As the house of cards that is theatrical distribution 2020 continues to fall, the latest casualty is Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Dune,” which has just been moved off this year’s calendar and into 2021. “Dune” will now open on October 1, 2021, just under a year after its planned opening of December 18, 2020, in IMAX and 3D. Collider first reported the news. Warner Bros is not confirming the release date change at this time but we expect the announcement to be made in short order.
The new date “Dune” is moving to is currently where Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” is slated for by Warner Bros. No word yet on where that tentpole is moving. IndieWire has reached out to Warner Bros. for confirmation.
This is the latest major date change from Warner Bros. Pictures, who in September moved “Wonder Woman 1984” to a Christmas Day release on December 25, 2020. The “Wonder Woman” date change marked the fourth such COVID-related shift for Patty Jenkins’ DC tentpole, originally set to debut June 5, then August 14, then October 2.
“Dune” was under the gun to lock picture during the pandemic, as director Villeneuve said in August, “The impact was that it crushed my schedule right now. It will be a sprint to finish the movie on time right now.” “Dune” — starring Timothée Chalamet, recent Primetime Emmy winner for “Euphoria” Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and more — is one of the most anticipated movies of the year for sci-fi fans.
Disney similarly delayed a wave of major blockbusters in September, with Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” going December 10, 2021, instead of December 18, 2020, moving it entirely out of this year’s Oscar season. Marvel tentpole “Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson in the title role, was set to debut November 6 of this year, but Disney pushed it to May 7, 2021.
Another comic-book adventure newly delayed by Disney is “Eternals,” from acclaimed “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao, now debuting November 5, 2021 instead of its previous date of February 12, 2021. Meanwhile, Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Marvel’s first cinematic entry to feature an Asian lead with star Simu Liu, will now bow on July 9 next year instead of May 7.
Remaining in 2020 for now, however, is Kenneth Branagh’s “Death on the Nile,” Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ followup to 2017’s box office smash “Murder on the Orient Express.” The Agatha Christie mystery will open December 18, 2020, instead of October 23 as originally planned.
Anne Thompson contributed the reporting of this article.