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The Matrix Leaps Forward and The Batman Falls Back in Warner Bros’ Latest Release Shakeup

Keanu Reeves as Neo and Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne.
Keanu Reeves as Neo and Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne.
Image: Warner Bros.

As this absolute dumpster fire of a year draws to a close, it can safely be said that the current hottest trend in Hollywood is studios stepping up to the microphone to state the blindingly obvious: basically all of their projected movie release dates are changing around because the pandemic’s brought productions to a halt and it’s still unclear when it’ll be safe to go to theaters.

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By pushing Dune’s release date back from December 18 of this year to October 1, 2021, Warner Bros. created something of a problem for itself, as October 1 was originally meant to be the the day Matt Reeves’ The Batman hit theaters. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio has now resolved to push The Batman all the way back to March 4. 2022.

The Batman won’t be the studio’s only comic book movie fans have to wait a bit longer to see than originally anticipated, as The Flash has now been bumped to November 4, 2022 (originally June 3, 2022); Shazam! Fury of the Gods has been bumped to June 2, 2023 (originally November 4, 2022); and Black Adam’s been moved off the calendar entirely. Interestingly, the premiere for Lana Wachowski’s upcoming fourth installment in The Matrix franchise has been pushed up by a hair to Dec. 22, 2021 from April 1, 2022—but all of this is working on the assumption that things will go according to Warner Bros.’ carefully laid plans, which might not end up being the case.

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Drastic as these delays might seem on paper, they make perfect sense given the degree to which the covid-19 pandemic has brought the industry to its knees on multiple fronts, and there’s no telling if and when things are going to get back to being anything like “normal.” There isn’t really all that much that the studios can do at this point other than to let the public know that these movies are all going to come out...eventually, but much of when these productions can truly kick off at a clip is simply out of the studios’ hands.


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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

gerry-obrien
Gerry-OBrien

The studios need to dramatically alter their thinking.

I’d love to see Dune, The Batman, and all the upcoming Marvel movies in a huge theater with a big audience. It’s an entirely different experience. But I don’t want to sit in a human petri dish for 2-3 hours at a clip.

Releasing new films On Demand and similar digital kinds of viewings costs the studios a lot less — and there may not be many theaters left a year from now anyway. Release them now, at a lower price than what we’ve seen so far. A bird in the hand, as they say. I’d pay $10 to see any of these films, and I’d probably pay again and again for some of them.

Your move, moguls.