Hollywood strikes delay Dune sequel until 2024

Jago News Desk Published: 26 August 2023, 05:56 PM | Updated: 26 August 2023, 08:51 PM
Hollywood strikes delay Dune sequel until 2024
AP/Shutterstock via Glamour

Warner Bros has delayed the planned November release of its big-budget Dune sequel until March 2024.

A spokesperson said the movie would not be released whilst the Hollywood actors' strike was ongoing because its stars cannot promote the movie.

Dune: Part Two, starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, was one of the most anticipated films of 2023.

The new release date means the movie is now out of contention for awards season early next year.

Dune: Part Two is a sci-fi sequel based on Frank Herbert's 1965 novel about the adventures of mythic hero named Paul Atreides.

Alongside Chalamet and Zendaya, the franchises also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin and Stellan Skarsgard.

The first movie in the franchise was a resounding critical success and with a star studded cast including the additions of Florence Pugh, Austin Butler an Christopher Walken, fans' anticipations for Dune: Part Two could not be higher.

But Warner Bros have said with the stars currently striking and unavailable to promote the film, it is reluctant to release it as scheduled for fear of missing out on financial gains.

Since the strikes began, there have been a number of lacklustre opening weekends for movies because of the promotional ban.

Warner Bros superhero movie Blue Beetle opened with $25m (£19.8m), a relatively low figure the studio will be eager not to repeat given the large scale investment in Dune.

The shift in the Warner Brothers release schedule has also caused a delay to other releases, with the studio also announcing today that it's delaying Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire from 15 March to 12 April 2024.

With the first Dune movie amassing over $400m (£317m) at the box office worldwide, the delay to the second instalment will come as a blow to cinema chains still trying to recover from the Covid pandemic.

Hollywood strikes continue

The members of the Writers Guild of America have been striking for several months, fighting for a better deal with Hollywood's studios in the streaming age.

In July, thousands of Hollywood actors from union SAG-AFTRA joined the strike, appearing at picket lines after last-ditch talks between their union and major studios broke down around a major deadline.

The beginning of the strikes saw the cast of Oppenheimer walk out of the movie's premiere in solidarity with their industry colleagues.

Since then, appearances and interviews with the press have been few and far between, with the pause in production having a knock on effect in the industry.

A number of studios have already announced delays to projects amid the ongoing strikes and there is expected to be more to come.

Originally slated for release in March 2024, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse has been delayed indefinitely by Sony, while Disney has also announced a reshuffle of its upcoming Star Wars, Marvel and Avatar films.

Awards season without Dune

In 2021 Denis Villeneuve's first Dune film received 10 Oscar nominations, eventually walking away with six wins on the night in the technical categories of production design, cinematography, film editing, sound, visual effects and original score.

Following the previous success and early buzz around the second instalment, the expectation is the movie would be very competitive those same categories and more.

However, the Oscars submission deadline for general categories is 18 November 2023, with preliminary shortlist voting and results announced in December.

The voting period will then run from 11-16 January 2024, with the official nominations announcement on 23 January.

This leaves Dune: Part Two firmly out of the race and the team behind the film will have to wait until 2025 to compete.

The absence of Dune may come as welcome news to other award contenders such as Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, both tipped for accolades next year after their box office successes this summer.

With the strikes continuing into the autumn, Dune: Part Two may not be the only contender missing come awards season, as the film industry continues to see and feel the knock on effects.

Source: BBC