Chain Reaction: Warner Bros. Delays Slew Of Big Movies

Following Cineworld’s decision on Monday to shut down U.S. and U.K. theaters for the foreseeable future, Warner Bros. is delaying the release of a slew of major movies — some as far out as 2023.

With more than 536 cinemas in the U.S. and 127 in the U.K. shuttering for now — darkening some 7,000 screens — Warner Bros. is delaying “Dune” from this December 18 to Oct. 1, 2021; “The Batman” from Oct. 1, 2021 to March 4, 2022; “The Flash” from June 3, 2022 to Nov. 4, 2022, and “Shazam! 2” from Nov. 4, 2022 to June 2, 2023.

The release dates for two films — “Black Adam” and “Minecraft” — are now indeterminate.

The release of the yet-to-be-titled new “Matrix” film, however, has been moved up from April 1, 2022 to Dec. 22, 2021.



“Dune”’s new release date was previously held by “The Batman,” which shut down production for a time this fall after star Robert Pattinson contracted the coronavirus, though it has now resumed shooting in the U.K., reports CNBC.

Warner Bros.’ second delay of the new James Bond movie “No Time to Die” — this time from November to April 2021— reportedly contributed to Cineworld’s decision to close cinemas. In addition, the studio moved the release of the new “Fast & Furious” movie from April to May 2021.

After the Cineworld and Warner Bros. announcements yesterday, AMC’s stock fell more than 11%, Cinemark’s fell more than 17%, and Marcus Theaters’ fell more than 6%.

For the studios, movie theater closures provide a solid reason to delay releases, while also serving to “back-fill holes” created by pandemic-driven production stoppages from this past March through July, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter noted to CNBC.

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