Film, News
Aug 25, 2023

‘Dune: Part Two’ Delays Release to 2024 Amid Ongoing Actors Strike

It’s official, the ongoing strike (now on day 40+ for SAGAFTRA and 115+ for WGA) has affected the winter blockbuster releases. Dune: Part Two has moved to a 2024 release date. Does that mean January might signal an end to the double strikes?

In a major change to the blockbuster November box office calendar, Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated Dune: Part Two has been pushed to 2024. Actors are unable to promote films during the strike and with September only a short week away it should be no surprise that the studio has erred on the side of caution. Legendary and Warner Bros.’ big-budget sequel was slated to open Nov. 3 in North America timed to its global rollout, but will instead debut domestically on March 15, 2024. The date does give us a bit of pause, does this mean that studios now anticipate the strike ending in January? Late December perhaps? We’re groaning just thinking about the implications of the new date for negotiating trajectories. Meanwhile, Legendary and Warner Brothers have also pushed back Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire one month to April 12, 2024 (it previously was set to open on Dune‘s new March 15 date). Lastly, pushing the next Godzilla installment resulted in relocating New Line and Warner Bros. Pictures Animation’s Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim from April 12, 2024, to Dec. 13, 2024. (New Line’s live-action LOTRtentpoles were a December staple.)

Dune: Part Two becomes the biggest casualty to date in terms of the strike’s impact on the 2023 theatrical release calendar, which isn’t great news for theater owners. Insiders say Warner Bros. is committed to theatrical,(lets not forget the same day Covid-era movie drops on Max) after the upheaval of the pandemic, the studio is hesitant to move things wholesale, even amid the uncertainty of the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

A movie like Dune: Part Two, which boasts a star-packed cast led by Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, would be challenged in terms of fulfilling its full box office potential without a strong global publicity push by talent. Legendary, home of the high-profile sequel, made the decision in tandem with Warners, its distribution partner out of fear of loosing millions for the highly anticipated sequel. Insiders revealed Legendary couldn’t wait anymore before pulling the plug, considering that Warners would have needed to begin marketing Dune 2 in earnest by early September.