Warner Bros. film studios said it will delay the release of its "Dune" and "The Batman" movies, setting back an entertainment industry already struggling to survive because of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and social distancing measures that have closed theaters worldwide.
Two weeks ago, Disney postponed the release of "Black Widow" and a couple other films to 2021 drawing varied responses from fans across the U.S. on social media.
This fresh announcement comes after Cineworld Group, the world's second-biggest movie theater chain, said it would close its British and U.S. theaters, blaming the reluctance of studios to go ahead with major releases for the decision.
AMC Entertainment, the world's No.1 chain, said on Tuesday that most of its theaters in the United States and Europe would remain open as it looks forward to screening a number of upcoming releases, including this weekend's new films "The War With Grandpa," starring Robert De Niro, and "Yellow Rose."
Warner Bros. said late Monday that its sci-fi pic "Dune," directed by Canadian Dennis Villeneuve, is now scheduled to open in October 2021, instead of December. The release of "The Batman," starring Robert Pattinson, has been moved to the spring of 2022 from October of next year.
Earlier, the filming of "The Batman" was shut down for two weeks after a member of the production staff tested positive for the new coronavirus. Filming resumed in Britain last month and Warner Bros. never confirmed or denied reports of Pattinson's diagnosis.
The studio also pushed back its "Matrix" sequel to Dec. 2021.
Now, only a few big films are still set to open in 2020: Pixar's "Soul," on Nov. 20, Universal's "The Croods: A New Age," on Nov. 25, Disney's "Death on the Nile," on Dec. 18 and Warner Bros.' "Wonder Woman 1984," at Christmas.