Warner Bros. finally laid out its game plan for the DC Cinematic Universe through to 2020 today, but that wasn't the only major franchise announcement that the studio made today for its investors.
The LEGO Movie, which released earlier this year, was a bit hit for Warner Bros. at the box office and the studio is now spinning off that animated feature into (at least) three additional films that will debut in theaters over the next four years. Furthermore, WB has reaffirmed its plan to revisit the Harry Potter universe in not just one, but three additional movies (if not more), with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series.
The first of WB's upcoming LEGO feature-length theatrical releases is Ninjago, a film adaptation of the ninja-themed LEGO toyline that is being directed by Charlie Bean (TRON:Uprising) and scripted by Kevin Chesley and Bryan Shukoff (The Hard Times of RJ Berger), for a launch in theaters on September 23rd, 2016.
Following thereafter is LEGO Batman, which is set for 2017 and looks to take the May 26th, 2017 date that was previously reserved for The LEGO Movie 2. LEGO Movie animation supervisor Chris McKay was originally lined up to helm LEGO Movie 2, but last week we learned that he will oversee LEGO Batman instead, drawing from a screenplay penned by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (another RJ Berger alum).
A replacement director has yet to be revealed for LEGO Movie 2, which is set for 2018 and looks to take the May 25th, 2018 release date that, just a couple months ago, WB reserved for a project that, at the time, was identified as an "untitled animated feature." There's also a 2020 date claimed by WB for some other animated movie - and for all we know right now, it could also wind up going to a LEGO film, somewhere down the line.
As for Fantastic Beasts, it had already been confirmed that Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is scripting the first movie installment - and the author-turned screenwriter recently indicated that she's almost done with that screenplay - but we now know she'll also be working on the scripts for two additional "chapters" in the near future. David Yates, who directed the last four of the Harry Potter films, is formally in place now as the helmsman on the first Fantastic Beasts movie.
WB head Kevin Tsujihara also indicated that Yates won't be the sole filmmaker who gets to tell the story of magizoologist Newt Scamander - and his journey to document the many, many magical creatures of the Wizarding World - on the big screen over the years ahead. The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them installment opens in theaters on November 18th, 2016, and it seems the followups will take the November 16th, 2018 and November 20th, 2020 dates, respectively, that WB recently staked out for untitled "event" films.
Suffice it to say: between the DC superheroes, LEGO mini-figurines, and wizards, Warner Bros. looks to have its plate full of enticing cinematic offerings for the next five to six years.
Source: Warner Bros. [via Deadline]