“The Batman” will no longer hit theaters in 2021. In another major release calendar overhaul, Warner Bros. has delayed the comic book adventure and a number of other movies, including “The Flash” and “Shazam 2.”
“The Batman” — starring Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader — had been scheduled for Oct. 1, 2021. It’s now set to open on March 4, 2022. As reported earlier on Monday, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune” is no longer premiering on Dec. 18 and will instead move to the Oct. 1, 2021 date previously held by “The Batman.”
Other significant shifts include the Lana Wachowski-directed “Matrix 4” bowing several months earlier than expected. The upcoming sci-fi thriller — which sees the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss — had been set to open on April 1, 2022 and is now debuting on Dec. 22, 2021.
The studio also plans to release two yet-to-be-announced films on June 3, 2022 and Aug. 5, 2022. In turn, “The Flash” starring Ezra Miller vacated its June 3, 2022 slot and moved to Nov. 4, 2022. Meanwhile, “Shazam 2” has been pushed from its Nov. 4, 2022 date and will instead open on June 2, 2023.
Elsewhere, superhero adventure “Black Adam” (previously set for Dec. 22, 2021) and video game adaptation “Minecraft” (originally slated for March 3, 2022) have been taken off the release calendar entirely.
Other than “Dune,” Warner Bros. says the latest release date shuffle is because of production delays. After mandated shutdowns in March due to the pandemic, several Hollywood movies have been given the greenlight to start shooting after. But there have been numerous hiccups in the process. For one, “The Batman” had to suspend filming in the United Kingdom days after it went back into production because Pattinson tested positive for coronavirus. He was cleared to go back to work at the end of September. The upcoming “Matrix” sequel, on the other hand, was completed earlier than expected.
Currently, “Wonder Woman 1984” is still set to release on Dec. 25, 2020. Along with Pixar’s “Soul,” the Gal Gadot-led superhero sequel is one of the only notable movies that hasn’t entirely given up on 2020.
For movie theater owners, the lack of new product to entice audiences is devastating. Nearly 70% of U.S. cinemas have resumed operations since March, excluding venues in New York and Los Angeles. But with lower-than-expected ticket sales, many locations are facing the possibility of having to close down again. Already, Cineworld — the company that owns movie theater chain Regal — announced plans to shutter theaters in the U.S. and U.K.