Put the Spice on Hold: ‘Dune 2’ Delayed Until 2024

DUNE 2 - Credit: Niko Tavernise

Dune 2 has been officially delayed. The highly-anticipated second part of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic (based on Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic) was set to arrive on Nov. 3, but will now hit theaters on March 15, 2024.

The decision comes as the major Hollywood studios continue to — by many accounts — stall on negotiating a fair contract with the striking actors union. The strike not only prevents actors from working but also promoting new projects. Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, the two studios behind Dune 2, have ostensibly decided they would rather delay the film than risk releasing it without the promotional boon of stars like Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, and Florence Pugh.

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(Such is Zendaya’s star power that Dune 2 isn’t the only movie starring her to see its release pushed: Challengers, the tennis love-triangle drama directed by Luca Guadagnino and co-starring Mike Fast and Josh O’Connor, was also pushed to 2024.)

The SAG-AFTRA strike kicked off in July after negotiations fell apart with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios and streaming services. According to an Aug. 9 update from SAG, the AMPTP has “not contacted [the union] to resume talks” since the original negotiations collapsed.

The SAG-AFTRA strike is happening concurrently with a Writers Guild of America Strike, which launched in May. While the two unions are fighting for plenty of things particular to their profession, they are also facing similar issues, like the encroaching threat of AI (which studios appear eager to use to write scripts and replace background actors) and boosting the meager residuals writers and actors receive from streaming shows.

The studios’ decision to push Dune 2 to 2024 suggests the SAG strike may not be resolved any time soon, and it could spell danger for other big Hollywood blockbusters planned for later this year. Per Variety, Warner Bros. was considering delays for its other big films this year, like The Color Purple and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, though as it stands, those are both still set to arrive in December.

Sony has also decided to delay some of its movies, too, like Kraven the Hunter and a Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel; Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, the third installment in the hit animation franchise, was slated for next year, as well, but it’s been fully taken off the release calendar.

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