‘Aquaman,’ ‘Shazam!’ Sequels Push Back Release Dates

The sequels to Aquaman and Shazam! are changing their release dates in another major reshuffling at Warner Bros.

The James Wan-directed Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been pushed back more than eight months, from March 17, 2023, to Dec. 25, 2023, the studio announced Wednesday.

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Aquaman and the Lost City will see the return of Jason Momoa as the titular superhero, as well as Patrick Wilson’s Orm Marius and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta. It was recently revealed that Ben Affleck’s Batman will return for Aquaman 2. The first Aquaman was a major earner for Warner Bros./DC, grossing more than $1 billion at the global box office.

Also moving is Shazam! sequel Fury of the Gods, which was meant to come out in December of this year. It has landed on Aquaman 2′s old date, March 17, 2023.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported earlier this month that the two movies were likely to move — including Aquaman moving to Christmas — as new owner Warner Bros. Discovery looks to spread out the marketing and distribution costs associated with releasing a studio tentpole. When asked at the time about the pending release date changes, a spokesperson for Warners declined comment.

Shazam!, released in 2019, was a modest hit by superhero standards with $365.9 million, but was well-liked and praised for bringing a youthful energy to the genre. It told the story of a foster kid named Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who transformed into the hero Shazam (Levi). The sequel adds franchise newcomers Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren and Rachel Zegler, with the movie having had a massive debut last month at San Diego Comi-Con, where the film’s trailer premiered.

The release date changes come amid tumult for other DC properties, most notably Batgirl. The once HBO Max-bound movie was shelved and will not be released on any platform, despite being completely finished and having a $90 million price tag.

The unusual move comes after a change in leadership at Warners, with newly installed Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav prioritizing cost-cutting measures and refocusing Warners on creating theatrical films rather than projects for streaming.

Warners announced a slew of other changes and additions to its upcoming theatrical release calendar, including taking Salem’s Lot off its April 21, 2023, date. No new date was announced.

Other changes include dating New Line’s House Party redux for Dec. 9, 2022, Evil Dead Rise for April 21, 2023, and The Nun 2 for Sept. 8, 2023.

On the HBO Max side of the aisle, Warners announced a slew of 2022 holiday release dates for straight-to-streaming movies. A Christmas Story Christmas will hit the service on Nov. 17, 2022, followed by Holiday Holiday and A Christmas Mystery on Nov. 24, 2022, and A Hollywood Christmas on Dec. 1, 2022.

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