There was a time – not too long back – when the model for releasing a film was a lot less convoluted than it exists today; you can chalk some of that up to the worldwide pandemic that has done one heck of a Busby Berkeley number on all of our respective systems, the way we operate businesses and the way we live our lives. But like a lot of things that have been affected by COVID-19, many of these changes that hit us at warp speed felt as if they were going to eventually happen at any rate. The pandemic just accelerated it all, methinks. Nowadays, it’s common for a major theatrical feature to either receive a simultaneous same-day release on streaming, or for it to drop on a streaming platform in quick order after said film has only been playing at your local box-office for a few weeks. Sure, there are still major holdouts (the Top Gun sequel which has been in mothballs for many months instantly comes to mind), but it all feels a bit like fighting the tide or City Hall, doesn’t it?
Talented director Denis Villeneuve who just delivered a fresh print of his mucho buzzed about remake of the science fiction epic Dune surely knows all of the above, but like a steadfast Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, he’s determined to go down fighting in order to argue the case for making an effort to head out to your local cinema to watch the work that he and his talented cast and crew put so much hard work into. And you know what? He’s right; some films are just absolutely meant to be seen on the big screen. Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Godfather, Out of Africa, Goodfellas, Titanic and so many other works of celluloid art are enjoyed and appreciated best when viewed on a massive theater screen with an honest-to-Pete audience.
Per our pals at The Hollywood Reporter, at the annual Venice Film Festival this year, Villeneuve has made a special plea to cinephiles everywhere, adding a responsible caveat: “At the end of the day, these are of course difficult times for everybody – safety first. If the audience feels comfortable, I encourage them to watch it on the big screen. It has been dreamed, designed and shot thinking Imax. When you watch this movie on the big screen, it’s a physical experience.”
Dune finally gets its theatrical release this October 22. To echo Mr. Villeneuve’s sentiments – If you feel safe in attending a theatrical viewing of this epic, then do so – all the while being mindful of your safety and that of fellow moviegoers. And when we finally lick this awful era we’re living in and the All Clear sounds out, make even more of an effort to attend movies at your local theaters and support the Hollywood Dream Machine. Oh, and tell ‘em Vents sent you!