Shazam! and Aquaman sequel delays could possibly be good for DC motion pictures

Warner Bros. Discovery simply can’t keep out of the information. After weeks of fan frustration over canceling motion pictures like Batgirl and eradicating titles like Infinity Train from HBO Max, the studio introduced on Wednesday that it’s delaying Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But in contrast to a few of the firm’s different latest strikes, this one might be an excellent step for the way forward for DC motion pictures.

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, one motive for these motion pictures’ delays is the advertising and marketing budgets. WarnerMedia needs to unfold out its advertising and marketing prices, narrowing its deal with the studio’s two massive remaining motion pictures for the remainder of 2022, Don’t Worry Darling and Black Adam.

While not having to market Shazam! 2 throughout the holidays is definitely a money-saving tactic, this additionally speaks to Warner’s desperation to discover a hit. Rather than cut up its advertising and marketing 3 ways, the delay permits the studio to focus its efforts on these two motion pictures within the hopes of creating them into the type of field workplace smash hits the studio has lacked for the final a number of years — with a number of exceptions like The Batman, A Star is Born, and Joker.

Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Warner Bros. was essentially the most constant field workplace performer of any of the foremost studios, however that has been in constant decline since 2017. And HBO Max made issues even worse.

While different studios held their planned-2020 releases for years, ready for the right second, Warner weathered unhealthy field workplace outcomes for releases like Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 to assist enhance the streaming service’s lineup. The firm additionally introduced all of its 2021 film releases would come out in theaters and on HBO Max the identical day, inflicting clashes with administrators, actors, and co-production studios throughout Hollywood.

This new launch technique represented a whole shift for Warner, primarily promoting out their motion pictures’ potential field workplace returns in favor of short-term boosts to HBO Max subscribers. It was all the time inevitable that no less than one studio would fall prey to the siren track of Netflix’s sky-high valuations, however HBO Max by no means managed to get wherever near the subscribers it wanted. The streaming service topped out at round 80 million subscribers, which left it about 120 million wanting the highs of Disney Plus and Netflix, two corporations which have huge subscriber numbers however nonetheless haven’t discovered a option to make any actual cash off their streaming platforms.

Almost eight full months into 2022’s field workplace, it’s now clear simply how a lot cash WarnerMedia’s impatience might have left on the desk. Movies like Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick and even Warner’s personal Elvis and The Batman have confirmed the field workplace is in full restoration mode, minting new success tales each month. But Warner’s push to get movies like Tenet, Dune, The Matrix Resurrections, King Richard, and The Suicide Squad out immediately induced every of them to fall wanting their field workplace potential.

With these latest woes in thoughts, it’s simple to see why Warner Bros. Discovery’s latest choice making is nearer to a medieval bloodletting than surgical cost-cutting. The studio is in dire monetary straits, and it wants actual hits.

But these new delays appear to level towards Warner studying from its latest errors. Along with a brand new emphasis on theatrical releases, the corporate now seems to be keen to delay a film in hopes of giving it the very best probability to succeed.

This new, barely extra measured strategic route is probably most clear with the delay of Shazam! Fury of the Gods. The movie, which is able to now be launched on March 17, 2023, was initially slated for Dec. 16 this yr. If that date sounds acquainted, it’s as a result of it’s the identical launch date as Avatar: The Way of Water, which is bound to dominate any out there IMAX and theatrical area. Warner Bros. is conscious of that, and keen to humbly bow its film out of vacation competitors in favor of a method extra just like The Batman’s profitable March launch. Meanwhile, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will probably be launched on Dec. 25, 2023.

None of this essentially ensures success for Shazam! or any of Warner’s different motion pictures, however these latest delays do appear to be the primary big-picture transfer within the firm’s new technique. If the DC Universe goes to proceed to function large blockbuster motion pictures, WB goes to have fastidiously place every for one of the best field workplace outcomes they’ll handle.

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