'Dune: Part Two' Now Won't Hit Cinemas Until March 2024 Amid Hollywood's Strikes

The first Timothée Chalamet-starring 'Dune' film was also delayed from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarah Ward
Published on August 25, 2023
Updated on August 26, 2023

It's happening again: Dune, the sci-fi epic with a tumultuous on-screen history, is stuck in another cinematic sandstorm. There's always a feeling of déjà vu around Dune chaos, after David Lynch's 80s version became one of the most unfairly maligned sci-fi films ever crafted, and Alejandro Jodorowsky's take sadly didn't make it to screens (see: excellent documentary Jodorowsky's Dune). For filmmaker Denis Villeneuve's (Blade Runner 2049) two-part vision of Frank Herbert's 1965 book, off-screen events keep stopping it from reaching picture palaces when planned — initially COVID-19, and the latest setback coming during the writers' and actors' strikes.

Pop culture's spiciest sci-fi saga went through this before a few years back, with Dune: Part One delayed considerably in the pandemic's early days, jumping from Boxing Day 2020 to early December 2021. Now, as expected since SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on strike in mid-July, Dune: Part Two is pushing back its release date from November 2023 to March 2024.

The film's Twitter account (now X) now states "only in theatres March 15", which is the US date. Because films open on a Thursday Down Under, Dune: Part Two should now release in Australia and New Zealand on March 14.

Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in 'Dune: Part Two'.

Variety reports that Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire will also move release dates from mid-March to mid-April 2024 — and shifts back are also still being considered for Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom and The Colour Purple. Already, Force of Nature: The Dry 2 has been delayed, with no new date announced as yet; and so have Kraven the Hunter, the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife, tennis flick Challengers, the Ethan Coen (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) solo-directed Drive-Away Dolls and Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, all either to 2024 or with no date confirmed so far.

Villeneuve's first Dune scored ten Oscar nominations and six wins, but only told part of the novel's story. Cue Dune: Part Two to keep the tale going when it now hits the silver screen next year. As seen in not one but two trailers so far, war has arrived on the franchise's spice-laden planet, and Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet, Bones and All) and the Fremen are ready to fight. The former doesn't just want to face off against the folks who destroyed his family, but for the sandy celestial body, with Zendaya's (Euphoria) Chani at his side.

Timothée Chalamet in 'Dune: Part Two'.

The first film had Paul head to Arrakis because his dad Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac, Moon Knight) had just been given stewardship of the planet and its abundance of 'the spice' — aka the most valuable substance in the universe — and then get caught up in a bitter battle with malicious forces over the substance. It also saw Paul meet the population of people known as the Fremen, including Chani, plus Javier Bardem's (Lyle, Lyle Crocodile) Stilgar, which is who he and his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson, Silo) are with in Dune: Part Two.

Expansive desert landscape, golden and orange hues (again, Villeneuve helmed Blade Runner 2049), sandworms, the director's reliable eye for a spectacle and Hans Zimmer's (The Son) latest likely Oscar-winning score: they've all shown up in the new film's two glimpses so far. So have some of the franchise's new players, with Austin Butler ditching his Elvis locks as Feyd Rautha Harkonnen, the nephew of Stellan Skarsgard's (Andor) Baron Harkonnen. Christopher Walken (Severance) and Florence Pugh (The Wonder) also join the saga as Emperor Shaddam IV and his daughter Princess Irulen.

Léa Seydoux in 'Dune: Part Two'.

From the first film, Josh Brolin (Outer Range), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Beau Is Afraid) and Charlotte Rampling (Benedetta) return, while Léa Seydoux (Crimes of the Future) is another fresh addition to the cast.

Off-screen, Villeneuve has brought back not just Zimmer, but Oscar-winning Australian director of photography Greig Fraser (The Batman), Oscar-winning production designer Patrice Vermett (Vice), Oscar-winning editor Joe Walker (The Unforgivable), Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert (First Man)  and Oscar-nominated costume designer Jacqueline West (Song to Song).

Hollywood's actors are on strike to fight against diminishing residual payments for performers, and to establish firm rules about the future use of artificial intelligence in the industry, among other improvements to working conditions. When they took action in mid-July, SAG-AFTRA's members joined their counterparts in the Writers Guild of America, who've been striking since May.

Check out the latest Dune: Part Two trailer below:

Dune: Part Two will now release in cinemas Down Under on March 14, 2024.

Via Variety / The Hollywood Reporter.

Published on August 25, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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