The minute that Warner Bros. moved Denis Villeneuve’s anticipated science-fiction adaptation Dune back a full calendar year, DC fans expected the other shoe to drop on their beloved The Batman – primarily because Dune landed on the same date (October 1, 2021) as Matt Reeves’ planned release date. The studio didn’t wait long, immediately pushing The Batman back into 2022… and also tossing the rest of the DC film slate into a state of disarray.
Our sympathies certainly go out to Warner Bros., and all of the major studios, who are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy while the theatrical slowdown has caused chaos and headaches for every major release. When the dust settled on the recent shake up, The Batman had landed on the new release date of March 4, 2022 (per Variety), and the rest of the DC slate shuffled accordingly.
Seeing as how Matt Reeves’ The Batman was the only project on the DC calendar that had begun filming – and had dealt with its fair share of delays thanks to production hiccups – this was the movie that most easily could be plugged in and be ready to go when movie theaters are allowed to open back up and safely screen films for excited patrons. The rest of the movies were recently-announced efforts that made a splash at DC FanDome, but it turns out we won’t start seeing any of them any time soon.
After The Batman, Warner Bros. will try to get Ezra Miller’s The Flash into theaters on November 4, 2022. Directed by Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama), The Flash is expected to introduce the concept of the multiverse, and feature both Ben Affleck’s Batman, as well as Michael Keaton’s version of the character.
The other two confirmed DC superhero features fall back to 2023. Shazam 2 was on that November date claimed by The Flash, so it will now open on June 2, 2023. The news is worse for The Rock’s Black Adam movie, as that film loses its December 22, 2021 release date and has been removed from the calendar altogether. Let’s hope that’s a temporary move. We’re going to keep our eyes on Dwayne Johnson’s social media accounts, because you know he’s bound to share something soon regarding the delay.
Planning ahead on a large-scale cinematic universe is extremely difficult in these uncertain times. Release dates are fluid, and if a studio is going to attempt to connect its storylines, building a foundation on an unstable bed leads to constant shifts like this.
Fanbases also have grown accustomed to waiting in these uncertain times. Virtually every major movie we looked forward to seeing in 2020 has bene delayed, and while some films are finding their way back into production, following countless safety protocols, it means massive endeavors like the DC Film Slate will have to be pushed back. Like, really far back. Or, if you are Black Adam, off of the calendar completely.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.