Canceling Batgirl was just the beginning.
In the ongoing shakeup at Warner Bros. under new WB Discovery CEO David Zaslav, the DC studio announced that Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom will be further delayed.
Shazam 2, starring Zachary Levi, moves a few months from December 21, 2022 to March 17, 2023 while Jason Momoa‘s Aquaman 2 is held back a full nine months from March 17, 2023 to December 25, 2023. This is the second release shift for both films.
While no specific reasons were given, it’s likely due to a combination of two things.
One, Visual Effects companies are backlogged in the wake of the COVID era. As studios play catchup on titles that had been put on pause, blockbuster tentpoles continue to need more time in post-production for completion.
And two, Warners set date for The Flash on June 23, 2023 (which co-stars Michael Keaton in his return as Batman) has become an open question. Not only are all DC films being re-evaluated under a new, higher set of standards under Zaslav’s regime but, more importantly, Flash star Ezra Miller has been mired in various legal problems and abuse scandals, but the release of The Flash at financial risk.
Miller recently submitted himself to psychiatric care and made a commitment to turn his life around, but more time may be needed before the studio feels comfortable about a Flash release date. The delays for Shazam 2 and Aquaman 2 now make a Flash delay more likely.
Warner’s schedule moves (and strategy shift to emphasize theatrical over streaming) weren’t limited to DC tentpoles. Horror sequel Evil Dead Rise and LeBron James‘s House Party reboot — both of which had been intended for streamer HBO Max — will now receive exclusive theatrical runs. House Party opens in multiplexes on December 9, 2022 and Evil Dead Rise will land on screens April 4, 2023.