The DC Comics sequels Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods were both postponed on Wednesday as the chaos at Warner Bros. Discovery continues. Shazam! 2 was originally planned to hit theaters in December, while Aquaman 2 was scheduled for March 2023. The reason for the shifts has little to do with the films themselves, but due to the costs of releasing them.
Fury of the Gods scored Aquaman's old date, March 17, 2023, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Director David F. Sandberg believes this is a good thing though, suggesting that it means Fury of the Gods will get a better shot at IMAX screens. If it did hit theaters in December, it would have to directly compete with Avatar: The Way of Water.
"While I'm an impatient bastard who wants people to see it as soon as possible (the film will be fully done in just a few weeks), the move makes sense since Avatar was taking all IMAX/PLF screens," Sandberg tweeted. "Fury of the Gods is a big movie & should be seen big!" Sandberg also directed the first Shazam! film, which featured Zachary Levi as the title character and Asher Angel as Billy Batson. Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, and Rachel Zegler joined the franchise for the new film.
The Lost Kingdom is now scheduled for Dec. 25, 2023. It will not have to compete with another Avatar film, since Avatar 3 is not expected to hit theaters until December 2024. The first Aquaman grossed over $1 billion. Jason Momoa is returning as the title character, and Ben Affleck's Batman will make an appearance.
When Warner Bros. Discovery shockingly canceled the HBO Max movie Batgirl, THR reported there were rumors that both Shazam! and Aquaman sequels would be rescheduled. The new dates will allow Warner Bros. Discovery to spread out marketing costs associated with a big tentpole. THR's Borys Kit later reported that the company only has "enough cash" to release two more movies for the rest of 2022, Olivia Wilde's drama Don't Worry Darling and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's DC film Black Adam. Kit later noted that a third film, House Party, will hit theaters on Dec. 9, so that's three movies for the company. House Party, produced by LeBron James, was set to hit HBO Max in July but mysteriously never did.
House Party isn't the only former HBO Max exclusive to get a theatrical release, notes Deadline. Lee Cronin's Evil Dead Rise will open on April 21, 2023. Warner Bros. Discovery also scheduled The Conjuring franchise movie The Nun 2 for Sept. 8, 2023. A new film adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot lost its April 21, 2023 release date, but it will still come out next year. The company also grabbed the Feb. 10, 2023 release date for an unknown "event film."