Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in theaters and has become a commercial success for Warner Bros. Pictures - though, as the film meant to fully usher in the DC Extended Universe, it's very much a mixed success when you take the critical reception and general word of mouth into consideration. Zack Snyder's superhero movie has nevertheless performed well enough as a whole to keep the DCEU moving forward as planned, at a time when WB is reported to be readjusting its strategy in the aftermath of 2015: a year in which the studio released such expensive box office duds as Jupiter Ascending, Pan, and In the Heart of the Sea (among others).
WB's new approach is said to include releasing fewer films annually (in particular, non-franchise films), in addition to more installments in what are currently the studio's most lucrative franchises; including, the DCEU, the LEGO Movie series, and the Harry Potter/Wizarding World property. Cast in point: the studio has now set release dates for two additional DCEU movies, in addition to having shifted director Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman solo movie to a less competitive release date and bumped Andy Serkis' motion-capture The Jungle Book adaptation from 2017 to 2018.
THR is reporting that WB has moved Wonder Woman's release date up three weeks from June 23rd to June 2nd, 2017. The move's not a huge surprise, as the film - which will reveal the DCEU origin story for Gal Gadot's Diana of Themyscira - has been expected to move since Paramount Pictures also staked out June 23rd, 2017 for the theatrical release of Transformers 5, back in February. Jenkins' DC superhero film is now gearing up to face Bad Boys 3 during its opening weekend at the box office, but the latter definitely has less box office muscle than a Transformers film. Given that Gadot's Wonder Woman is the element of Batman V Superman that has generated the most positive buzz, it also seems fair to assume she will win her box office showdown with the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action-comedy reunion.
WB has also scheduled two untitled DC films to hit theaters on October 5th, 2018 and November 1st, 2019, respectively, while at the same time shifting the theatrical release date for Serkis' Jungle Book from October 6th, 2017 to October 19th, 2018. Serkis has already taken to Facebook to voice his support for the release date change; after all, the move will not only give his film an extra year of distance from Disney and director Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book (which hits theaters on April 15th of this year), but also additional time for the extensive post-production process that's required to bring its motion-capture animal characters fully to life.
Here is the exact statement posted by Serkis to his verified Fb account:
I've got to say that personally I'm absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of our movie. The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals. We are breaking new ground with realistic non-humanoid animal faces ,such as a panther or wolf, ensuring that they convincingly communicate with human language and emotion via performance capture, and are able to stand up to real scrutiny in richly complex dramatic scenes. So, every minute more that we have to evolve the technological pipeline will make all the difference...the evidence is there already and it's off the chain exciting, so hang on in there...This is truly next generation storytelling, and it will be the real deal!
Currently, there are two potential DCEU films that read as being likely candidates to take the new dates claimed by WB. One is Suicide Squad 2, a sequel to the David Ayer-directed DC super-villain ensemble action/thriller that will be released in theaters this August. It was previously reported that WB, acting under the belief that Ayer's movie will be a critical/commercial success, has tentatively settled on a 2017 production start for the Suicide Squad sequel, in order to give Ayer and his Suicide Squad star Will Smith time to first make their supernatural buddy-cop thriller, Bright (a movie now set up at Netflix). If accurate, that points to the Suicide Squad sequel being the DC movie that's first in line to take the October 2018 date staked out by WB - once the project is granted an official green-light, of course
Meanwhile, the November 2019 date may go to the Batman solo film that Ben Affleck is poised to both headline and direct, drawing from his own script. Affleck's iteration of the Caped Crusader, like Gadot's Wonder Woman, is generally agreed to be a high point of Batman V Superman, which is why many fans (us included) are pushing for WB to fast-track development on the DCEU Batman solo film. Seeing as Affleck still needs to finish editing his next directorial effort, the historical crime drama/thriller Live By Night, in addition to filming his role for Snyder's Justice League Part One (and then promote both films), right now the better bet is on Affleck's Batman movie arriving in 2019, rather than 2018.
Of course, there are other possible candidates for these newly-announced mystery DC film release dates - including a second DCEU Superman film starring Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel - and it's more than likely that WB will continue to restructure its release date docket over the next few years, when it comes to all of its major tentpoles. As always, we will keep you posted.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5th, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.
Andy Serkis' The Jungle Book will open in U.S. theaters on October 19th, 2018.