‘Dune: Part Two’ to Stream on Max Starting May 21

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Dune: Part Two will make its streaming debut on Max on May 21.

The film has earned $710.4 million at the global box office.

The sci-fi epic continues the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s best-seller Dune and stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Souheila Yacoub, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling and Javier Bardem. 

Dune: Part Two explores the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a path of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee. 

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The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay he and Jon Spaihts wrote based on Frank Herbert’s celebrated novel.

Dune: Part Two

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/14/24;
Warner;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $281.71 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of strong violence, some suggestive material and brief strong language.
Stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, Javier Bardem, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Souheila Yacoub.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the second half of the Dune novel delivers a powerful sci-fi epic grounded by compelling characters and eerily familiar politics owing to the timeless allegory of Frank Herbert’s original book.

Following the betrayal of House Atreides by the Harkonnens and Emperor Shaddam IV in the previous film, Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), have retreated into exile on the desert planet Arrakis among the indigenous Fremen.

Picking up immediately where the previous film ended, the pair must quickly earn their place among the Fremen, which Lady Jessica hopes to accomplish by taking advantage of a messianic prophecy her religious sect, the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, planted among the Fremen centuries ago. All signs point to Paul as being that messiah, but the Fremen are split in their faith — older members of the tribe, who hail from the fundamentalist southern regions of Arrakis, tend to be more spiritual and accepting of Paul as their messiah. The younger Fremen, such as Chani (Zendaya) are more inclined to reject these religious leanings, and speak contemptuously of the Bene Gesserit manipulating the Fremen so that off-world interests could seize control of the planet to mine it for its valuable spice.

As Lady Jessica schemes to convince more people that Paul is the messiah, and thus grow their followers into a formidable fighting force capable of avenging their family’s betrayal, Paul is wary. Exposure to the spice has given him visions of a future in which his attempts to lead the Fremen result in their destruction and the deaths of billions in an interstellar civil war (essentially the storyline of the second and third “Dune” books). To avoid this outcome, he vows to stay away from the southern settlements, but the relentless pursuit of the Harkonnens forces his hand.

Presented with the potential for a massive army to carry out his vengeance, and fueled by his growing clairvoyance, Paul begins to wallow in the hype of his messianic reputation. His increasing willingness to take advantage of the Fremen’s religious beliefs for his own gain further isolates Chani, with whom he had fallen in love. She’s also not keen on the possibility that Paul might have to marry Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh), daughter of the Emperor (Christopher Walken) to restore the peace.

The film looks great, and uses some innovative photography, particularly in scenes shot in night-vision meant to take place on a planet under a black sun. However, the home video presentation offers a constant widescreen image that doesn’t take advantage of a variable aspect ratio for scenes shot with the Imax camera. Thus, what had scope and grandeur on the big screen likely won’t provide the same immersive impact on typical home theaters, thus putting more emphasis on the story and characters. Even so, the film more than capably delivers in this regard as well.

Meanwhile, the concepts of religious manipulation and holy wars involving people living in the desert will have real world resonance to anyone turning on the news.

The 4K and Blu-ray discs of the film include several behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 64 minutes in total. The digital versions of the film include an additional eight featurettes totaling 43 minutes.

Wonka

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/27/24;
Warner;
Musical;
Box Office $214.55 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for some violence, mild language and thematic elements.

Stars Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant.

Director Paul King’s prequel to Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a delightful exploration of the early days of famed candyman Willy Wonka.

With its catchy musical numbers and colorful production design, Wonka ties in excellently with the famed 1971 adaptation of the book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The story finds young Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) arriving in Europe with big dreams to open a candy shop filled with chocolates made from his late mother’s recipe. He quickly encounters two obstacles. First, he squanders all his money within moments of entering the big city, and is duped into spending the night at an unscrupulous boarding house that charges him so many hidden fees he’s consigned to years of labor in the laundry room to work it off. Then, when he and some newfound friends manage to sneak away to sell chocolate as a means of paying off their debts, they are confronted by the corrupt Chocolate Cartel, an alliance of the town’s three top candy makers who send the ever-fattening police chief (Keegan-Michael Key) to shut Wonka down.

Wonka also finds an unwitting ally in a sneaky Oompa-Loompa (Hugh Grant) who has been sent to recover valuable cocoa beans Wonka stole from Loompaland, and will not stop shadowing Wonka until he can steal enough chocolates back to satisfy the debt.

The film plays heavily on nostalgia for the 1971 movie, both in its visual references and in reusing such notable music cues as the Oompa-Loompa song and “Pure Imagination.” Wonka for the most part isn’t aiming to be much more than a cheesy, well-meaning romp, and its earnestness can’t help but put a smile on your face.

