Warner Bros., the prominent movie studio, has decided to postpone the anticipated release of the Dune sequel due to the ongoing Hollywood actors’ strike. The sequel, titled Dune: Part Two, was initially scheduled for a November release but will now hit theaters on March 15 of the following year. This decision has a significant impact on cinema chains like AMC Entertainment, Cineplex, and Cinemark, which are still grappling with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay is a setback for the late 2023 film lineup, as Dune was among the highly anticipated releases.
Starring Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, Dune: Part Two continues the sci-fi saga based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, revolving around an intergalactic battle for control over a valuable resource. The first installment, released in 2021 during the pandemic, raked in $402 million globally.
However, due to the ongoing strike involving the SAG-AFTRA actors union and Hollywood writers, major stars have refused to engage in promotional activities for upcoming projects. This strike, which began on July 14, has led studios to adapt their film schedules in the absence of celebrities available for red carpet events and talk shows, which are crucial for generating buzz.
As a result of the delay in Dune: Part Two, the release calendar for other films has been reshuffled. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, previously slated for March 15, will now hit theaters on April 12. Additionally, an animated Lord of the Rings film, originally set for April, has been pushed back to December.
Sony Pictures has also made adjustments in response to the strike. The release strategy for Dumb Money, a film inspired by the GameStop stock story, has been altered. Initially intended for a nationwide release on September 22, the film will now have a staggered release approach. It will debut in New York and Los Angeles on September 15 before expanding across the country on October 6.
Despite the Barbenheimer frenzy around films like Barbie and Oppenheimer this summer, overall moviegoing in 2023 remains below pre-pandemic levels. Notable releases for the rest of the year include Disney’s The Marvels, a Lionsgate prequel to The Hunger Games, and Wonka, another Warner Bros. film featuring Timothée Chalamet.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which commenced on May 2, has led to the halt of most scripted television shows and some movie productions.