Hollywood Actors' Strike Delays 'Dune' Sequel Release
Warner Bros (WBD.O) has officially announced the postponement of the highly anticipated "Dune" sequel, which was initially scheduled for a November release. The delay comes as a result of the ongoing Hollywood actors' strike, preventing the movie's stars from actively promoting the film.
This decision brings a significant setback to theater chains like AMC Entertainment (AMC.N), Cineplex (CGX.TO), and Cinemark (CNK.N), as they continue to grapple with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Dune" had emerged as one of the most eagerly awaited films slated for the latter part of 2023.
The sequel, "Dune: Part Two," is now slated to make its debut on March 15. This release date had initially been reserved for another Warner Bros production, "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire," which will now hit the screens on April 12. Consequently, an animated "Lord of the Rings" film, initially intended for an April release, has been rescheduled to December.
Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet lead the cast of "Dune: Part Two," a sci-fi sequel based on Frank Herbert’s iconic 1965 novel. The storyline revolves around an intergalactic conflict centered on the control of a valuable resource. The first installment, which was released in 2021 amid the pandemic, managed to amass an impressive $402 million in global box office earnings.
A major consequence of the ongoing actors' strike, which commenced on July 14 following the participation of the SAG-AFTRA actors union, is that prominent stars have declined to promote their upcoming projects. This has left movie studios grappling with the challenge of building anticipation for their releases without the usual star-studded red carpet events and talk show appearances.
The impact of the strike has led various studios to make adjustments to their film schedules. For instance, Sony Pictures (6758.T) has altered the release strategy for "Dumb Money," a film inspired by the real-life tale of everyday investors outsmarting Wall Street by capitalizing on GameStop's stock. Originally set for a nationwide release on September 22, the studio has now adopted a phased approach. The film will debut on a limited number of screens in New York and Los Angeles on September 15 before expanding across the country on October 6.
Although this year has seen a significant boost in moviegoing due to the success of films like "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer," overall attendance remains below pre-pandemic levels. Other major films lined up for release in 2023 include Walt Disney's (DIS.N) "The Marvels," a Lionsgate (LGFa.N) prequel to "The Hunger Games," and "Wonka," another Warner Bros production also featuring Timothée Chalamet.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which commenced on May 2, has resulted in the suspension of most scripted television show productions and some movie shoots. This labor dispute has caused significant disruptions across the entertainment industry landscape.