DC Movie Schedule: Shazam, Aquaman Sequel Delays Could Be A Good Thing

Warner Bros. Discovery just can’t stay out of the news. After weeks of fan frustration over the cancellation of movies like bat girl and remove titles like infinite train from HBO Max, the studio announced on Wednesday that it was delaying Shazam! Fury of the gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But unlike some of the company’s other recent moves, this one is likely a good step for the future of DC movies.

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the reasons for the delays of these films is marketing budgets. WarnerMedia wants to spread its marketing costs, focusing on the studio’s two remaining big movies for the rest of 2022, don’t worry darling and black adam.

Without having to market Shazam! 2 over the holidays is surely a money-saving tactic, it also speaks to Warner’s desperation to find a hit. Rather than splitting its marketing three ways, the delay allows the studio to focus its efforts on these two films in hopes of making them the kind of box office hits the studio has been missing out on in recent years — just a few exceptions like The Batman, a star is born, and Joker.

Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Warner Bros. was the most consistent performer at the box office of any major studio, but that’s been steadily declining since 2017. And HBO Max has made it worse.

While other studios have held on to their planned 2020 releases for years, waiting for the perfect moment, Warner has weathered poor box office results for releases like Principle and Wonder Woman 1984 to help boost the lineup of the streaming service. The company also announced that all of its 2021 movie releases will hit theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, sparking clashes with directors, actors and co-production studios across Hollywood.

This new release strategy represented a complete shift for Warner, essentially selling the potential box office returns of their films in favor of short-term increases for HBO Max subscribers. It was always inevitable that at least one studio would fall prey to the siren song of Netflix’s sky-high valuations, but HBO Max never got close to the subscribers it needed. The streaming service hit around 80 million subscribers, leaving it around 120 million shy of the highs of Disney Plus and Netflix, two companies that have massive subscriber numbers but still haven’t found the way to earn real money with their streaming. platforms.

Almost eight full months after the start of the 2022 box office, it’s now clear how much money WarnerMedia’s impatience may have left on the table. Movies like Paramount Top Gun: Maverick and even that of Warner Elvis and The Batman have proven that the box office is in full recovery mode, creating new success stories every month. But Warner’s push to get movies like Principle, Dunes, The Matrix Resurrections, King Richardand The Suicide Squad immediately made each of them fall short of their box office potential.

With these recent woes in mind, it’s easy to see why Warner Bros. Discovery is closer to medieval bloodshed than cutting surgical costs. The studio is in a difficult financial situation and it needs real hits.

But these new delays seem to indicate that Warner is learning from its recent mistakes. Along with a new focus on theatrical releases, the company now seems willing to delay a movie in hopes of giving it the best chance of succeeding.

This new, slightly more measured strategic direction is perhaps clearer with the delay in Shazam! Fury of the gods. The film, which will now be released on March 17, 2023, was originally scheduled for December 16 this year. If that date sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same release date as Avatar: The Way of the Water, which is sure to dominate any available IMAX and theatrical space. Warner Bros. is aware of this and is willing to humbly withdraw his film from the holiday competition in favor of a strategy more similar to The Batmanwas successfully released in March. Meanwhile, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released on December 25, 2023.

None of this necessarily guarantees success for Shazam! or any of Warner’s other films, but these recent delays seem like the first big step in the company’s new strategy. If the DC Universe is going to continue churning out huge blockbuster movies, WB is going to have to position each one carefully to get the best box office results they can manage.

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