The latest round of release date postponements has come along, and it’s set off a chain reaction that is pushing various anticipated films to 2021 and 2022, meaning even more difficulty for the crippled movie theater industry.
The big name on the chopping block: Denis Villeneueve‘s Dune, which is losing its December release date and being moved all the way to Oct. 1, 2021. The film was likely crowded out of its spot by Warner Bros. own Wonder Woman 1984, which is currently aiming for a Christmas window release. And with poor U.S. box office numbers for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the company is clearly concerned that they could have another high-profile misfire if cinemagoers don’t want to risk their health to see a cerebral science fiction movie like Dune.
The move of Dune’s release date sets off a chain reaction of other dates also being pushed, however. The Oct. 1, 2021 date that Dune is moving to means that Matt Reeves’ The Batman has to get bumped, all the way to March 4, 2022. Other films also being moved include the upcoming Matrix movie, which moves from Dec. 2021 to April 2022, and The Flash from June 2022 to Nov. 2022. Shazam! 2, meanwhile, moves all the way from Nov. 2022 to June 2023, while Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam is now apparently far enough out to be off the schedule entirely.
It should go without saying that this is more terrible news for the theater industry, which is reeling from the news that the second largest theater chain in the U.S., Regal, will close down again only two months after reopening in August, in response to the lack of films to exhibit. Will their absence mean there’s enough business to sustain the nation’s largest chain in the form of AMC? Or will AMC shut down its chain as well, bringing us back to the situation we were all in at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic back in the spring?
Either way, it’s getting harder and harder to believe that the theater industry will ever be able to fully recover from the challenges of 2020.