Dune on HBO Max gets a slightly earlier release date

Timothée Chalamet on the set of Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Dune fans, rejoice! After a year of Covid-induced delays, the release of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic has been brought forward on HBO Max – though only by a single day. 

To coincide with the film’s theatrical release on October 21, Warner Bros. has decided to make Dune available to stream on HBO Max in the US at 3pm PT / 6pm ET on the same day, having originally scheduled its streaming release for October 22.

That means Dune, much to Villeneuve’s disappointment, won’t be getting any sort of exclusive theatrical release in the US – even if that window was only set to last 24 hours. The move will, however, come as welcome news to fans hoping to catch Dune on HBO Max as early as possible. 

The film’s director has much to feel happy about, though. While we’ve long-known that Dune wouldn't be getting an exclusive theatrical release in the US, the film was released in 14 international markets on September 17, taking an impressive $37.9 million in its opening weekend and more than $117 million since then – all before opening in traditionally larger regions like the US, UK and China. 

Those early figures will prove music to the ears of Villeneuve and the movie’s production team, who have acknowledged that it will be up to audiences to decide the theatrical future of the franchise.

Speaking to Collider, Dune screenwriter Eric Roth admitted he had already written a script treatment for Dune 2, though it would depend on whether “people love Dune so much that they do want to have a second part.” 

Analysis: Only half the story

It might be too early to describe a follow-up Dune movie as a formality, but early reviews suggest a sequel is most definitely a necessity. 

Villeneuve’s take on Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 novel – which follows the story of Paul Atreides, a gifted young prince forced to travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the survival of his people – has been near-universally lauded for its grand scale and visual effects, but also criticized for its abrupt ending and obvious position as the beginning of a much larger story. 

That fact is well-known to Villeneuve, though, who told Collider back in 2020 that he “would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” adding that “the world [of Dune] is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”

Warner Bros. is yet to officially sanction a Dune 2, though the first movie’s current box office trajectory – coupled with the approval of an already in-development TV spin-off series, Dune: The Sisterhood – suggests the studio is confident Dune can live up to its billing as the next Star Wars or Game of Thrones.

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.