Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Delays Release Date

Warner Bros. has delayed the release of “Dune,” the sci-fi epic from director Denis Villeneuve. It will no longer premiere Dec. 18 and is now slated to debut in theaters Oct. 1, 2021.

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. declined to comment.

The move was expected after the studio pushed “Wonder Woman 1984” back from early October to Christmas Day, putting the comic book sequel’s big screen debut one week ahead of “Dune.” In normal circumstances, but especially during the pandemic, Warner Bros. wouldn’t cannibalize ticket sales for a fellow studio release.

Also accelerating the news: It comes just days after James Bond sequel “No Time to Die” was pushed back to 2021. That decision prompted Regal, the second-biggest U.S. theater chain, to close down its venues after reopening in August. If major movies continue to vacate their release dates, other circuits may be forced to shut down again as well.

“Dune” was originally scheduled for November but multiple times amid the pandemic. It is one of many anticipated films that was shelved as movie theaters were forced to close in March.

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” also from Warner Bros., was expected to spark a nationwide return to the movies and give rival studios the confidence to unveil major tentpoles as well. But attendance has been slower than expected. “Tenet’s” lackluster ticket sales from U.S. cinemas has forced studios to pump the brakes on releasing big-budgeted movies during the pandemic. Box office analysts don’t expect new tentpoles to grace theaters until important moviegoing markets such as New York City and Los Angeles are granted permission to reopen. Given the reluctance to debut blockbusters, the holiday season — typically one of the busiest times of year for multiplexes — will likely be lighter than usual.

“Dune” is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel and stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin and Zendaya.

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