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What does the future hold for the DUNE franchise and, more importantly, for the upcoming feature film? Imagination Connoisseur, Arnold Swarchzenegger has some questions for Rob and the Post-Geek Singularity.

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Dear Rob,
I hope you are well! The terminator is back. I was having an interesting discussion with Tom from Midnight’s Edge in regards to Dune. It was initially about the potential age rating and then later to the possibly of it being seen as a miniseries instead of as a film. I got a few questions resulting from this chat, although I warn you, it’s a bit of a mouthful:

1). What are the chances of it being R-Rated? I know you previously acknowledged that it will probably end up being PG-13, but percentage wise, what are the chance, if any, it’ll end up R-rated? I read the Dune script a while ago and I do feel like there are certain scenes which seem a bit graphic for a PG-13 rating.

I know that you and John Campea have previously said in similar contexts that you can get away with a lot from a PG-13 rating, but I do feel like there is a definitely a bit of potential of it having a mature rating. With the success of the Warner Bros Joker being the first R-rated movie reaching a billion dollars (and it even surpassed the PG-13 Star Wars: Episode 9 film), I feel like Warner Bros can make money out of this with a mature rating, especially with the superb cast.

The real reason Blade Runner 2049 was domestically unsuccessful because of the marketing, not age-rating. Denis Villeneuve has acknowledged that film as creatively successful, enough for Warner Bros to give him full creative control of Dune.

Also, I do not know if parents will allow their kids to watch PG-13 films in the post-pandemic world by the time Dune actually comes out, so I don’t really think a lower rating will help that much. This leads to my next question:

2). What are the chances of Dune ending up with a simultaneous release, similar to Wonder Woman 1984? Studios currently are not producing a lot of revenue at the American theatres, even though they are reasonable okay overseas. One way to circumvent this is to start investing in streaming services, where HBOMax really needs a boost. This is one reason why Wonder Woman 1984 is having a simultaneous release, on both theatres and HBO Max at the same time with my personal speculation that the same thing will happen with Godzilla VS Kong.

I suspect Dune to undergo a similar scenario to significantly boost HBO Max and to sustain high subscription numbers. There’ll be loss in the short-term, but good investments in the subscription service overall. I know it has an expensive budget, but I don’t see an alternative. Delaying the film will increase its expenses similar to No Time To Die and I don’t see theatres heading to pre-Covid levels anytime soon.

3). What are the chances of Dune being formatted as a miniseries instead? Tom suspected that it is possible that they might stretch out the film to be seen as a miniseries as a form of investment for HBO Max. They already spent a lot of money in the production, so this might not be as likely.

However, they might choose to do this for the sequel if the first movie is a success, since they’re already planning to film the Dune: The Sisterhood TV series. Producing big budget movies for the theatres will not be viable for the foreseeable future.

4). You previously mentioned that Warner Bros was planning a trilogy for Dune to outline the rise and fall of Paul Atreides. They would be called Dune, Dune: The Prophet and Dune: Messiah. In the post-pandemic world, is this still the plan? What will be the structure of these films be like in terms of the book adaptations since Dune: Messiah is the shortest book of the original saga?

Tom said you mentioned that the second movie would cover aspects of the second book, whereas the third film will be the entire remainder of the second novel.

5). If the trilogy is a success, can we expect adaptation of the remainder of Frank Herbert’s novel? If that were to happen, it would be a great science-fiction series to behold! They are already adapting the Brian Herbert book “Sisterhood of Dune” for HBO Max, so I feel like they are gradually expanding the Dune franchise for the visual medium.

6). Do you have new juicy rumors for either the Dune movie or TV series? Dune news has remained stagnant for a while, so it’ll be good to hear some production updates, even though it does not officially come out for 9 months.

I wish I was part of the test screening where Dune was allegedly hosted a month or 2 back. Here’s hoping the release date will be pushed earlier into the year.

7). Last time, you promoted my Dune article and it actually gave me a couple of views, so thank you for that! It’s not against the Robservation rules to promote the same content twice, is it?

If not, here is my Dune article which I would like to carry on promoting around: “https://medium.com/p/83a5eca026ee ”.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day, Mr Robert Myers Burnett!

Keep up the great work!