Would you want to observe Dune, the massive, sweeping sci-fi epic, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya?
If that’s the case, you may head over to Netflix, which began streaming the 2021 film this week.
Then once more, you probably have Max, the streaming service owned by Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), you’ve been in a position to watch Dune for nearly two years, which is sensible: WBD additionally owns the Warner Bros. film studio that made Dune. And you’ll nonetheless watch Dune on Max now.
It’s not exceptional to have the identical film enjoying on a number of companies: It’s also possible to, as an example, watch Wolf of Wall Road on each Netflix and Paramount+. However Dune is completely different for a few causes. And the explanation its look on Netflix is vital is that it tells you ways Hollywood and Wall Road have modified the way in which they have a look at streaming.
A really transient historical past of the streaming wars: For years, film studios and TV networks had been pleased to promote Netflix their previous stuff. Then they realized they’d helped construct Netflix into a significant competitor and adjusted their minds. Led by Disney, the massive studios stopped promoting Netflix their finest stuff and put these films and TV exhibits on their very own companies as an alternative.
That’s why Jason Kilar, the previous CEO of WBD’s predecessor, thought he was doing the appropriate factor by making all of the Warner Bros. films that got here out in 2021— together with Dune — obtainable to stream on his service the identical day they had been in theaters. A part of the logic was that it could be laborious for most individuals to see films in theaters due to the pandemic. The opposite half was that Kilar needed to offer folks a purpose to subscribe to what was then referred to as HBO Max.
However that was the previous means Massive Media thought in regards to the streaming wars: spend a ton of cash to construct up Netflix opponents, and don’t fear about dropping cash as a result of that didn’t trouble Netflix both.
That perspective expired greater than a 12 months in the past, when Netflix misplaced prospects and noticed its inventory tank, after which Wall Road determined it was not going to encourage media corporations to lose cash constructing streaming companies as shortly as doable.
Now, Wall Road is pushing large content material corporations to show their spending means down and discover new methods to generate profits from the stuff they’ve. Which is what WBD did earlier this 12 months when it licensed a bunch of HBO exhibits to Netflix. And that’s at the very least a part of what’s taking place right here with Dune.
One distinction, although, is that when it got here to HBO exhibits, WBD bought its competitor Netflix older titles, like Band of Brothers or Ballers, however not its marquee stuff, like Sport of Thrones or Succession. Dune is a latest film, and an enormous one: It grossed greater than $400 million on the field workplace, regardless that it was launched when a number of movie-watchers had been nonetheless avoiding theaters due to the pandemic.
So that you would possibly suppose WBD would wish to maintain Dune on Max, particularly since its sequel, initially scheduled to debut this fall, will come out subsequent spring. New film = new alternative to inform folks in regards to the previous film and the place to observe it completely, proper?
Nope. As an alternative, WBD folks inform me, the corporate made two calculations: One is that licensing Dune as a “co-exclusive” to Netflix, identical to promoting HBO exhibits to Netflix, will generate some money for a corporation that wants money as a result of it has near $50 billion in debt. And the opposite is that placing the primary Dune on Netflix might assist generate extra ticket consumers for Dune 2 when it debuts subsequent 12 months.
And that second thought appears … believable? For starters, Dune has been streaming on Max for some time, so anybody who needed to subscribe to see it has most likely already carried out so. And likewise, it’s completely doable that Netflix, with its large subscriber base, might certainly generate curiosity in a brand new film.
In any case, it’s fairly effectively established that reruns can do very, very effectively on Netflix. See: Breaking Unhealthy, The Workplace, Pals, and now … Fits? And HBO programming boss Casey Bloys advised me final week that HBO reruns on Netflix had been spiking curiosity for a similar exhibits on Max. It’s first rate odds that this may additionally work for a sprawling film starring two of popular culture’s largest stars.
Which is a really good distance of claiming that whereas there are many folks in Hollywood anxious about Massive Media’s about-face on streaming — particularly, folks seeking to make or promote initiatives streamers would have snapped up a few years in the past however gained’t contact now — there may be some upside, at the very least for shoppers: In case your favourite film isn’t on the streamer you subscribe to, simply wait. It might get there ultimately.