THE PENGUIN and DUNE Series Arrive on Max in Q3 2024, THE WHITE LOTUS Season 3 Drops in Early 2025

The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy will be coming out on Max in the third quarter of 2024, CEO David Zaslav confirmed recently.

Two of the most anticipated series coming to Max this year, The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy have received an update on their expected release windows on the platform. During Friday’s Q4 earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the following about the upcoming lineup of Max shows coming this year and in 2025:

“Looking ahead, we’ve got one of the best lineups in the history of HBO. This next quarter, we’ll have Hacks and House of the Dragon, followed by DC’s The Penguin and the new Dune series. Then in 2025, we’ll kick off the year with the new season of The White Lotus, followed by The Last of Us and Euphoria, just to name a few.”

– Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav

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While this doesn’t represent a huge deviation from what the tentative schedule looked like before, it’s always nice to hear directly from the source about release windows. Plus, from Zaslav’s quote, it seems logical to assume The White Lotus season 3 will be their big January 2025 show.

For starters, the Dune series, which was renamed from Dune: The Sisterhood to Dune: Prophecy amid many production issues, didn’t look like it’d be ready in time for a 2024 release. Production was halted for several months in late 2022 and filming didn’t resume until mid-2023, as it underwent a creative overhaul, with several stars, directors, and writers dropping out. (Sources close to production told Deadline the stoppage had been planned, though.)

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The key here is that the show employed mostly British Equity actors, and not SAG-AFTRA card holders, which means they were able to resume filming in Hungary even during the strikes without bending any North American rules. Anna Foerster took over from Johan Renck to direct multiple episodes of the series, while Olivia Williams replaced Shirley Henderson as Tula Harkonnen. Jodhi May stepped in for Indira Varma as Empress Natalya.

The Penguin Narrows Down Its Release Window

For a long time, the Colin Farrell-starring crime drama The Penguin, which is a spin-off from Matt Reeves’ The Batman, was looking like a fall release. However, if Zaslav is to be believed, it looks like we might be looking more into an August release date for the series, which hails from showrunner Lauren LeFranc.

Reeves executive produces, and Cristin Milioti also stars. With Zaslav saying it’s a Q3 release and mentioning it before Dune, which looks like it’s in a rougher state considering its production delays, it seems reasonable to think that it would come out before September.

The Penguin - image still
Photograph by Macall Polay/Max

At the same time, Q4 seems pretty empty for the streamer/network at the moment. Titles they haven’t mentioned yet include new seasons of HBO’s Industry and Somebody Somewhere, as well as Max’s The Sex Lives of College Girls. The first two are not exactly big draws of attention, with Industry, in particular, having been announced as a summer release in the past on the network (perhaps after House of the Dragon is done in late July?)

At this point, it seems like their big Q4 play will be Sam Mendes’ The Franchise, a comedy from the director of Skyfall and the creator of Veep about the making of a superhero movie. And though it will likely be pretty great, that’s an unproven IP for now. So what can Zaslav sell a big Q4 to his investors next year? Could they decide to push Dune: Prophecy a few weeks to boost those numbers, or could they perhaps try to hide that one under the rug in Q3, since a Dune series on Max with no real stars and going through production issues could be a recipe for disaster?

The Batman - Penguin in the Iceberg Lounge
COLIN FARRELL as Oswald Cobblepot/the Penguin in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “THE BATMAN,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics.

Here’s an alternative. Zaslav is already selling 2025 as their make-or-break year, in which they’ll relaunch the DC franchise with Superman: Legacy, start filming a new Harry Potter series for Max and release new seasons of The White Lotus, The Last of Us (both of which started filming this month), and Euphoria. There’s one more series on that pile, though: the It prequel series Welcome to Derry.

Since that began filming a while ago, I wonder if there’ll be a mandate from the top to bump it up to Q4 2024 if they can realistically get it ready by then. Given the success of the first film and the overall lack of horror titles on streaming, there’s a good chance it could give them some breathing room. (We should also keep in mind that WBD’s primary business is based on the ad market, and CNN will be drawing in a lot of money in Q4 2024 thanks to the election.)

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What do you think about these release dates? Do you think an August/September release for The Penguin and Dune: Prophecy makes sense? What do you hope to see in either one of these shows? Let us know your thoughts on Discord!

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

KEEP READING: DUNE: PART TWO Review – The Pinnacle of a Great Movie-Going Experience