Warner Bros. postpones Dune and Lord of the Rings films due to strike

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Warner Bros. Pictures Co. will push back the November release of the second installment of its big-budget “Dunes” until March because its stars cannot promote the movie, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Pictures said on Thursday. A movie during the Hollywood actors’ strike.

The decision deals a blow to movie theater chains such as AMC Entertainment (AMC.N), Cineplex (CGX.TO) and Cinemark (CNK.N) that are still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. “Dune” was one of the most anticipated films in the late 2023 schedule.

“Dune: Part Two” will now premiere on March 15, which is the date that was booked for the Warner Bros. movie “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.” The monster movie has been pushed back to April 12th.

As a result, the animated film “The Lord of the Rings”, which was scheduled to be shown in April, was moved to December.

Dune: Part Two stars Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet in the sci-fi sequel based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel about an intergalactic battle for control of a precious resource. The first part, which was released in 2021 during the pandemic, grossed $402 million at the global box office.

Top stars have refused to promote their upcoming projects since the Hollywood writers’ union SAG-AFTRA joined the strike and left on July 14.

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The actors’ strike prompted other movie studios to adjust movie schedules in the absence of celebrities to hit red carpets or talk shows to help generate buzz.

Sony Pictures (6758.T) changed strategy to release Dumb Money, the film based on the story of ordinary investors who beat Wall Street investors and got rich on shares of video game and electronics retailer GameStop.

The film was originally scheduled to open nationwide on September 22, though the studio adopted a more slow release strategy to pique audience reactions. The film will now be released on limited screens in New York and Los Angeles on September 15th before it hits across the country on October 6th.

Total movie viewing this year remains below pre-pandemic levels despite this summer’s big push from the “Barbenheimer” craze around the “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” movies.

Other major films on the 2023 schedule at the moment include Walt Disney’s The Marvels, a prequel to Lionsgate (LGFa.N)’s The Hunger Games, and Wonka, another Warner Bros. film he also stars in. Chalamet.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which began on May 2, halted most scripted television productions and some film shoots.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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