AceShowbiz - Now fans have to wait a little longer for the return of Aquaman and Shazam! in theaters. Warner Bros. has decided to push back the release dates of the sequels for both movies as part of major reshuffling at the studio.
"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom", which was previously set to open on March 17, 2023, will open on December 25, 2023 instead. On its new date, the Jason Momoa-starring pic will debut a few days after Disney's "Star Wars" spin-off "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron", which is due on December 23, 2023.
Meanwhile, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" takes over the old date of "Aquaman 2" after initially set for December 21, 2022. The Zachary Levi-starring movie, which was set to face off against James Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water" on its old date, now has free rein over its new opening weekend.
While it may be disappointing to fans, the shuffles did not come out of the blue as new owner Warner Bros. Discovery looks to spread out the marketing and distribution costs associated with releasing a studio tentpole. Additionally, the new date is believed to buy more time for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom", which reportedly needs more time in post-production.
As part of the calendar shuffle, an untitled WB event film has landed a February 10, 2023 release date, "Evil Dead Rise" has been scheduled for April 4, 2023 and "The Conjuring" spin-off sequel "The Nun 2" will be released on Sept. 8, 2023. Meanwhile, " 'Salem's Lot", which was slated for April 21, 2023, is moved to a new date in the same year which is yet to be announced.
"Evil Dead Rise", the fifth chapter in the horror franchise, and "House Party" remake, which is scheduled for December 9 of this year, were originally set to debut on HBO Max, but both films will now play exclusively in theaters.
On the HBO Max slate, there are plenty of holiday-themed movies that are coming straight to the streamer. They are "A Christmas Story Christmas" on November 17, followed by "Holiday Holiday" and "A Christmas Mystery" on November 24, and "A Hollywood Christmas" on December 1.
The new release dates come after a change in leadership at Warners, with newly installed Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav prioritizing cost-cutting measures and refocusing Warners on creating theatrical films rather than projects for streaming. The goal previously led to the cancellation of "Batgirl", which reportedly will get "funeral screenings" this week instead.