The latest casualty of the ongoing war between Hollywood studios, the WGA, and SAG-AFTRA has arrived. On Thursday, Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Dune: Part Two has been delayed from November 3 of this year to March 15, 2024.
This is one of the highest-profile movie delays resulting from the strikes to date. Dune: Part Two wrapped filming last December. The film crew had plenty of time to pick up any additional shots and edit the movie before its November release date. The only real explanation is that Warner Bros. believes the sequel will make more money if the actors can promote it.
This is a pretty striking admission from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) as it continues negotiating with the Writer’s Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild over new contracts. Dune: Part Two has everything going for it: A cast full of stars, an acclaimed director in Denis Villeneuve, and a recognizable IP. And yet, Legendary and Warner Bros. would rather punt Dune 2 four months down the road than risk releasing it this fall without a deluge of interviews, talk show appearances, and social media posts from its cast.
I have a feeling this might come up the next time SAG-AFTRA sits down to discuss its contract with the AMPTP. After all, if the studios didn’t depend on the talent every step of the way, there wouldn’t be any point in delaying its release, would there?
In addition to Dune: Part Two, Warner Bros. is pushing back two other franchise flicks. Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire will now hit theaters on April 12, 2024, pushing animated prequel movie The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim to December 13, 2024.
For now, Warner Bros. is leaving Wonka (December 15), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 20), and The Color Purple (December 25) alone.