Warner Bros delays Shazam and Aquaman sequels

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Shazam!: Fury Of The Gods and Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom have both been hit with delays as the new-look studio continues to shuffle its pack.

It’s been a topsy-turvy time over at Warner Bros ever since the studio merged with Discovery. As ‘funeral screenings’ of the cancelled Batgirl movie reportedly take place on the studio lot this week to show the scrapped film to those who worked on it, the pall of uncertainty created by the recent merger continues to cast a shadow over future plans.

At the beginning of the month, superhero films set for the HBO Max streaming platform were in the crosshairs, with Wonder Twins and Batgirl both being canned, despite the latter being close to completion. By the middle of the month there was a ten year plan announced (in a rather vague fashion) for the DC Extended Universe amid reports of films such as The Flash, Joker: Folie à Deux and most recently, The Batman 2 being ‘safe’.

Now, here we are at the end of the month and any completed DCEU project that sports a colon is once more in a state of flux with the news that Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom and Shazam!: Fury Of The Gods have both been delayed. The Aquaman sequel has been pushed back a huge nine months from March 17th 2023 to December 25th 2023. Meanwhile, Shazam!: Fury Of The Gods (we’ll never get used to the awkwardness of that punctuation) which was originally slated for December of this year and will now take over Aquaman’s original March 2023 slot.

Whilst our first thought was that this move might have been made to preserve the narrative integrity of the DCEU, with Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom perhaps needing to arrive after The Flash, that’s not the case, as following the last DCEU raft of delays in March (when Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom was also delayed but Shazam!: Fury Of The Gods actually moved forwards), the studio had the Aquaman sequel arriving before The Flash. Now though, it’s set to arrive after that film.

Whether reshoots have meant the films can switch places, or Michael Keaton’s reported removal (as the 1989 incarnation of Batman) from The Lost Kingdom have made any differences to the narrative order, we don’t know. However, The Hollywood Reporter did claim earlier this month that delays were likely as the newly-formed Warner Bros Discovery had resulted in the company having less marketing spend on movies, meaning it could only afford to release one major DCEU tentpole over the course of the next year.

That their beloved comic book films are less of a priority for the merged company may be alarming news for DCEU fans. Meanwhile, the haphazard ‘restructuring’ of the DCEU continues to look a bit like a child mashing together Lego bricks into different configurations until they find something they like.

In other news, the Stephen King vampire adaptation, Salem’s Lot has been removed from the release schedule entirely whilst the House Party remake and Evil Dead Rises have been upgraded from streaming projects to theatrical releases, with dates set for Dec. 9, 2022 and April 21, 2023 respectively. We’ll bring you more on Warner Bros’ shifting slate as we hear it.

The Hollywood Reporter

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