What is the plan for the Superman reboot and Batman 3? On Wednesday the news broke that Warner Bros. had inked a major 20-film deal with IMAX to release most of their upcoming tentpole films over the foreseeable future in the large screen format. This deal included the major DC movies Batman 3 and Superman but it did not detail what potential release schedule they might follow.

Shortly after, our friends at IESB reported that – according to their sources – the next Superman film might be releasing in Christmas of 2012, the same year speculation places Batman 3 opening (likely in the summer).

[Update: When I said “likely in the summer,” I didn’t expect confirmation that it’s true only a few hours later. Production Weekly has confirmed that Warner Bros. is planning to release Batman 3 on July 20, 2012.]

As we know, Christopher Nolan is working on both films, directing Batman 3 and overseeing Superman. Rumors also point to his involvement, possibly as director, for a Justice League movie which could see his versions of the caped crusader and Kal-El join together with DC Comics’ other major heroes in an epic team-up movie.

Nothing is official on any of these fronts but we can expect some official announcement regarding Batman 3 at Comic-Con as well as some more information (and hopeful) confirmation of  Justice League movie as well.

On the topic of how these films can work together in the same universe when they’re built as separate and isolated stories, IESB continues to explain that they’re being told there’s a specific order and chronology to how their films are and will be released going forward which could allow their future DC movies to cross-populate and lead-in to team-up stories down the road.

Behind the scenes, Batman Begins is apparently being referred to as “Action Comics #1″ with The Dark Knight being #2, Green Lantern as #3 and so on and so forth. What this means is that when the first two Batman films took place, Bruce Wayne was the only known hero and Green Lantern and Superman didn’t exist (yet).

That way, when Green Lantern comes out, it could include a reference to Batman or Gotham City to acknowledge that it exists and this could continue in Batman 3 with hints to other heroes. They could continue the links with the Superman reboot and start to do what Marvel Studios is doing with their roster of Avengers characters.

Batman could become to Justice League what Iron Man is to The Avengers in that they’re the first (and only) heroes when they started who are publicly known in their universes. Since any potential Justice League is years away, once Nolan is done with the Batman trilogy and lending a hand for Superman, he could take on Justice League, assuming that he’s game for bringing all these characters together.

We can expect to find out more from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns this summer at San Diego Comic-Con and we’ll have a team there live to let you know as it happens.

What do you think of the future of DC movies?

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Source: IESB