Move over, Christopher Nolan — there are other bearded directors with thoughts about that HBO Max–Warner Bros. deal. Denis Villeneuve, director of the forthcoming Dune adaptation, published an essay in Variety on December 10, in which he wrote, “There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience” in plans to premiere all 2021 Warner movies, including Dune, on HBO Max. “With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention,” Villeneuve wrote. He further claimed that Dune was “by far the best movie I’ve ever made,” but, he added, “Warner Bros. might just have killed the ‘Dune’ franchise.” He stopped short of calling for the decision to be reversed, but he wrote, “Just as I have both a fiduciary and creative responsibility to fulfill as the filmmaker, I call on AT&T to act swiftly with the same responsibility, respect, and regard to protect this vital cultural medium.”
Judd Apatow also criticized the decision in a Variety interview published on December 11. “It’s somewhat shocking that a studio for their entire slate could call what appears to be nobody,” Apatow said. “It’s the type of disrespect that you hear about in the history of show business. But to do that to just every single person that you work with is really somewhat stunning.” Apatow’s latest movie, The King of Staten Island, originally intended for a theatrical release through Universal, premiered through video on demand in May. “It was a very respectful conversation about how to get the movie out there,” Apatow told Variety, adding that the Warner deal “certainly made me appreciate Universal.” If you too are angry about the HBOMax–Warner deal, it seems Variety will gladly publish your take.