DC Films has more release dates secured for upcoming movies than Marvel Studios. The creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe set Marvel on a decade run of success that is now winding down. They have no plans of stopping after Avengers 4 wraps up this 22 movie arc, but they're being incredibly secretive about their future, with only Spider-Man: Far From Home confirmed on their post-Avengers 4 slate. Still, Marvel's continued success has put the pressure (unfairly or not) on DC to find massive success of their own.
Its been five years since Man of Steel unknowingly became a cinematic universe launching point. After devising their plans, Warner Bros. has rolled out four DC movies in the last two years. It is non-debatable that there's been more misses than hits, and that's caused the studio to rethink and reconfigure their plans as a result. With Walter Hamada now running the show, comic book movie fans actually know more about DC's upcoming slate than Marvel's at this point.
Warner Bros. confirmed plans for Birds of Prey to hit theaters in early 2020 this week, and, in doing so, further gained ground on Marvel. The Margot Robbie-led team-up movie - which now includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell - is the fifth DC movie to have a confirmed release date. Aquaman hits theaters this December, while 2019 includes a trio of movies that is made up of Shazam!, Joker, and Wonder Woman 1984. Marvel Studios on the other hand just has three movies with confirmed release dates in Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, and Far From Home.
There's reason on both sides for why this is the case. For DC's part, they are finally putting their plan in motion. They'll only have one movie hit theaters this year, but that was due to all the drama surrounding their attempt to build a universe before. The DCEU had multiple short-lived creative overseers before Hamada took control, and the rotation changed plans both for the short and long-term. The Flash, for instance, was given a 2018 release date back when WB made an initial slate announcement in 2014. This never came to be, though, while The Batman was also at one time expected to hit theaters this year. Now that Hamada's vision is taking shape, assigning release dates is the natural next step - and they're doing just that when individual projects are ready.
On Marvel's side, this is a complete reversal from how they've operated over the last several years. Marvel Studios announced their Phase 3 slate back in 2014, confirming their plans up until 2019. This was all done so Marvel could show the path to Thanos' arrival and the culmination of the MCU. Now that the end is in sight, Marvel wants to stay tight-lipped on what the future holds. After all, Infinity War ended with several prominent characters "dying" and future movies could spoil their fates. Unfortunately, for them, this is already happening due to Marvel not slowing down. Black Widow hired Cate Shortland to direct and Chloé Zhao was named director of The Eternals.
While DC currently has Marvel beat on the release date front, this could all quickly change. Marvel could announce a 2020 slate that includes Black Widow, The Eternals, and Doctor Strange 2 whenever they please. Depending on when the announcement comes, their slate up until 2022 or even 2023 could be revealed. DC may not be as inclined to do the same as it did not turn out the way they hoped the last time, but confirming The Flash and The Batman for 2020 may be their next step. WB has three other 2020 release dates that were previously announced for DC movies. Disney, on the other hand, has nine release dates lined up for "Untitled Marvel Movies" through 2022. DC has the lead now, but Marvel could leapfrog them very soon.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020