Denis Villeneuve Thinks We Need Movies That ‘Fully Embrace the Power of the Theater’ SuperNayr

Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve should be running a victory lap after his sci-fi sequel “Dune: Part Two” earned over $700 million at the box office this year and after recently receiving the Academy Icon Award at the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards on May 31, but the current lack of audiences showing up to movie theaters this summer is bringing him down. 

Speaking to the press after receiving the award, Villeneuve said, “I think we need movies that are theatrical experiences, that will fully embrace the power of the theater, and I’m not just talking about ‘Dune 2.’ Of course I’m talking about many movies. A movie like ‘Civil War,’ for instance, is a strong example of a movie that absolutely used the power of the theater. I was lucky that ‘Part Two’ did reach the audience, I wish it would happen more often, honestly.”

PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 21: Richard Linklater attends the HBO Documentary Films' Sundance Party at Ruth's Chris Steak House on January 21, 2024 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for HBO)
'THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS,' (aka THE MATRIX 4), Max Riemelt, 2021. © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Dune: Part Two” remains the highest grossing film of the year despite the release of “The Fall Guy,” “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.” Some hope the longer the films stay in theaters, the more of a chance they’ll have at finding an audience, but studio executives and creatives writ-large fear this tepid summer box office will add to ongoing struggles in the industry. While Villeneuve is proud of his film’s achievement, he also wishes for another film to finally surpass it.

“I’m disappointed to still be number one,” he said. “I hope soon that there will be other successes at the box office. I hope, sooner or later, that this summer box office will be much better.”

Villeneuve doesn’t only hope this for the financial health of the entertainment industry, but for our collective culture. 

“Culture is more than ever fundamental for the health of our democracy, and cinema being the most powerful art form ever created,” he said. “I know I’m biased, I’m sorry. And we must take care of our film industry. Make it grow and make it flourish. We will all benefit from it.”

Turning sentimental, he said, “As human beings, we need to share emotional journeys together. My job as a director is trying to make decent movies, good movies, if I can.”

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