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The Blu-ray includes the usual batch of behind-the-scenes extras. The 12-and-a-half-minute “Unwrapping Wonka: Paul King’s Vision” covers the making of the film in general; The six-minute “The Whimsical Music of Wonka” deals with creating the film’s songs and score; “Welcome to Wonka Land” is an 11-minute look at creating the film’s sets; and the seven-minute “Hats Off to Wonka” focuses on the costumes.

‘Wonka’ the Golden Ticket at Weekend Box Office With $39 Million in Revenue

While only five lucky “Golden Ticket” winners were allowed to visit chocolatier Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory novel, many more moviegoers saw Timothée Chalamet play Wonka in Warner Bros. Pictures’ musical prequel in the franchise that bowed in 1971 with Paramount Pictures’ Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 

Wonka generated $39 million in North American ticket sales, on top of $43 million in foreign box office revenue — a strong start for the $125 million reported production.

As expected, ticket sales dwarfed the competition, led by Lionsgate’s prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which saw its worldwide box top $300 million after taking in an estimated $5.8 million across North America screens, and an additional $6.5 million overseas. The North American tally stands at $145.24 million and overseas at $155.3 million.

The remaining Top 5 releases included former chart topper, GKIDS’ The Boy and the Heron at No. 3 with $5.1 million in revenue, upping its two-weekend North American tally above $23 million, and near $125 million globally.

Toho International’s sci-fi actioner Godzilla Minus One sold another $4.8 million worth of tickets, upping its North American tally past $30 million after two weekends, and $60.5 million globally.

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Band Together added $4 million in ticket sales, upping its five-week North American tally past $88 million and $183 million globally.

Separately, Sony Pictures/Apple Studios’ historical actioner Napoleon made $640,000 on Friday, $955,000 on Saturday and is projected to add $630,000 today across more than 2,601 screens. Sony is projecting $2.225 million for the weekend, bringing its total gross to more than $57 million through Sunday.

Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie grossed $1.6 million over the weekend across 26 foreign markets. The international total now stands at $132.2 million and the holdovers are off 40% from last week. The global just under $200 million.

Golden Globe nominated Killers of the Flower Moon added $210,000 across 25 markets, with the foreign total above $83 million, and $155 million worldwide. 

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Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘Wonka’ Seeks to Return Major Studio Dominance at Weekend Box Office

After two weekends of smaller indie films (Godzilla Minus One and The Boy and the Heron) topping the post-Thanksgiving weekend box office, Warner Bros. Pictures is looking to restore the major studio pecking order with the release of Wonka.

Starring Timothée Chalamet (Dune) as Willy Wonka, the eccentric candy factory owner in Roald Dahl’s 1964 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory novel, the movie marks Hollywood’s third stab at a franchise that began in 1971 with Gene Wilder as Wonka in Paramount Pictures’ Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and continued decades later with Warner’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, featuring Johnny Depp as Wonka.

The movie, which generated $3.5 million in Thursday preview screenings, is projected to sell north of $35 million in North American tickets, according to new data from Box Office Pro.

That should be enough to top the combined weekend box office of the remaining nine movies, including Godzilla Minus One with $6.6 million in projected revenue; Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes ($5.3 million); GKIDS’ The Boy and the Heron ($4.5 million); Universal Pictures’ Trolls Band Together ($4.3 million); Fathom Events’ Christmas With The Chosen: Holy Night ($4 million); Disney’s Wish ($3.2 million); Searchlight Pictures’ Poor Things ($2.7 million); Sony Pictures/Apple Studios’ Napoleon ($2.5 million); and AMC Theatres’ Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé ($2.2 million).

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‘Bones and All’ Headed to Blu-ray Jan. 31

Luca Guadagnino’s Venice Film Festival Award winning Bones and All, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists Releasing, will be released on Blu-ray Jan. 31 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Guadagnino from a screenplay by David Kajganich, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis. It stars Taylor Russell (Escape Room), Academy Award nominee Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Academy Award winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), André Holland, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica Harper, and Academy Award nominee Chloë Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry).

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Bones and All is a story of first love between Maren, a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society, and Lee, an intense and disenfranchised drifter. It’s a liberating road odyssey of two young people coming into their own, searching for identity and chasing beauty in a perilous world that cannot abide who they are.

Dune: Part One

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $107.35 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material.
Stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem.

Efforts to adapt Frank Herbert’s landmark 1965 sci-fi novel Dune have been met with mixed results over the years.

