'Dune: Part Two' pushed back to 2024 as Hollywood strikes bite

Poster of the film 'Dune: Part Two'
X, formerly known as Twitter

Warner Bros. has pushed back the hotly anticipated release of sci-fi sequel ‘Dune: Part Two’ until next year and postponed two other films -- one of the biggest changes so far to the movie calendar amid the ongoing actors' and writers' strikes.

The studio confirmed that ‘Dune: Part Two’ -- originally scheduled to premiere on 3 November -- will now open on 15 March, 2024, and monster showdown ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ will now debut in April 2024, not March.

The official social media accounts for the two films on X, formerly known as Twitter, showed both the old and new release dates early Friday. Both are co-produced by Legendary Entertainment.

US actress Zendaya Coleman, aka Zendaya (L) and French-American actor Timothee Chalamet pose during a photocall ahead of the avant-premiere of the science-fiction movie 'Dune' at the Grand Rex cinema hall in Paris on 6 September, 2021.

Warner also delayed the release of its animated ‘The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’ from April to December 2024.

The scheduling news comes as both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) remain on strike over wages and other conditions.

Under the strike terms, actors cannot shoot or promote any films affiliated with Hollywood's major studios or streaming platforms -- meaning ‘Dune 2’ stars Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet would not be part of its marketing campaign.

‘Challengers’ -- a tennis love triangle drama also starring Zendaya, who has more than 180 million followers on Instagram -- was pulled from its scheduled premiere at the Venice Film Festival and pushed back to April 2024.

Timothée Chalamet, Denis Villeneuve and Zendaya attend the Warner Bros. presentation of 'Dune: Part Two' during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on 25 April, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

WGA members walked off the job in May, and actors followed suit in July. The double strike, not seen in more than 60 years, has brought Tinseltown to a standstill, and there has not been any meaningful progress in negotiations.

‘Dune: Part Two’ was widely expected to be a major contender for next year's Oscars. The first installment in Denis Villeneuve's fresh adaptation of Frank Herbert's epic science-fiction novel won six Academy Awards out of 10 nominations.

But a March release could ultimately hinder its chances, as many Oscar favorites are released closer to the end of each year, putting them front and center for Academy voters.

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In July, Sony Pictures pushed back two of its major 2023 releases into 2024 -- a ‘Ghostbusters’ sequel and the comic book adaptation ‘Kraven the Hunter’.

It also has delayed the animated ‘Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider Verse’ -- the last in a critically acclaimed trilogy, which had been scheduled for March 2024. No new date has been given.

Writers -- as well as actors -- are renegotiating their collective contracts to demand better pay, guarantees to limit the use of artificial intelligence, and improvements to other working conditions.

Countless film shoots and productions have ground to a halt because of the strikes, and television's Emmy Awards were postponed by four months, to January.

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