Black Adam will be the only new DC movie you see in theaters this year. Warner Bros. just moved Shazam: Fury of the Gods from its original December 2022 release date to March 17, 2023, a date originally intended for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. However, that has now been pushed back as well, to December 25, 2023, so that director James Wan has more time to finish its visual effects.
In addition, instead of canceling two movies originally planned for HBO Max, the company has dated a remake of House Party for December 9 this year, in theaters, and moved the Evil Dead sequel, Evil Dead Rise, to April 21, 2023. Also, the company set September 8, 2023 for The Nun 2 and moved its new update of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot from April 21, 2023 to a TBD date later in the year.
Deadline broke the news of the shuffle and, from the audience’s perspective, it’s bad news. We now have to wait three extra months for Shazam and almost a full year more for Aquaman. That sucks! But in a business sense, it’s probably considered good news. Shazam could have potentially run into trouble going up against Avatar 2 this holiday season and The Batman’s March release this year proved any time works for a big superhero movie. As for Aquaman, the first film was such a massive visual effects undertaking that it obviously makes sense the sequel would be even more so. So eight to nine extra months to make sure that’s all right can only improve the movie. (And, we’re guessing, increase speculation about Amber Heard’s involvement.) The original also was a holiday release so there’s symmetry there.
Then there are the HBO Max titles getting theatrical bows, which is the exact opposite of the Batgirl situation. Evil Dead Rise, which is produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, is written and directed by Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground) and follows two sisters, Alyssa Sutherland (Vikings) and Lily Sullivan (Camp), who battle demons in the big city. The name recognition alone should make that an easy hit for the company, especially in a month usually devoid of horror. Same for House Party in December.
Ultimately, in a time when Warner Bros. film has come under heavy scrutiny, release dates are where the company can’t hide. Put a movie on a certain date, and you know there’s confidence. And while in many cases, delays can be seen as a negative, these moves, at least on the surface, seem encouraging.
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