Dune, Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Oscar Isaac, will be pushed back nearly a year from its original Dec. 18 release date.
According to Collider, the new release date for Dune is Oct. 1, 2021. The Batman, which originally was set to be released on Oct. 1, 2021, has now been pushed back to March 4, 2022.
The reason for Dune’s delay, like many big tentpole movies this year, is due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic affecting box office returns. Many movie theaters in the U.S. and around the world have reopened, but in the U.S.—where COVID-19 has caused more than 210,000 deaths and is still a major problem in much of the country—many still feel unsafe going to an indoor movie theater or flat-out refuse to do until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19.
Notably, Dune trailers released online last month didn’t include a release date. News of Dune’s delay comes days after No Time To Die was delayed a second time for an April 2021 release. As a result, Cineworld is closing all of its Regal Cinemas theater chains in the U.S. and Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the U.K.
Disney also pushed back most of its major films in recent weeks. The Empty Man (Oct. 23), Death of the Nile (Dec. 18), and Soul (Nov. 20) are still on the docket for 2020, although reports indicate that Soul might be released on Disney+ instead. And although some smaller indie films are getting theatrical releases, the release window is much shorter—and they often don’t have the grand financial expectations that blockbusters have from the studios that release them.
Now that Dune won’t be released until 2021, Wonder Woman 1984 is one of the last major releases still set for 2020. It’s still set for a Dec. 25 release date, but given the studio shuffling Dune to 2021 (not to mention Tenet’s box office performance), it’s possible that Wonder Woman 1984 could be shifted yet again.
Update 8:43am CT, Oct. 6: Warner Bros. has now shifted the release dates of several upcoming films. Along with The Batman‘s new release date of March 4, 2022, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is being pushed back by several months from Nov. 4, 2022, to June 2, 2023. The Flash will now take Shazam’s vacated Nov. 4, 2022 date while The Matrix 4 will now be released several months early on Dec. 22, 2021. Two other films, Black Adam (starring Dwayne Johnson) and the Minecraft movie, have both been removed from Warner Bros.’ release schedule for the time being.
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