The 1970s saw Alejandro Jodorowsky envision a 10-hour movie version, and when that fell through, producer Dino De Laurentiis grabbed the rights and hired Ridley Scott to give it a go as a follow-up to Alien, though the scope of the project proved too daunting for him as well.

Then David Lynch came on board, choosing to adapt Dune over, among other projects, directing Return of the Jedi. His version finally arrived in 1984 after a troubled production and massive edits to bring his three-hour initial cut to a bit over two hours for the theatrical release, a running time that so crammed Herbert’s story that it was generally panned by critics for being incomprehensible.

The Sci-Fi Channel in the early 2000s had a bit better luck with a pair of miniseries based on Dune and a few of Herbert’s literary sequels to it, earning ratings success while leaving fans of the books to continue to clamor for a worthy big-screen version.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s interpretation seems to have met those aspirations.

Villeneuve’s Dune presents the narrative as a sweeping epic of galactic politics and feuding families, marked by stunning visual splendor and scope.

Covering roughly half of the first book, Dune: Part One, as it is announced on screen, tells the story of a desert world named Arrakis, thousands of years into the future when humanity has colonized the vast expanses of outer space and formed an empire to control it, led by wealthy and influential families. The planet’s sands provide the only known source of the spice Melange, a substance with mind-altering properties that makes celestial navigation possible.

The Emperor has ordered the House Atreides, led by Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) to take over administration of Arrakis from Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). Leto’s son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), begins having visions of living among the Fremen, remnants of the tribes that originally inhabited the planet.

The Fremen are experts at surviving the harsh desert environment and dealing with the giant native sandworms that roam beneath the surface, both depositing the spice and menacing the efforts to extract it. Paul is rumored to be a prophesized messiah to the Fremen.

The Atreides will not have an easy time of it on Arrakis, however, as it quickly becomes apparent that their appointment to govern the planet is a trap by the Emperor and the Harkonnens to diminish their power, if not eliminate them altogether by a full-scale assault on the planet.

Villeneuve places the emphasis on the human and character aspects of the story, rather than the more bizarre sci-fi elements that seemed to fuel Lynch’s version.

At around two-and-a-half-hours, he also takes 20 more minutes than Lynch to tell half the story, allowing it to breathe by not trying to cram the density of the first book into a single movie, as the 1984 version did.

To make sure viewers who didn’t read the book are not left completely baffled, long early stretches of the film are very heavy in exposition, explaining who the families are, the Fremen and the culture of Arrakis. But this is all necessary worldbuilding endemic to any good sci-fi franchise and should continue to pay off with future installments.

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Savvy viewers may have noticed the influence the original novel had on countless burgeoning sci-fi franchises in the years it took to get a movie adaptation off the ground, with “Star Wars” and its desert world of Tatooine being the most notable example. Because of this, some fans might find a lot of similarities between this latest Dune movie and some recent “Star Wars” shows set on Tatooine, such as “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.”

The exposition provided in the film is expanded upon in the Blu-ray bonus materials, with an eight minute featurette about the Royal Houses, and 10-and-a-half-minutes of video encyclopedia entries similar to the ones Paul watches in the film in order to learn about Arrakis.

The Blu-ray also includes nearly an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes as well, with individual videos focused on the usual things like production design, cinematography, costumes and visual effects

Some dig deeper, such as a creating the makeup effects used to create the Baron’s bloated physique. Another looks at the fighting styles used to give the battle scenes a heightened since of verisimilitude. Others show how the visual effects team pulled off the film’s unique vehicles, as well as the giant worm attacks; the longest is an 11-minute examination of the film’s distinctive sound design and Hans Zimmer’s musical score.

Collectively, they demonstrate the precision and craftsmanship that went into constructing the film.

The French Dispatch

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney/Searchlight;
Comedy;
Box Office $16.05 million;
$19.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language.
Stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Christoph Waltz, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston.

Writer-director Wes Anderson’s penchant for quirky storytelling is on full display in The French Dispatch, an ode to journalism and the eclectic practitioners of the profession.

The film is an anthology structured like the format of a magazine, in this case a journal for the fictional French town of Ennui. The magazine, called The French Dispatch, is the local arm of a newspaper in Kansas. The vignettes shown in the film represent the final issue of the magazine, which is shut down upon the sudden death of its editor (Bill Murray), whose life story is presented through his obituary.

The tribute issue begins with a roving reporter (Owen Wilson) giving a brief recap of the history of Ennui, where little has changed culturally in 200 years.

