Dune is one of cinema's great white whales. Attempting to adapt the dense, sweeping sci-fi epic from book to movie has defeated the likes of arthouse hero Alejandro Jodorowsky and Academy Award-nominee David Lynch.
The trials Jodorowsky endured to bring the novel to the big screen before ultimately failing proved so arduous they were the subject of a hit documentary, Jodorowsky's Dune. Lynch on the other hand managed to complete his adaptation only to have it become one of cinema's most notorious flops.
The 1984 film failed to recoup all of its $40 million. While it may have developed a cult following, there's no arguing it proved to be a major disappointment.
Times have changed. Special effects have improved since Lynch launched his Dune. As Star Wars and Marvel proved, sci-fi space operas loaded with intense battles are currently box office gold. Now, Warner Bros is rolling the dice on Dune once more with notable director Denis Villeneuve at the helm.
But, is it even possible to adapt Dune in a satisfying way? Does the story contained in this decades-old sci-fi tome hold any appeal for modern cinema-goers?
If done right, we could have another Star Wars on our hands. If done wrong, well there's a reason Lynch's film is so notorious in the annals of bad cinema. Here are five reasons we think Villeneuve will do the impossible (and five reasons we think he'll crash and burn).
10. It'll Hit: Audiences Want Something New
Marvel has no intention of slowing down its rapid-fire pace of releasing movies and television series. From now until 2023 alone Marvel will unleash 11 films and five Disney Plus television series and one holiday special. While Marvel still appears to be firing on all cylinders, superhero movies have dominated the box office for the last two decades and audiences are hungry for something new and exciting.
Dune will offer filmgoers the best that sci-fi cinema can offer: new planets, interstellar warfare, telepathic powers and startling alien monsters. Although audiences have seen all these things in various sci-fi properties throughout the years, the universe Frank Hebert created is wholly unique. Dune will provide the perfect antidote for movie fans tiring of the same old superhero dustups that have been the go-to blockbuster genre since the modern superhero era began back in 2000 with Bryan Singer's X-Men.
Warner Bros is banking on audiences digging this strange new world. Villeneuve has stated that Dune is the first part of a two part story and a sequel is already in the works while a new HBO Max series Dune: the Sisterhood will also offer an alternative to Marvel's glut of Disney Plus's superhero shows. Chances are, 2021 film-goers have never seen anything like Dune before on the big screen. If audiences get onboard, then a new era of heady sci-fi action might arise to challenge superheroes' blockbuster dominance.