October 23, 2021


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Why ‘Dunes’ hybrid release is a mistake (column)

6 min read

“Tune” could be the biggest movie of the year. But no matter how well it did at the box office, it was undoubtedly the biggest, biggest slice of the movie in a long time. Huge as huge. Like images and words that fill the screen and fill the senses. As big: the movie takes you to the desert planet of Arakis and you stay there for 2 hours 35 minutes.

So why would this irresistible epic, visually spectacular, kind of sci-fi popcorn movie open to you on a television set on October 22nd?

We know the answer, and it has a kind of tiny spreadsheet argument. “Dune” is opening simultaneously in movie theaters and home screens because the company that Wikipedia now describes as the “American Diverse Multinational Media and Entertainment Association” owns Warner Bros., the owner of HBO Max, a streaming service where “Dune” will be available to customers. Will be provided at no cost). Warner Bros. is owned by AT&T and will probably merge with Discovery next year. The reformed company will have many interlocking priorities. In the first year of the epidemic, which was apparently the year of HBO Max’s game-changing launch, it became a new corporate target for Warner Bros. And since people, most of last year, could not go to the movies, it was decided that each of the studio’s 2021 movies would be available, the same day it would be released in theaters, HBO Max – a strategy that now looks like it will be carried until 2022.

The epidemic is still with us. But the year when people could not go to the cinema is over. Moving is back, for sure. And at a time when many are questioning the wisdom of opening movies simultaneously in theaters and at home (day-to-day, as it is known), “Dune” now stands as a solution to a problem revolving around the entertainment industry. The question is: does it Really Taking one of the most fever-anticipated movie extras of this decade and giving it to people in their living room?

I think there are two basic possible scenarios for how “Tune” could be released. One is that during the weekend opening, the film crashes and burns out, costing 16 165 million to produce (which, of course, doesn’t include a huge amount of money on the market). The whole world utters it a frustration and a bomb. If so, the HBO Max release would be seen as a disaster – but I don’t think that’s a very likely scenario. Fans of three generations of sci-fi fans of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel have high hopes for “Dunn” (not to mention the Daisy Chain in its sequel).

Much like the following scenario: that weekend open, “tunes” … OK. The film has grossed the most opening-weekends so far this year, grossing দীর্ঘ 94 million in the long-running Labor Day weekend by “Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” followed by “Black Widow” at 80 80 million. . And দ্বারা 70 million made by “F9: The Fast Saga”. (Sorry but let’s assume that “Tune” matches its receipt. If so, a worthy victory will be declared, and we’ll continue to speculate on how much the movie can gain if it doesn’t compete with itself on TV. In pre-epidemic times it We’re going to estimate what it will make when it opens on the weekend. My guess is: somewhere between $ 175 million and 250 250 million domestically. Max-related?

Warner Bros. will accept all that speculation – lack of certainty – and use it as a cover for its decision. The studio will say, “We’re fine with the 95 million opening. In different situations, who can say how well the movie performed? And, of course, they’ll double down on how much it helps the company’s bottom line to deliver the film on HBO Max. A movie like “Dune” is a subscription magnet; That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. And for entertainment companies, imitating the model invented by Netflix, subscriptions have become the currency of the state. The new “It’s Huge Open!” To win huge numbers of customers.

Or so the argument goes. But it’s amazing how far “sophisticated” business arguments can be left behind. It’s too late now to reverse the day-to-day decision about Warner Bros. “Dunn” – promised, logistics shut down – but here are a few reasons I think it would prove to be a mistake.

1. The film will be less profitable. If “Dune” opens with 95 million, it will be clear that the studio has put a lot of money on the table. Especially if the grosses are severely reduced in the weeks ahead. The movie has already opened in the international market (especially in theaters), where it is doing well, but using its domestic acceptance as a yardstick, let’s say it matches the total receipt of “Shang-Chi”, which is closing at $ 200 million. It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s the “dun” that we’re talking about. It is being marketed in conjunction with the new “Star Wars” “Lord of the Rings”. It should be, by far the biggest movie of the year.

2. The release date of “Dune” drastically lowers the film’s event status. It does this in two ways. If “Dune” was only available in theaters, the revenue would probably increase – but those numbers would also become billboards, a way of saying, “This is the movie you need to see.” More importantly you will feel that you have to go to the theater to see it because it is Belongs to In a theater. The business of cinema is fundamental. It’s a key aspect of cinema for 100 years, going back to silent films like “Intolerance”, extending to the widescreen sagas of the 50’s and 60’s (“Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “2001: A Space Odyssey”), Lucas / Spielberg in the 70’s (“Star Wars,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) and beyond. Quality is almost his main selling point. The movie is a Mayan design and with insect helicopters to watch something like “Lawrence of Arabia”. It’s something you don’t see every day or every year. But when you tell your audience, Compromised, “Well, business is not essential. Good to see it at home. ”

3. It’s going to go a lot less well on television. Growing up, I once watched “2001: A Space Odyssey” on a 16-inch black-and-white TV set and it actually worked. How big is a movie. “Tune” is much less great. I would argue that this is a rational commanding sci-fi instance that starts to run out of gas within its last hours. This is because in the book “Dunn” Frank Herbert, he can be a better world-maker than a storyteller. (I would say the same is true of JRR Tolkien, but we can argue about that again.) You have to overwhelm and cover the world of “Dune” like “Lunes of Arabia” or the original “Blade Runner”. But if you watch it at home, the narrative of the movie – Paul Atreides Messiah? Look below to defeat House Atridus … and find that sand moth! – It would rather be expressed as a patch matter. When you shrink the glory of “tune”, you shrink its appeal.

“. The whole industry has a vested interest in the success of “Tune”. It was that if a big movie turned out to be commercially frustrating, only those who were affected were associated with it, including the executives of that studio. (In the rest of the industry, there was Scadenfroud.) But thanks to the streaming revolution and the epidemic’s double whammy, the whole world is suddenly asking if there is a future for movies in theaters. I think they do, but it’s not predictable. And part of that is what we need See Encouraging movie-theater audiences, reminding them of how powerful they are. Last summer, there was supposed to be a “Tenet” movie that started jumping into moving; For a variety of reasons (especially the stubbornness of the epidemic), it didn’t work so well. But the movies of the last six months are really starting to jump in, and it makes “Dune” the right movie at the right time. It is a film that reminds us of the beginnings and benefits of our theatrical experience. You don’t want every movie to be like “Dunn”. But you want “tune” to be “tune”. If it becomes a commercially compromised, backward version of itself, it becomes a huge blooming opportunity. And everyone suffers.

Of course, there is another possibility in all of this. When “Tune” opens on October 22, people see it on HBO Max and that’s it Still It is going to be a huge drama hit and it will break the bank. It will be a happy ending, which can help rewrite a coming rule. But I’m not holding my breath.

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