'Aquaman 2' Releasing Earlier Than Expected

The long-awaited Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will arrive in theaters a few days earlier than expected. Warner Bros. Pictures planned to release the film on Christmas Day but moved it up to Wednesday, Dec. 20 instead. Jason Momoa returns as Arthur Curry, alongside Amber Heard as Mera.

The move will give Aquaman a little breathing room before the usual glut of movies around Christmas Day. It will now face Sony Pictures' still-untitled Ghostbusters: Afterlife follow-up, notes Deadline. Universal's next Illumination animated film Migration opens a few days later on Dec. 23.

Warner Bros. will still have a new movie out on Christmas Day. The Color Purple, which was supposed to open on Dec. 20, will instead open on the holiday. This is a film adaptation of the 2005 stage musical, directed by Blitz Bazawule (Black Is King) and starring singer Fantasia as Celie Harris Johnson. This is also the second film adaptation of Alice Walker's 1982 novel, following Steven Spielberg's 1985 film. Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Quincy Jones are producing the musical with Scott Sanders.

Warner Bros. made a few other scheduling moves. Barry Levinson earned a green light for The Wise Guys, his next collaboration with Robert De Niro. It will open on Feb. 2, 2024, a date previously held by an animated Wizard of Oz movie about Dorothy's dog Toto. That movie, titled Toto, now does not have a date.

Director Jared Hess' movie inspired by the Minecraft video game starring Momoa will be released on April 4, 2025. Warner Bros. also reserved the Dec. 19, 2025 date for an unknown movie. There was also an unknown DC Comics movie set for release on Sept. 22, 2023, but that was dropped.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was directed by James Wan, with a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick. Mamoa has a "story by" credit on the film since he pitched the studio his idea for an Aquaman sequel while making the first Aquaman movie. Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Kidman also star. Ben Affleck is expected to appear as Bruce Wayne/Batman for what may be the final time.

The movie will be the last of four DC Comics movies released this year. Shazam! Fury of the Gods hit theaters last month. The Flash is up next and scheduled to finally open on June 16. Blue Beetle, which was once developed as a direct-to-HBO Max project, will hit theaters on Aug. 18. These four films will be the last movies in the DC Extended Universe franchise that started with Man of Steel in 2013.

The next inter-connected DC cinematic universe will be overseen by the new DC Studios chiefs, James Gunn and Peter Safran. Their first movie is Superman: Legacy, which will open on July 11, 2025. Other DC movies, including Joker: Folie a Deux and The Batman – Part II, will be released under the "DC Elseworlds" banner.