Still from “The Batman.”
Warner Bros. is making some strategic changes to its movie release schedule in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With cinemas shuttered and productions of upcoming films suspended, the studio has moved a number of its release dates.
So far, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and the second “Wonder Woman” film will remain in their July and August dates. However, many other movies are being pushed to new dates on the calendar.
“King Richard,” a biopic starring Will Smith as Venus and Serena Williams’ father, has been pushed from November 2020 to November 2021. This is likely because the film will be looking to be an Oscar contender and it’s unclear how the awards season will shake out in the wake of Covid-19.
One reason studios are sticking to theatrical releases instead of swapping over to on-demand streaming is the Academy Awards. The academy requires a film be released in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County for at least seven days and be shown three times a day in order to be eligible for a nomination.
Of course, one of the other reasons studios want theatrical releases is strictly financial. These companies can make more money in theaters than they can by just releasing their films on demand. It’s why only a handful of titles have opted to go straight to streaming instead of waiting for theaters to reopen.
The “Sopranos” prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark” has also been pushed from its 2020 release date and will now hit theaters in 2021.
Warner Bros. superhero slate has also been shuffled. “The Batman” has moved to Oct. 1, 2021, from June 25, 2021; “The Flash” will now arrive on June 2, 2022, instead of July 1, 2022; and “Shazam 2” has been moved to Nov. 4, 2022 instead of April 1, 2022.
Additionally, the untitled Elvis Presley biopic from Baz Luhrmann has been moved to Nov. 5, 2021 from Oct. 1, 2021 and “In the Heights,” “Scoob” and “Malignant” remain without release dates.
Correction: Christopher Nolan’s movie “Tenet” is scheduled to be released in July. An earlier version misspelled the film’s name.