The writer and actor strikes have the potential to do what the pandemic did to Hollywood and cause everyone to relive the days of long mass delays. Release dates shifted entire years during lockdowns for films ready for the screen and ones in the middle of production. This is what happened to Denis Villeneuve’s first Dune movie.
To a more minor degree, Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom was similarly impacted amidst ongoing worries that the film’s team have, but unhappy days are looming again. Except this time, they come in the name of solidarity with the unions. Both Dune 2 and Aquaman 2 are under threat of being pushed to next year if the strikes keep going.
Variety reports that Warner Bros. is “strongly considering pushing the Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya tentpole [Dune] to next year from its current Nov. 3 slot,” and the Lost Kingdom could follow suit — or so the outlet’s insiders claim. As a co-production with Legendary Entertainment, it might prove challenging to push Dune 2 back any further.
Warner Bros. has to run the move by Legendary first and they both have to sign off on it. However, the outlet reports that one source said “Legendary has yet to be approached by WB about a move.” Neither side commented but another source said “releases are moving forward as originally planned and no formal discussions have been had.” Union battles, however, might change that.
Their terms and restrictions prevent those films’ stars from promoting them. Variety looks at this as a detriment as we are talking about a current crop of stars — Chalamet, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, and others. Their profiles would help boost awareness — on paper — though there are intangibles to consider.
These are franchise movies based on IPs that have been around for decades and they have built-in audiences. However, those net positives could be negated by the fact people are already catching wind of the sequels’ quality thanks to the Internet, and they have made up their minds about whether or not they’re going to see them.
Looking anecdotally at the modern film climate and DC movies’ performance at the box office this year, the fate of Aquaman 2 is probably sealed and you can stick a fork (or a trident) in it.