The spice must flow — for another whole year, apparently. As reported by Deadline, Denis Villeneuve’s take on Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel Dune is officially pushed from December 18, 2020, all the way back to October 1, 2021, making it yet another victim in the ongoing game of movie delay dominoes.
This obviously isn’t the first time this year there’s been seismic motion in the cinematic ocean. Especially, for Warner Bros. with the ongoing pandemic playing merry havoc with filming schedules, the ability to edit, the entire process of crafting CGI effects, and simply people’s ability to safely enter a movie theatre, period.
There was a certain inevitability to Dune’s move. Another Warner Bros. movie, the long-awaited DC follow-up Wonder Woman 1984 is currently slated to enter theatres on Christmas Day of 2020. Wonder Woman 1984 has moved so many times at this point it’s practically catching up with New Mutants, and it may yet find itself moved again.
But the simple truth is this: there’s no way on this Earth or any other where Warner Bros. puts two of its biggest properties into theatres one week after the other — that would be the cinematic equivalent of playing “Why are you hitting yourself?”
From James Bond to Batman: where Dune’s delay?
There are other external factors teeing up this schedule change. MGM recently decided that its new James Bond film No Time to Die would move from November 20, 2020, to April 2, 2021. Here’s the official twitter announcement by James Bond.
We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing NO TIME TO DIE next year.
— James Bond (@007) October 2, 2020
How that relates to Dune is simple but devastating. With another major gap in the movie release schedule, the cinema chain Cineworld decided to close 536 U.S.-based Regal Cinemas, as well as 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse spaces in the U.K. Naturally, Warner Bros. won’t want to risk releasing multiple flagship tent poles in 2020.
Especially, during a time when there may be precious few theatres to release them into. Dune is definitely delayed, but we can probably anticipate a similar announcement for Wonder Woman in the new few weeks.
Sadly, Dune’s move to October 1, 2021, is not where the damage ends. The saga continues, because there’s another Warner Bros. movie already pencilled in for that date, and it’s might well be their biggest of the year: Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Where The Batman will land in the overall schedule is entirely up in the air. It could even move up, but we wouldn’t hold our breath.