What’s the most popular unpopular science fiction movie of all time? Easy: 1984’s Dune, and it’s not close.
Unlike critically loved, but box office failure of 1982’s Blade Runner, the general consensus for David Lynch’s Dune is that not only did it fail to connect with a mainstream audience — it failed to connect with its intended audience, too. Further muddying the waters is the fact that Lynch asked his name be removed from several cuts of the film, and the fact that the movie deviates pretty substantially from Frank Herbert’s book in a few key areas: Mostly notably the end of the film where Paul suddenly has a magic power to make it rain.
These days, however, there’s more than a little bit of nostalgic love for the messy movie that is the 1984 Dune. There’s evidence for this nostalgia everywhere, and, it's very possible that without this tortured and much-maligned “first” Dune film, director Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming movie wouldn’t have a leg to stand on — or a sandworm to ride on, as it were.