The popular subject of discussion yesterday afternoon, movie news-wise, was Warner Bros.' announcement of release dates for nine DC comic book movies and the studio's related decision to bump up the launch date for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice by a couple months. However, during all the hustle and bustle, WB also staked out release dates for a pair of "Event Films" and two "Animated Films" that will begin arriving in 2018. Question is, exactly which WB tentpoles have these dates been reserved for?
Well, the popular (and perhaps most reasonable) theory right now is that the "Event Films" are sequels to the upcoming Harry Potter franchise spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The project, which is being written by HP creator J.K. Rowling, will follow magizoologist Newt Scamander as he travels around the Wizarding World and collects information for his encyclopedia on magical creatures (some 70 years before The Boy Who Lived's time).
Fantastic Beasts is currently scheduled to hit theaters on November 18th, 2016, though WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara has gone ahead and revealed that WB's plan is to eventually produce a trilogy of Fantastic Beasts movies. The dates reserved for the two WB "Event Films" - November 16th, 2018 and November 20th, 2020 - would make sense as launch pads for the Fantastic Beasts sequels, based on the assumption that the first installment winds up being a sufficient box office success. Of course, it's also quite possible that these "Even Films" are different and/or as-yet unannounced WB blockbusters unrelated to the Harry Potter brand.
As for those mystery WB animated films - dated for May 25th, 2018 and May 24th, 2019 - it could be that these dates are for upcoming installments in the studio's LEGO Movie franchise. Thus far, WB has scheduled Ninjago (a ninja-themed LEGO spinoff) for a Fall 2016 release date, while a direct sequel to The LEGO Movie (by the first LEGO installment's animation co-director Chris McKay) is set for May 2017. THR is reporting that the 2018 and 2019 dates are, in fact, being reserved for additional installments in the studio's LEGO cinematic property.
The May 2018 and May 2019 dates would make sense for future installments in the LEGO universe - serving as the first step in the projects' trip down the pipeline, while also making the release of a new LEGO film an annual tradition for a few years (a la other studios' animated feature offerings). In an age where franchising is all the rage in Hollywood - be it Universal rebooting its monster cinematic universe or Sony attempting to launch a Spider-Man Shared Universe - WB going this route doesn't exactly come as a shock.
WB has "Event Films" scheduled for November 16th, 2018 and November 20th, 2020, along with new LEGO films on May 25th, 2018 and May 24th, 2019.
Source: Warner Bros., THR