Warner Bros. has set new release dates for a pair of sequels: Godzilla (2014) followup Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Doctor Sleep, an adaptation of Stephen King's sequel novel to The Shining. King of the Monsters in particular will be the third entry in WB's Godzilla and King Kong movie universe (colloquially known as the MonsterVerse), after the Godzilla reboot and last year's Kong: Skull Island. Doctor Sleep, meanwhile, is expected to be more of an adaptation of King's original book and not a followup to the famous movie version of The Shining that Stanley Kubrick helmed in 1980.
King of the Monsters is being co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus) and will pit Godzilla in a battle against three of his most famous opponents - Mothra, Rodan, and most notably King Ghidorah - to prove once and for all who is the true... well, see the film's subtitle. Doctor Sleep, on the other hand, is being brought to the big screen by Mike Flanagan; a filmmaker who, like Dougherty, comes from a horror background and only just adapted King's novel Gerald's Game for Netflix last year.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters was previously scheduled to open in theaters on March 22, 2019, but WB has now announced that it will be arriving two months later on Friday, May 31 instead. At the same time, the studio has confirmed that Doctor Sleep will begin filming in the foreseeable future and is set to open in theaters on January 24, 2020. King of the Monsters will also fill the spot previously occupied by The Six Billion Dollar Man, which WB has delayed (again) after its director dropped out (again).
WB's decision to move King of the Monsters back to May means there will now be almost exactly a year between the release of the Godzilla sequel and the much buzzed-about crossover Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020. King of the Monster's box office competition is also going to be a whole lot fiercer in May than it was during March, what with Disney's live-action Aladdin, Avengers 4, and John Wick: Chapter 3 (among other films) all opening that month. On the other hand, that suggests WB is pleased with how Dougherty's sequel is shaping up and feels it's good enough to go toe-to-toe with those early summer tentpoles.
Doctor Sleep's January launch date could similarly be a sign of confidence on WB's part, as far as the film's chances of success are concerned. The first month of the year is still something of a dumping ground for weak studio movies, yet horror films have begun to thrive there of late. Both 2017's Split and this year's Insidious: The Last Key hit it big at the box office that month and Hellboy (an R-rated reboot that's heavier on the supernatural horror) will attempt to follow in their footsteps in 2019. Flanagan, for his part, has a strong track record as a director (see also Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil), so that's another factor working in Doctor Sleep's favor.
Source: Warner Bros.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: May 22, 2020