|© Warner Bros. Pictures|
While things have been looking dire at Warner Bros. and HBO Max since the merger with Discovery and the complete trashing of Batgirl and the Scoob! sequel, things are starting to look a little less bleak when it come to movies, both theatrical and for the streaming service.
Warner Bros. Pictures has shifted the release dates of several films including two A-list DC Comics films. Needing more time in post-production, the studio is shifting Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom from March 17, 2023 to December 25, 2023 which now brings it in line with the first movie which also opened during the Christmas holiday season. To fill the March 17 spot, Shazam: Fury of the Gods is vacating its December 21, 2022 spot. This takes it out of the way of Avatar: The Way of Water in December, and also gives it the opportunity to play on IMAX screens which would have otherwise been occupied.
In a surprise move, WBD head David Zaslav has revealed some HBO Max films aren't as dead as they first seemed. Case in point - the House Party reboot, which had been pulled from the streamer for which everyone assumed was a Batgirl-like tax write off, will now get a theatrical release on December 9 of this year. In addition, Evil Dead Rise has been dated for April 21, 2023. Warner Bros. has also returned to the Labor Day weekend for a big horror release, setting September 8, 2023 for The Nun 2. The big screen version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot is moving off of April 2023 to a date to be determined.
On the HBO Max side, the streamer has set dates for four holiday films. A Christmas Story Christmas, with original star Peter Billingsley, will drop on November 17, followed by Holiday Harmony and A Christmas Mystery on November 24, and A Hollywood Christmas on December 1.
There is also some interesting movement on the Batgirl front. Multiple sources have confirmed a special screening of the workprint of the film -- which includes temp music and unfinished visual effects, essentially the version that was screened for a test audience to decent results -- will be held on the studio lot this weekend for invited cast and crew so they can at least see a version of their hard work on the big screen. Could a very positive reaction to the screening ultimately make Zaslav change his mind? Will they also screen the Scoob! sequel which was nearly finished, and also recorded the film's score after it was cancelled because the musicians and studio had already been paid for? Probably not, but it would be nice to see.