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Why Are ‘Aquaman 2’ and ‘Shazam 2’ Delayed?

Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Zachary Levi as Shazam

Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods have both been delayed again. The release dates for these two upcoming DC Extended Universe (DCEU) films have changed numerous times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in multiple delays, plus switching of release dates (as some films finished production quicker than anticipated). Most recently, Aquaman 2 was slated for release on March 17, 2023 and Shazam! 2 was slated for December 21, 2022.

Now, Shazam! 2 is taking Aquaman 2‘s release date of March 17, 2023, and Aquaman 2 is being pushed back all the way to December 23, 2023. These changes weren’t entirely unexpected—due to the recent shake-up at Warner Bros. as a result of their merger with Discovery. The merger has seen numerous release dates being reshuffled, or films, such as Batgirl, being entirely taken off the table. This is the result of Warner Bros. Discovery’s new strategy to focus on high-quality films released at the most optimal times to generate revenue. They won’t release anything unless they truly believe in it, or unless it makes sense in a business manner.

Hence, Aquaman 2 and Shazam! 2 are just the latest Warner Bros. films to experience reshuffled release dates. Of course, considering how many times the dates have already been changed in the past, these reshufflings are especially disappointing. Now, Black Adam is the sole DCEU film to release in 2022 and we’ll have to wait a hefty extra 9 months to see Aquaman 2. While we might not like these most recent delays, though, there are some pretty logical reasons behind them.

Why was Shazam! 2 delayed?

The family at the heart of DC's Shazam flees a villain in a still from the film.
(Warner Bros.)

The major reason for Shazam! 2‘s delay, is Avatar: The Way of Water. The sequel to Avatar is set to release in theaters on December 16, 2022. It is expected to be a big box office draw, considering the original Avatar film is the second highest-grossing film of all time. Meanwhile, Shazam! 2 was initially going to release on the same day as Avatar 2, before being pushed to December 21, 2022. However, even with a five-day delay, Shazam! 2 would’ve still been competing with Avatar 2.

Additionally, Shazam! 2 director David F. Sanberg took to Twitter to explain that Avatar 2 is already scooping up all of the IMAX/PLF screens. Essentially, it’s taking up all the big screens and leaving standard, smaller screens for other films. Shazam! 2, of course, should have the opportunity to be seen on IMAX screens, as well, and its delay will give it such. The delay also completely removes Shazam! 2 from anywhere near Avatar 2‘s reach, meaning it won’t have to share the box office with another big film.

Why was Aquaman 2 delayed?

Jason Momoa in Aquaman (2018)
(Warner Bros.)

Aquaman 2‘s delayed is largely the result of production issues. Director James Wan took to Instagram to explain to fans that he simply needs more time. His post included a number of breathtaking graphics, which only show the surface of the aquatic world he and his crew are trying to create with Aquaman 2. He hasn’t even gotten to the more mystical and magical creatures of the universe, but he’s determined to create the best film he can, regardless of time.

Additionally, he pointed out the new release date is just days apart from the original Aquaman‘s release date of December 21, 2018. Meanwhile, Aquaman was a box office hit and the highest-grossing DCEU film of all time. While releasing in December doesn’t guarantee Aquaman 2‘s success, that Christmas release date window certainly seems to hold potential.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.