Warner Bros is shuffling the release of Dune Part Two by a couple of week in order to give it an extended shot at IMAX screens.
One of the interesting subplots that played out during the summer of Barbie and Oppenheimer was the squeeze that took place on IMAX screens. The IMAX format attracts a premium ticket price, and studios tend to be quite fond of money.
Yet because Nolan’s Oppenheimer had a stranglehold on IMAX screens, that put the squeeze on Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, which had been shot with the format in mind. Its truncated run on IMAX was regarded as one reason the film’s box office fell a little short.
By now, had it not been for strikes, we’d have seen Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, which had been due in cinemas this autumn. Warner Bros opted to delay it to the 15th March of next year, however, so that its extensive ensemble cast would be available for promotional duties. Now we learn that the release date has come forward a little, to 1st March instead.
The subtext to this appears to be IMAX-related. That the studio knows it can get itself extra weeks on premium formats, and given that the film was shot with IMAX cameras, this is clearly important for its theatrical distribution.
The next big IMAX film after Dune looks like being Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which appears to be getting a special presentation. That’s due out at the end of March, and swiftly behind it is Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire in mid-April. A lot of Empires there, and by moving forward two weeks, Dune has an extra two weeks where it’ll likely commandeer IMAX screens, and hold them to itself.
With strikes now sorted, it seems, the chances of further date changes look negligible. And unlike Dead Reckoning, if you want to see the new Dune film on a really big screen, you’re likely to have a fair amount of time to do so.
For the minute, we’ll leave you with the trailer…