Anybody planning on seeing a movie in 2020 better add it to their calendar in pencil.
On Monday, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune” became the latest in a slew of Hollywood films to delay its release due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Director Denis Villeneuve’s big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, starring Timothée Chalamet, will shift from Dec. 18 to Oct. 21, 2021, Warner Bros. said.
Studios initially pushed release dates only slightly at the onset of the pandemic but found that many cinemas remained closed months later. So, more dramatic schedule changes — sometimes to more than a year from now — have become the norm.
In September, Disney kicked several major 2020 movies to 2021, including Marvel’s “Black Widow” (May 7) and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (Dec. 10). Last week, the new James Bond film, “No Time To Die” announced it will debut April 2, 2021 instead of this November. With six years since “Spectre,” this marks the longest gap between 007 movies since 1989’s “License to Kill” and 1995’s “GoldenEye.”
Hollywood turned especially skittish after Warner Bros. premiered Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in September in an uncertain marketplace to middling results at the box office. Domestically, “Tenet” has made just $45 million. By contrast, Nolan’s hit WWII drama “Dunkirk” had taken in $168.5 million by its fifth week of release. Adding to the troubles, movie theaters are still legally prohibited from opening in New York — one of the country’s largest markets.
As a result of the lack of tentpole films, the Regal cinema chain said Monday it will temporarily shut all 536 of its US theaters, which reopened in August.