The storyboards of the doomed 1970s film version of the sci-fi classic Dune have sold for 2.66 million euros ($ 3 million) at auction, about 100 times the expected price.
Long considered a mythical object by science fiction fans, Franco-Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s sketchbook for the film sparked a bidding war at Christie’s in Paris.
The film project was supposed to bring together some of the leading stars of the period, including Salvador Dalí, Mick Jagger and Pink Floyd, but fell apart after four years of preparation due to lack of funding.
The auction was narrowed down to two determined bidders, and one American ultimately emerged victorious.
Christie’s admitted that its initial valuation of the drawings, between 25,000 and 35,000 euros, had not taken into account the increase in interest caused by the remake of the film starring Timothée Chalamet, which has topped the box office around the world.
The drawings are assembled in a large notebook and were made by the famous French graphic novelist Moebius (aka Jean Giraud, who died in 2012) and the Swiss illustrator Giger, who designed the film “Alien” in 1979 and died in 2014.
In addition to Dalí and Jagger, Dune’s tumultuous project was also to feature veteran Hollywood legends Orson Welles and Gloria Swanson in the cast, with Pink Floyd among the bands who came forward for the soundtrack.
His infamous collapse was recounted in the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.
A brainchild of author Frank Herbert, the novel Dune was first published in 1965 and became a highly influential six-volume space opera, most notably in the Star Wars franchise.
After the latter’s huge box office success, Hollywood took a renewed interest in Dune in the early 1980s.
That led to the David Lynch version, released in 1984 with a cast that included British musician Sting and Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: Next Generation. But that Dune movie had its own problems and became one of the biggest flops of the decade.
Jodorowsky’s storyboards were said to have influenced later hits of the genre, including Blade Runner.
“We know of several other copies: one was offered for auction several years ago, another is in Jodorowsky’s possession … A third has been partially reproduced online,” Christie’s said.
He said that between 10 and 20 copies were produced, although it was difficult to be sure.