Warner Bros. and the DC live-action universe are currently surfing on the massive success of James Wan's Aquaman. The underwater blockbuster made a ton of money at the box office, and delivered DC's first critical darling since Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. All eyes are on what's next for Jason Momoa's hulking Arthur Curry, with the studio recently revealing plans for the film's sequel, hitting theaters in December of 2022. The fandom will have to wait a few years before diving back in, but is the 2022 release date actually an attempt to avoid competition with the Avatar franchise?
James Cameron is set to finally come through with the Avatar sequels, more than a decade after the first film arrived in theaters to break records. Avatar 2 will hit theaters in December 2020, in the spot left by Star Wars' absence following Episode IX. The threequel will then arrive December 17, 2021, so the writing is on the wall for the next few holiday seasons. Still, fans may be wondering why Aquaman 2 is holding off until 2022.
One struggle that comes with hide theatrical releases is timing. Having less competition at the box office can lead to major numbers, which is ultimately what studios like Warner Bros. are hoping for. And considering just how well the first Avatar movie performed, going up against the highly anticipated sequels would certainly be a bold move for Aquaman's sequel. He may be the King of the Sea, but Arthur Curry does have his limitations.
The timing of Aquaman's release no doubt helped the film become such a hit with audiences. December of 2018 was the first time Lucasfilm didn't release a new Star Wars movie in three holiday seasons. There was a noticeable gap in programming, and James Wan's underwater adventure scratched the itch felt by fans of action movies and nerd culture. As a result, Aquaman made a ton of money both domestically and internationally.
There has been no word yet as to whether or not James Wan will step behind the camera for Aquaman 2. But given the director's sterling reputation and his ability to seemingly do the impossible with Aquaman's underwater sequences, it seems likely that Warner Bros. would want him to return for the sequel. And considering how far away the Aquaman 2's release actually is, Wan should be able to schedule himself properly and balance the myriad other projects he's working on. Fingers crossed.
Aquaman's sequel is currently set to arrive in theaters on December 16, 2022. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.