Dune isn't on HBO Max, but you can still watch it this weekend
Denis Villeneuve's 2021 sci-fi opus is returning to Imax screens and is also available to rent and buy -- for a not-so-small price.
Jennifer BissetFormer Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
If you were too busy to watch a two-and-a-half-hour sci-fi epic described by some as "boring" and incomplete (it covered only one half of its two-part story), don't worry. Denis Villeneuve's Dune has dropped off HBO Max, but the sci-fi spectacle is coming to digital platforms this weekend and will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K in January. Or you'll get another chance to see it on the biggest screen, as it also returns to Imax theaters.
Scroll down for exact details on the Imax return and home release dates.
Is Dune on HBO Max?
Dune hit HBO Max the same day it hit theaters: Oct. 21. However, as with all HBO Max simultaneous releases, also known as day-and-date releases, it was available only for one month. That month is now over -- but it'll be back sometime next year, once the home entertainment releases are out of the way.
Where can I watch Dune now that it's not on HBO Max?
If you want to see Dune on the big screen, it returned to Imax screens Friday Dec. 3.
If you prefer a smaller screen in the comfort of your own home, the film is now available on participating digital platforms -- most likely Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play and YouTube Movies -- for $30. Or you can rent it for $25.
Then, on Jan. 11, it'll be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD for $50, $40 and $35, respectively. The 4K UHD combo pack includes a ton of behind-the-scenes special features.
How much does HBO Max cost?
HBO Max costs $15 a month without advertising (you need the ad-free streaming plan to watch Dune on release day). And no, you won't have to pay extra on top of your subscription to watch the film.
Timothée Chalamet stars as young antihero Paul Atreides, the main character of Dune.
Here's a little of his backstory.
Paul, a "brilliant and gifted young man" grows up in an aristocratic family on the planet Caladan. One day, his father -- Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) -- accepts a gig supervising the desert planet Arrakis, otherwise known as Dune. It's the "most dangerous planet in the universe." (See: the planet's resident giant man-eating sandworms.)
This is when Paul's life takes a wild turn.
When the big Atreides clan ups and moves to their new home, Paul learns of his "great destiny" and what he must do to "ensure the future of his family and his people."
It all has something to do with a "precious resource" exclusive to the planet. Wars rage over acquiring it.
What's with the spice?
The planet Arrakis is home to the most valuable substance in the universe. It's called the spice, or melange.
What does the spice do? It's a powerful drug that can prolong human life and give people super-human mind control powers. It can also enable intergalactic travelers to "fold space" and travel faster than the speed of light.
Who does Zendaya play?
Let's touch on the other characters.
Zendaya basically plays Paul's love interest, a mysterious woman with glowing blue eyes named Chani. She lives on the planet Arrakis, part of the native Fremen tribes.
Oscar Isaac plays Paul's father, Duke Leto Atreides. Rebecca Ferguson plays his mother, Lady Jessica.
The two warriors Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho who train Paul in combat are played by Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa.
Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen, is played by Javier Bardem.
Stellan Skarsgard plays Baron Vladimir, the leader of House Harkonnen from Arrakis. They're in conflict with the Atreides family.
Charlotte Rampling plays the reverend mother of an order of women called the Bene Gesserit. They can read and control minds.
Every Dune 2021 trailer
The first full trailer for Dune debuted last September.
Another "main" trailer arrived at the end of July this year.
Let's address the 1984 adaptation by David Lynch
David Lynch directed an adaptation of Dune, released in 1984. It starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides.
While it may have eventually attained cult status, it was a box office and critical flop at the time of its release.
Villeneuve's Dune isn't a remake of Lynch's revision, promising to draw a closer connection with its source material -- Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name.
"Lynch is a master," Villeneuve told CNET in October. "It's just about that book that was beside my bed since 40 years, and the ideas that I love about the book were not on screen yet, so that's why I came back to it."
Dune: Part Two is a thing
Technically, the movie you'll see at the end of this year is Dune: Part One.