While Warner Bros. Discovery continues bringing delays and cancellations for various projects across the DC Universe, there are still a couple of major superhero movie releases set to drop in the near future.
Both Aquaman and Shazam are in line for follow-ups to their original solo movies, with Shazam! Fury of the Gods set to close out this year and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in line for a March 2023 debut. The underwater sequel in particular has dealt with its fair share of problems stemming from Amber Heard's civic court case, but with the current state of affairs at WBD, things haven't been easy for the entire DC franchise.
Fans are still reeling from the cancellation of Leslie Grace's Batgirl as the company works diligently to figure out its plan is for the DC Universe's future. This comes amidst numerous cancellations and delays for more than half a dozen other DC projects, although there haven't been any horribly negative updates from the theatrical side in some time.
That is until now, with two of DC's next three movies having just been delayed once again.
Aquaman and Shazam Sequels Delayed Yet Again
Warner Bros. Discovery has announced that both Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods have been delayed from their previous release slots.
Zachary Levi's Shazam! sequel will now debut on Aquaman 2's old date, March 17, 2023, while Jason Momoa's second Aquaman movie is set to come out on Christmas Day 2023. There are no reports on whether The Flash will be moved from its release date of June 23, 2023.
According to The Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit, one of the main reasons for the delay came from WBD looking to spread out the costs from marketing and distribution for its tent-poles. The studio reportedly only has enough cash to afford to advertise and release two big films in Black Adam and Don't Worry Darling.
Deadline added to the news, indicating that Aquaman 2 still requires more work in post-production before it's ready to make its debut. Additionally, this will give Shazam! 2 access to release on IMAX screens, which was previously an issue due to Disney releasing Avatar: Way of the Water in that format on the same date at first.
What Will Warner Bros. Do With DC Movies?
To put it simply, this is turning into an absolute disaster scenario for a company that was hoping to boast an impressive superhero movie universe by this point in time. Now, 2022 will end with only Matt Reeves' The Batman, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Black Adam, and the animated DC League of Super-Pets having come to theaters, surrounding the DC Universe in even more mystery.
Aquaman 2 and Shazam! 2 have already faced numerous delays before now, with Momoa's sequel director James Wan even specifically mentioning that the team needed more time to complete the movie's VFX work. Even though Wan now has an additional nine months to complete that work with the movie not coming out for another 16 months, fans are already wondering what in the world is going on with the studio behind these efforts.
The merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery has seemingly hampered both companies financially, even with some impressive box office results from this year's The Batman. But while that universe and Todd Phillips' Joker franchise seem to be safe for now, the studio is now in a bind in terms of money - so much so that Shazam! 2 had to be pushed back by three full months.
Hopefully, that delay will help the Shazam! sequel financially now that it doesn't have to compete directly with Avatar 2, a movie whose predecessor is once again the highest-grossing movie ever made.
But all in all, this is yet another tough situation on top of countless tough situations that WBD has dealt with throughout most of this year. This could mean more reshoots and changes for both of the movies that were delayed, and it could even mean that The Flash might be in jeopardy of being pushed once again too, particularly with leading star Ezra Miller's ongoing public image issues.
With a shocking number of problems left to resolve during this changing of the guard for Warner Bros. Discovery, the future of the DC Universe is currently looking quite bleak.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods will now release on March 17, 2023, while Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will premiere on December 25, 2023.