How Many DC Movies Will Actually Enter Production in 2019?
It's important to stress that Warner Bros. does appear to have changed strategy with the DC Extended Universe. The current approach seems to be to sign off on a mix of tentpole superhero movies and lower-budget, potentially R-rated films. Presumably, the studio is taking a tip from 21st Century Fox, whose X-Men franchise has been revitalized by the success of films like Logan and Deadpool. If that is the case, we could actually see DC Films expand their slate quite dramatically, and with minimal expense. Both Todd Phillips's Joker origin story and the Birds of Prey film are likely to take this approach (the former isn't even sharing continuity with the rest of the DCEU). Naturally, that kind of approach simply wouldn't work for the likes of The Flash and Green Lantern. Still, by diversifying their slate, Warner Bros. would actually be able to make more films. What's more, the diversity of releases - some spectacular tentpole superhero set-pieces, others R-rated genre productions - would hopefully prevent audiences getting tired of superhero movies.
There are two major issues, though. The first is scheduling. Many of these films involve the same characters, meaning prioritizing production on one movie will tie-up the actor and inevitably delays others. That's likely to be a major problem for Jared Leto and Margot Robbie. Secondly, it's going to be difficult to maintain continuity. Let's say, for example, that Harley Quinn undergoes a major character change in Birds of Prey; that could potentially cause rewrites in Suicide Squad 2. In a shared cinematic universe, every film has the potential to subtly reshape the narrative of the rest. That may well be one reason DC Films is considering "Elseworlds"-esque films like the Joker origin movie. That way they stand alone, and won't be affected by further changes in the slate.
It is also possible that some of these films are slated for a 2021 release. If production of a movie began in Quarter 4 of 2019, it probably wouldn't have left the editing room by the end of 2020. Even counting all these factors, though, it really does seem as though Warner Bros. has too many ideas in the works for a relatively short period. It's worth remembering that rival Marvel Studios tend to release three movies a year; at this rate, from 2019 to 2021, Warner Bros. could potentially top them by releasing four. The most likely scenario is that the final production schedule, and certainly the release schedule, will be a little more spaced out.
The best thing for Warner Bros. to do, of course, would be to actually make an official announcement; to explain what their upcoming slate now looks like, and what direction the DCEU is going to take. San Diego Comic-Con may well offer a perfect opportunity to do this.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020