s cut of any of my films.”
This makes Dune Villeneuve’s second longest movie; 2 minutes ahead of Prisoners and nine minutes shorter than Blade Runner 2049. Villeneuve is no stranger to making long movies, but based on his track record, that’s not usually a problem. This also means that Dune is almost 20 minutes longer than the 1984 David Lynch adaptation.
Dune is premiering in theaters on HBO Max on Oct. 22nd. In addition to having a great director attached to it,it has a tremendous cast. The cast includes Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, David Dastmalchian, Javier Bardem, and Stellan Skarsgard. It will also feature an original soundtrack from Hans Zimmer.
While the length could be a turn off to some, it is also going to be on HBO Max, which means that many people could elect to watch this at home at their own pace. Villeneuve has shared his unhappiness with Warner Bros’ decision to release it on HBO Max and he recently shared his discontentment once more.
In an interview with Total Film, Villeneuve says he understands how the pandemic has affected the theatrical experience. However, he also compares watching Dune at home to driving “a speedboat in your bathtub.”
“First of all, the enemy of cinema is the pandemic. That’s the thing. We understand that the cinema industry is under tremendous pressure right now,” Villeneuve stated. “That I get. The way it happened, I’m still not happy. Frankly, to watch Dune on a television, the best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub. For me, it’s ridiculous. It’s a movie that has been made as a tribute to the big-screen experience.”
Villeneuve is not the only person who has felt this way about the HBO Max decision. When Warner Bros. first announced this move, one of the most vocal dissenters was Christopher Nolan. Nolan’s Tenet ended up debuting solely in theaters and ended up largely underperforming. However, the experience of seeing Tenet in a theater is drastically different to watching it at home.
Dune appears to be a film meant for theaters. The massive scale of everything from the visuals to the music will play better on a large screen with amazing audio. However, with the pandemic and the now-confirmed lengthy runtime, it’s hard to predict how Dune will perform at the box office. This comes from Collider.