Why Are Some Movie Fans Calling For A “Dune 2” Boycott?

Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited Dune sequel finally arrived in theaters this weekend to rave reviews from critics and general audiences alike. Unfortunately, some social media users have taken issue with the film and have called for a full-scale boycott of the sci-fi adventure. The reasoning for the Dune 2 boycott is fairly niche, however, and unlikely to hold a great impact on the film’s profitability. Still, it’s worth examining, as the issue ties-in to a significant global conflict which has already cost many actors their jobs. Here’s a look into why some fans are demanding a Dune 2 boycott.

The Boycott Centers On A November 2023 SNL Sketch

Dune 2 lead Timothée Chalamet hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live back in November, which saw him taking on a number of roles in comedy sketches throughout the evening. One pre-recorded sketch, headed by one of SNL‘s in-house comedy troupes Please Don’t Destroy, centered on Chalamet’s character planning to leap from a ledge to his death. The trio behind Please Don’t Destroy, portraying fictionalized versions of themselves, see Chalamet as he prepares to leap and attempt to stop him from doing so, asking him if there’s anything in his life worth living for. The punchline of the sketch is that Chalamet’s character is an aspiring musician, though his music, which he proceeds to play over a Bluetooth speaker as he teeters on the edge of a ledge, is all terrible.

While most of the punchlines in the sketch come and go with little controversy, one joke which references the Palestinian political group Hamas has received negative press from users on social media platforms such as TikTok and Reddit. The joke in question sees Chalamet asking onlookers to share his music on Instagram, and explaining that his band is named Hamas (pronounced hay-mis, but spelled H-A-M-A-S) prompting one member of Please Don’t Destroy to shout, “Yeah dude I’m not sharing a song by Hamas on Instagram!”

Supporters Of Palestine Find The Joke To Be “Disgusting” & “Disrespectful”

While a Dune 2 boycott doesn’t seem to have much of a foothold in general pop culture, many niche groups which support Palestine in the ongoing conflict at the Gaza Strip consider this joke to be tasteless. Others have used the joke as a jumping-off point to criticize the film itself, as well as the novel series on which it is based. Dune defenders have responded to these TikTokers in droves, explaining that the story of Dune carries political themes that wholeheartedly support Palestinian sovereignty.

Furthermore, Dune 2 filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has specifically made pro-Palestine comments in the past and has even expressed interest in helming a film highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people. Other key actors in the film such as Zendaya and Javier Bardem have also taken public stances in support of Palestine, prompting many fans of the film to defend Dune 2 against the calls to boycott.

Timothée Chalamet has not yet remarked on the impending Dune 2 boycott or clarified his personal stance on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. This political position has become something of a minefield for Hollywood performers, with many actors being fired from high-profile projects for weighing in. For now, there’s no way of knowing how the social media situation will impact the film’s reception or Chalamet’s career at large.