If fear is the mind-killer, then all of this movie reshuffling is a close second for film fans.
When Warner Bros. announced that Dune was shifting from December 2020 to October 1, 2021 (the same release date as The Batman, which WB also distributes), it became clear that moving The Batman to a different date wasn’t far behind. In about six hours that became true, and it was just one of several date shifts announced by the studio.
As expected, The Batman will now be a 2022 event film, set to open on March 4 of that year. Not wanting to release major tentpoles too close together and cause them to compete against each other, that Batman move caused a domino effect on WB’s calendar — the first being Matrix 4, but it was hardly the only big franchise affected.
With Matrix 4 actually moving to an earlier release date while the rest have been delayed to later ones, here is the new calendar for Warner’s slate of event pictures:
- Dune — October 1, 2021 (previously December 18, 2020)
- Matrix 4 — December 22, 2021 (previously April 2, 2022)
- The Batman — March 4, 2022 (previously October 1, 2021)
- The Flash — November 4, 2022 (previously June 3, 2022)
- Shazam 2 — June 2, 2023 (previously November 4, 2022)
In addition, Warners announced that Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson (December 22, 2021) and the adaptation of the video game Minecraft (March 3, 2022) have been taken completely off of their release calendar with no new dates set. The projects were not designated as canceled either, so one assumes that new dates are TBD and forthcoming.
If that weren’t enough, the studio also planted flags for two yet-to-be-announced films for June 3, 2022 (previously occupied by The Flash) and August 5, 2022, both of which could (theoretically) end up being Black Adam and Minecraft.
Also worth noting: with Shazam 2 now opening in the summer of 2023, the stars of the original 2019 film (a move that revolved around a teen/adult body-swap formula) will be considerably older, especially teens Jack Dylan Grazer and Asher Angel (but also adult Shazam Zachary Levi). It will be interesting to see how the sequel compensates for this.
Shazam director David F. Sandberg addressed that very question — albeit comically — in this very clever Instagram post:
And finally, the one movie that stayed put: Wonder Woman 1984, which is still slated to open on Christmas Day this year, 2020. If theaters in New York and LA are back in business by that time (they’re currently closed in both cities, with no date set to reopen), then expect WW84 to remain the one event picture for our holiday season. If those cities remain closed, however, expect Diana Prince to pick up her lasso and leap to Summer 2021.
Despite all of these new confirmations, only one thing remains certain after this latest movie calendar overhaul: when it comes to release dates in the age of COVID, everything remains fluid.