They put a brave face on, but when it came down to it, they blinked. COVID-19 has claimed its latest release date as Dune will jump from December of 2020 to October of 2021, meaning we’ll have to wait a full year to see what Denis Villeneuve has cooked up for his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s scifi classic. The movie had mountains of positive advance buzz, given the red hot cast, the source material’s pedigree and that trailer. But Warner Brothers knows better than to risk a box office bonanza on theaters that are only half open.
It’s the safe move and with that, 2020 is virtually clear of any major movie theatrical releases, give or take Tenet. Wonder Woman 1984 is still slated to open on Christmas Day and Pixar’s Soul is sticking with its November release date for now but, obviously, anything is possible. Regal Cinemas plans on being closed for the rest of the year no matter what movies come out, so any studio dropping a major movie into this market is taking a huge gamble — to say nothing to risk moviegoers themselves are taking.
Dune now shares a release date with WB’s The Batman, which means Matt Reeves’ new take on Gotham City could be moving as well. Depending on how things shake out, 2020 could end up being a year with no real theatrical tentpoles.