Throughout 2020, we've watched one promising blockbuster after another get pushed into 2021. But based on WB's latest movie calendar, it's clear that the studio is willing to delay releasing its superhero films for years until the box office and theaters are back to normal.
Yesterday, we learned WB's Dune would be pushed from 2020 to 2021, but that was only the beginning. The Batman, which previously held that spot, will now open five months later on March 4, 2022. The Flash, which brings back Justice League's Ezra Miller and Ben Affleck, also moves five months back to November 4, 2022.
Ominously, Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, once set to close out 2021, now has no release date at all. The same is true of Minecraft: The Movie, which had a March 2022 target but now isn't on WB's calendar. While these two aren't exactly cancelled, it's unclear now if filming or animation work could be delayed as a result.
- Matrix 4 won't have Laurence Fishburne, aka Morpheus, in it
- The Batman trailer offers a moody first look at Robert Pattinson's Dark Knight
- HBO Max is making The Batman spin-off TV show about Gotham City PD
Shazam! Fury of the Gods, WB's tentpole superhero film for November 2022, now moves to June 2, 2023, which feels ages away at this point.
The only positive shift to the schedule? The Matrix 4 has moved from April 1, 2022, to Dec. 22, 2021. Also, Wonder Woman 1984, despite its recent delay, is still clinging to its December 25, 2020 premiere date. Evidently, WB doesn't want to give up on holiday film revenue entirely.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab))
Did theater closings spook WB?
pic.twitter.com/pzYso3VkvMOctober 5, 2020
After Tenet failed to rekindle the box office, and film studios largely fled 2020's schedule, theaters have struggled thanks to low audience turnout and health regulations in several states limiting attendance.
Yesterday, Regal theaters announced that all of its businesses would remain closed until further notice. AMC and Cinemark, on the other hand, plan to remain open (opens in new tab) despite the lack of major releases in order to tempt crowds.
If films continue to underperform, and more US theaters do close, studios will have to choose between further delays or depending on the international box office and VOD to make them money.
While WB has mostly abandoned 2021, Marvel's recent Phase 4 delays placed Black Widow, Shang-Chi and The Eternals all in 2021 slots. If there is a film-going resurgence next year, Marvel Studios and Disney could win the superhero box office with no contest from DC/WB; or, they could also decide to keep pushing releases back into 2022.