We will not return to Arrakis in 2023. Warner Bros. has confirmed that Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to the smash hit Frank Herbert adaptation Dune will now release March 15, 2024, a four-month delay from its original planned November 2023 release.
To accommodate the schedule upheaval, the Hollywood Reporter further notes that Warner Bros. and Legendary have also pushed back Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire to April 12, 2024, as the film had previously been set to release on Dune: Part II’s new release date. That move also pushes another movie, the animated Lord of the Rings spinoff War of the Rohirrim, to December 13, 2024.
Warner Bros. has not yet chosen to delay any of its other major theatrical releases for the remainder of 2023, including its other Timothée Chalamet vehicle Wonka, still set for December 15, as well as DC Comics sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, starring Dune alumni Jason Momoa, set for December 20, and The Color Purple, set for December 25. That makes Dune 2 then the first major “casualty” of the unprecedented dual Hollywood strikes of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, with Warner Bros.—whose representative among other studio conglomerates, the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, have repeatedly failed to bring equitable negotiation offers to either striking guild since their labor actions began earlier this summer—likely concerned that Dune’s box office gains could be hampered by being unable to have its stars promote the film.
It emerged earlier this week that analyst sources for Hollywood studios speculate that they could stand to lose up to 15% of a movie’s projected box office revenue by being unable to have actors participate in promotional coverage for releases—work explicitly prohibited by SAG-AFTRA’s strike guidelines. You’d think that would convince them to do more than attempt to lecture either union into just accepting a deal that won’t get them anywhere near the protections that they deserve. But I guess delaying a highly anticipated movie and then hoping you can get fans to blame the strikes rather than the studios themselves—in spite of overwhelming public support for said strikes—is an easier tactic, although much more likely to blow up in their faces.
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