Dune’s all set up to be the biggest movie of the year. The reviews are (mostly) glowing, director Denis Villeneuve is imploring us to watch the sci-fi spectacle in a theater, and HBO Max is going to let us watch it at home. However you watch it, the main takeaway is: Watch it.
Scroll down for everything you need to know on how to do that.
Is Dune coming out on HBO Max?
In late July, HBO Max tweeted confirmation Dune would be released on the streamer the same day it hits theaters.
And it turns out, that’ll be slightly earlier than expected.
When is Dune coming out?
After much chopping and changing, the official release date was expected to be Oct. 22, but that got bumped up slightly this week. HBO Max will have a “special preview” of Dune starting Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. ET and the movie will be available in theaters starting Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. local time.
Dune already premiered to largely positive reviews at the Venice and New York film festivals, and has taken in over $100 million at box offices across Europe and Asia. It opens in the UK on Oct. 22, while Australia has to wait until Dec. 2.
How much does HBO Max cost?
HBO Max costs $15 a month without advertising (you need the ad-free streaming plan to watch Dune on release day). And no, you won’t have to pay extra on top of your subscription to watch the film.
You’ve heard of Paul Atreides. Who is he exactly?
Timothée Chalamet stars as young antihero Paul Atreides, the main character of Dune.
Here’s a little of his backstory.
Paul, a “brilliant and gifted young man” grows up in an aristocratic family on the planet Caladan. One day, his father — Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) — accepts a gig supervising the desert planet Arrakis, otherwise known as Dune. It’s the “most dangerous planet in the universe.” (See: the planet’s resident giant man-eating sandworms.)
This is when Paul’s life takes a wild turn.
When the big Atreides clan ups and moves to their new home, Paul learns of his “great destiny” and what he must do to “ensure the future of his family and his people.”
It all has something to do with a “precious resource” exclusive to the planet. Wars rage over acquiring it.
What’s with the spice?
The planet Arrakis is home to the most valuable substance in the universe. It’s called the spice, or melange.
What does the spice do? It’s a powerful drug that can prolong human life and give people super-human mind control powers. It can also enable intergalactic travelers to “fold space” and travel faster than the speed of light.
Who does Zendaya play?
Let’s touch on the other characters.
- Zendaya basically plays Paul’s love interest, a mysterious woman with glowing blue eyes named Chani. She lives on the planet Arrakis, part of the native Fremen tribes.
- Oscar Isaac plays Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides. Rebecca Ferguson plays his mother, Lady Jessica.
- The two warriors Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho who train Paul in combat are played by Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa.
- Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen, is played by Javier Bardem.
- Stellan Skarsgard plays Baron Vladimir, the leader of House Harkonnen from Arrakis. They’re in conflict with the Atreides family.
- Charlotte Rampling plays the reverend mother of an order of women called the Bene Gesserit. They can read and control minds.
Every Dune 2021 trailer
The first full trailer for Dune debuted last September.
Another “main” trailer arrived at the end of July this year.
Let’s address the 1984 adaptation by David Lynch
David Lynch directed an adaptation of Dune, released in 1984. It starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides.
While it may have eventually attained cult status, it was a box office and critical flop at the time of its release.
Villeneuve’s Dune isn’t a remake of Lynch’s revision, promising to draw a closer connection with the book.
“When I saw Lynch’s adaptation, I was impressed,” Villeneuve said in 2017, “but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I’m trying to make the adaptation of my dreams. I’m going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it.”
Dune: Part Two is a thing
Technically, the movie you’ll see at the end of this year is Dune: Part One.
Warner Bros. showed the first 10 minutes in IMAX special event screenings and the title logo read Dune: Part One. This is great news for those looking forward to a sequel. CNET reviewer Richard Trenholm lamented that Part One leaves a lot hanging at the end, really putting pressure on Warner Bros. to fund the sequel.
Villeneuve had planned for two parts to cover Frank Herbert’s “complex” story.
“I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” Villeneuve said in April. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in the details.”
Note the sequel doesn’t have an official green light. Villeneuve also expressed concern over a possible poor box office canceling the sequel plans, because of the HBO Max deal.
However, in a recent interview, Villeneuve said that he’s very “optimistic” for the sequel.
“So the first thing was to prove that there was a beautiful, popular movie that can exist, and I think that I proved that — everybody at Warner Bros and Legendary, they are 100 percent behind the project,” Villeneuve told Total Film.
“They feel that it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have a Dune: Part Two, because they love the movie. They are proud of the movie, so they want the movie to move forward. And they still did half of it. So, you know, I’m very optimistic.”
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more
See all photos
HBO Max is the home to Warner Bros. streaming content. It includes all content on HBO’s cable channel, along with Warner’s vast library of TV shows and movies.