Hollywood studios have been deterred from putting out their tentpole releases due to the pandemic.
Warner Bros has announced it is delaying the release of Dune and The Batman, as COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing measures continue to close cinemas across the world.
While audiences may be back in cinemas in China where the outbreak began, a rise in cases in the US, the UK and the rest of Europe means people are wary of heading back to the big screens.
Dune – a sci-fi movie directed by Canadian director Dennis Villeneuve – is now scheduled to open in October 2021, instead of this coming December.
The film has gained a lot of traction for a cast that includes 24-year-old Timothee Chalamet, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name.
It is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel and also stars Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin and Stellan Skarsgard.
The release of The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, has been moved to the spring of 2022 from next October.
Filming was shut down for two weeks last month after a member of the production – widely reported to be Pattinson – tested positive for coronavirus.
Filming resumed in Britain last month and Warner never confirmed or denied reports about Pattinson’s diagnosis.
News about Dune and The Batman comes after UK cinemas were forced to take drastic action due to the number of blockbusters being delayed.
On Monday, Cineworld announced it is temporarily closing all of its cinemas in the US and UK from Thursday. Just hours later, rival chain Odeon said it would move to a weekend-only model for the time being.
Other big-budget Warner movies to have had their releases delayed include Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet did end up coming out in August and took around $300m at the box office, but was not the blockbuster hit it was expected to be – mostly due to a poor showing in the US.
MGM’s decision to delay the release of the new James Bond movie No Time to Die until April 2021 has also been a huge blow for cinema chains.
One production which is back up and running is Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 7. The star has been spotted filming in Rome in the last few days, alongside other cast members Hayley Atwell and Vanessa Kirby.