Denis Villeneuve is 'disappointed' that 'Dune: Part 2' is still the most successful box office movie of 2024

The Quebec-born filmmaker was in Toronto to receive the Academy Icon Award at the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards

Denis Villeneuve at the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards Gala (George Pimentel)
Denis Villeneuve at the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards Gala (George Pimentel)

Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve was in Toronto on Friday to receive the Academy Icon Award at the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards. After accepting the honour, amid the massive success for his film Dune: Part Two, he commented on the slow start we've seen to the summer box office for new movies.

"I think we need movies that are theatrical experiences, that will fully embrace the power of the theatre, 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 theatre," Villeneuve told reporters. "I was lucky that Part 2 did reach the audience, I wish it would happen more often, honestly."

"I'm disappointed to still be number one. ... 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's comments came after a tepid start for summer film releases, with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga performing worse than expected, with many calling out that mass audiences haven't flocked to the theatre since Dune: Part 2 was released. Villeneuve's film is currently the most successful box office movie of 2024, achieving more than US$711 million worldwide.

In his acceptance speech, Villeneuve thanked Canada and the Academy for "protecting" his "cinematic voice" as he was growing up as a filmmaker.

"More than ever, it is important that our country fully supports today's new voices. We absolutely need them," Villeneuve said. "Culture is what truly defines a country. Culture is the real strength. Culture is our identity. Culture is us. Culture is the first thing fascism attacks."

"We must never take things for granted. Canada must keep encouraging its artists in times when even the notion of truth is challenged. Culture is more than ever fundamental for the health of our democracy, and cinema being the most powerful art form ever created. 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."

As a champion of cinema, Villeneuve told reporter he continues to "defend the idea of the collective experience" as a filmmaker.

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