The main story concerns an artist (Benicio del Toro) sentenced to prison for murder, whose paintings are inspired by a guard (Léa Seydoux) with whom he has fallen in love. His work catches the eye of a corrupt art dealer (Adrien Brody), while the tale is recounted by an indulgent lecturer for the gallery that ended up with the prisoner’s work.

Next up is the story of a student protest whose leader (Timothée Chalamet) inspires the writer of the piece (Frances McDormand) to break her objective coverage of the situation and help him write his manifesto while they enjoy a love affair.

The final segment involves a food journalist (Jeffrey Wright) whose examination of a new type of cuisine specially designed for police officers is interrupted when the town’s criminal syndicates kidnap the son of the police commissioner.

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The sketches are infused with Anderson’s usual eccentricities, such as varying aspect ratios, an intermixing of color and black-and-white, charming personalities, sharp wit, spitfire dialogue, rapid editing, and the precise framing of each scene with imagery evocative of a snapshot.

The set designs and visual style make the film seem like somewhat of a spiritual cousin to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Blu-ray doesn’t include any bonus materials, but since it’s a Wes Anderson movie there’ll probably be a Criterion Collection release in a few years offering a smattering of supplements.

‘Dune’ Home Entertainment Release Party Canceled Due to Omicron Concerns

A party to celebrate the Jan. 11 DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD release of Dune has been canceled due to concerns over the Omicron variant.

On Dec. 17, journalists received, by email, an invitation to a Jan. 4 release party at the Bar Lis at the Thompson in Hollywood. A reception was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., followed by a performance by Hans Zimmer, the film’s composer, at 7 p.m.

The party, jointly hosted by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, also was to feature appearances by director, producer and co-writer Denis Villeneuve; writers Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth; director of photography Greig Fraser; editor Joe Walker; costume designer Jacqueline West; makeup hair and prosthetic designer, and makeup department head, Donald Mowat; and supervising sound editor Mark Mangini.

The invitation warned that “all guests must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to attend the event. All guests will be required to show a negative PCR COVID-19 test result within 72 hours or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test result within 24 hours of the event, in addition to proof of full vaccination. All guests will be required to wear masks while inside except while eating or drinking.”

Just five days later, a second email arrived, noting that “out of an out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to cancel our Dune Home Entertainment Release Party. … While we will not be able to gather in person to celebrate the home entertainment release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, we invite you to watch the film at home either on digital, which is available now, or on 4K UHD, available on Jan. 11.

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Dune became available for premium digital ownership ($29.99) and VOD ($24.99) on Dec. 3. The film, which has generated more than $350 million at the global box office, was directed by Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) from a screenplay he co-wrote with Spaihts and Roth, based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert.

The film’s cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, and Dave Bautista.

Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

The Blu-ray, DVD and 4K discs will include the featurette “The Royal Houses.”

Extras on the Blu-ray and 4K editions will also include:

  • Filmbooks: House Atreides
  • Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
  • Filmbooks: The Fremen
  • Filmbooks: The Spice Melange
  • Inside Dune: The Training Room
  • Inside Dune: The Spice Harvester
  • Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
  • Building the Ancient Future
  • My Desert, My Dune
  • Constructing the Ornithopters
  • Designing the Sandworm
  • Beware the Baron
  • Wardrobe from Another World
  • A New Soundscape

 

‘Dune’ Due Via Premium Digital Purchase and Rental Dec. 3, on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 11

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Dune will arrive for premium digital ownership ($29.99) and VOD ($24.99) on Dec. 3. The film will also be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD  Jan. 11.

Dune, which has garnered more than $350 million at the global box office, was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert.

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The film stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name, Little Women), Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, Mission: Impossible — Fallout), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise), Josh Brolin (Milk, Avengers: Infinity War), Stellan Skarsgård (TV’s “Chernobyl,” Avengers: Age of Ultron), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, Avengers: Endgame), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences, Lady Bird), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, TV’s “Euphoria”), Chang Chen (Mr. Long, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), David Dastmalchian (Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Knight), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, TV’s “Sex Education”), with Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Assassin’s Creed), with Jason Momoa (Aquaman, “Game of Thrones”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall).

Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

 

The Blu-ray, DVD and 4K discs will include the featurette “The Royal Houses.”

Extras on the Blu-ray and 4K editions will also include:

  • Filmbooks: House Atreides
  • Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
  • Filmbooks: The Fremen
  • Filmbooks: The Spice Melange
  • Inside Dune: The Training Room
  • Inside Dune: The Spice Harvester
  • Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
  • Building the Ancient Future
  • My Desert, My Dune
  • Constructing the Ornithopters
  • Designing the Sandworm
  • Beware the Baron
  • Wardrobe from Another World
  • A New Soundscape