Warner Bros is delaying the release of some of its much-anticipated tentpole films as the coronavirus pandemic hinders post-production visual effects work. Film release dates being postponed include that of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, The Flash, Black Adam and Wonka, starring Timothee Chalamet as the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.
But the release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the sequel to the hit 2019 film Shazam! has been brought forward from 2023, and will now be released on December 12, 2022, in time for the Christmas season.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which follows 2018's Aquaman starring Jason Momoa, was scheduled to be released this year, but is now set for a March 17, 2023 release. Meanwhile, The Flash, meant to be the first solo film for Ezra Miller's superhero, will now be out on June 23, 2023. Both Momoa and Miller have played their characters in several films within the DC Extended Universe, beginning with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.
Fans of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be treated this year to two movies from the actor — the animated film DC League of Super-Pets, in which he voices Superman's dog, Krypto the Superdog, and Black Adam, in which he plays the DC supervillain.
"We're movin' and groovin' and changing release dates," Johnson announced on Wednesday, along with the new dates for the films. DC League of Super-Pets will now be released on July 29, while Black Adam is set for October 21.
"I've worked these fingers to the bone. Because it's the kind of project that comes once in a lifetime," Johnson said last year while unveiling a snippet from the film at DC FanDome. "The truth is, I was born to be Black Adam."
Johnson, who's been working on Black Adam as far back as 2007, reunites with director Jaume Collet-Serra, who he worked with in the hit Disney film, Jungle Cruise. The character is based on the DC Comics anti-hero and sworn nemesis of Shazam, the superhero portrayed by Zachary Levi in the 2019 film of the same name.
One of the biggest delays will be Chalamet's Wonka, which was initially set for a March 2023 outing. It will now be released on December 15, 2023.
In October, Chalamet, 25, shared a photo of himself on set, wearing a burgundy velvet jacket, patterned scarf and brown top hat, a classic look for the Roald Dahl character. The film will recount Wonka's early years and is directed by Paul King who helmed the two Paddington films. Olivia Colman, Rakhee Thakrar, Paterson Joseph, Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, Matt Lucas and Rich Fulcher will also star.
On Wednesday, Warner Bros also announced the release date of Meg 2: The Trench, the follow-up to 2018's The Meg, starring Jason Statham and a giant shark. The film is scheduled for August 4, 2023.
Warner Bros is having a great run at the box office with The Batman, which last week became the year's first film to exceed $100 million in its opening weekend in the US.
The latest in a growing collection of Batman films — this one a particularly gloomy version, starring English actor Robert Pattinson — has received wide acclaim and is the second pandemic-era release to surpass that milestone after Spider-Man: No Way Home.