It seems that 2020 is the gift that keeps on giving. Sci-fi fans recently had something to get excited about when the trailer for “Dune” dropped late last month. Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the popular book promises to be a thrilling ride from start to finish with plenty of giant sandworms mixed in.
Unfortunately, fans will have to wait a while longer. Warner Bros has officially pushed the release date of “Dune” back to October 1, 2021—nearly an entire year after its original release date.
The move is at least partially due to the recent announcement that Regal cinemas will be shutting down in the U.S. and U.K. for the foreseeable future amid continued pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Dune” joins a long list of other notable blockbusters that have been pushed back to next year.
Right now, the idea of going to sit in a crowded movie theater isn’t even appealing. That’s not to say the thought isn’t nostalgic. Throughout quarantine and this year’s extended period of social distancing, people have reminisced fondly of going to see films like “Avengers: Endgame” in theaters.
Unfortunately, the theater experience almost certainly isn’t coming back in 2020. With Cineworld’s announcement regarding Regal, there isn’t much left to look forward to for the film industry. The closure came shortly after the delay of the upcoming James Bond feature “No Time to Die,” which was originally scheduled to release this fall. Like “Dune,” it is also moving to 2021.
With an utter lack of new content, theaters have no other option but to shut down.
As for “Dune,” next year’s release remains partially in question. The October 1 date it now holds conflicts with another major release from Warner Bros—Robert Pattinson’s “The Batman.”
It’s worth noting that the superhero movie also got pushed back to 2021 after being delayed. With this in mind, it’s safe to assume that at least one of the films will have its release date changed once again. The question is, which one will yield?
Given that the release date for both films is so far away, Warner Bros has plenty of time to figure things out. Fans shouldn’t expect an answer anytime soon.
A Hurting Industry
It should come as no surprise that Warner Bros isn’t the only movie studio struggling right now. Disney has also had to delay several blockbusters, including “Black Widow,” the origin story of Scarlett Johannson’s “Avengers” character.
It will now arrive on May 7, 2021, six months later than its original release date of November 6. That’s noteworthy since it means 2020 is the first year to go without a Marvel Cinematic Universe film since 2009, points out Julia Alexander of The Verge.
Even so, it makes sense for studios to push back their major releases rather than have them flop with limited audiences. Warner Bros experienced that firsthand with “Tenet,” which only brought in $36.1 million in the U.S. That’s obviously not even close to making it profitable.
Despite the recent successes of some direct-to-consumer (DTC) releases, like “Trolls World Tour” and the $100 million it supposedly earned for Universal, the box office still reigns supreme. For big-ticket films like “Dune,” waiting to see what the world looks like at a later date is a smart move.