Shortly after it was reported that Dune would get pushed back by nearly a year, Warner Bros. has significantly reshuffled its film release calendar for the next two years. The biggest major delay is The Batman, which moves from October 2021 to March 2022. Several other comic book movies are following in The Batman‘s steps, with The Flash and Shazam 2 getting pushed back several months, while Black Adam has been taken off the release calendar entirely. Only Wonder Woman 1984 remains in its December 2020 slot.
Variety reports that Warner Bros. is significantly reshuffling its major release calendar in the wake of the delay of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Dune takes the October 1, 2021 date where The Batman was initially scheduled, pushing The Batman to March 4, 2022.
Most of the planned Warner Bros.’ DC movies are following suit, with The Flash vacating its June 3, 2022 slot for November 4, 2022, and Shazam 2 jumping from November 4, 2022 to June 2, 2023. Black Adam, previously set for December 22, 2021, has been taken off the release calendar entirely. No word on whether Aquaman 2, which was set for December 16, 2022, will also be pushed back. Only Wonder Woman 1984 keeps its December 2020 slot, making it and Pixar’s Soul the only major tentpoles to stick it out for this year, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that will soon change.
Meanwhile, Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix 4 is the only film to be pushed up a few months, moving from April 1, 2022 to December 22, 2021. The long-awaited sequel, which features the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, has recently resumed filming in Berlin with new COVID-19 safety measures in place.
Warner Bros. has also taken its video game adaptation Minecraft, originally slated for March 3, 2022, off the release calendar.
The studio cites production delays as the recent for this release calendar overhaul, with many productions slow to resume after the global shutdowns in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Even those that have restarted have had a rough time, with The Batman notably pausing production for two weeks after star Robert Pattinson tested positive for coronavirus. But it seems like work on The Matrix 4 is going swimmingly, with its release date being pushed up by four months.
However, it’s hard to ignore the part that the current state of movie theaters has played in this reshuffle. The September release of Warner Bros.’ Tenet did little to revive struggling cinemas, which reported lower-than-expected ticket sales and even losses, as audiences didn’t return to theaters in the wake of coronavirus case spikes in the U.S. Major markets in New York and Los Angeles remain closed, and already Cineworld, which owns the movie theater chain Regal, has announced plans to shutter theaters in the U.S. and U.K.
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