Warner Bros. Pictures has announced a few shifts in its upcoming schedule. Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot as the title character, will open a few weeks earlier than its original June 23rd, 2017 date, and is now set for a June 2nd release. In a bigger move, Andy Serkis’ directorial debut, Jungle Book, has been pushed an entire year from October 6th, 2017 to October 29th, 2018.
The moves come in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to live up to Warner Bros. Pictures’ expectations. It’s currently at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, and took a massive 69.1% box office drop in its second weekend according to Box Office Mojo. Following that sub-par reception, which comes after the studio also suffered poor results from big-budget films like Pan and In the Heart of the Sea, rumblings have begun that WB is considering changing its game plan. The Hollywood Reporter notes that they seem to be greenlighting fewer “homegrown” films and focusing more on “silo” projects. Silos are the subsidiary companies and properties owned by a studio, which in WB’s case are the LEGO films, the Harry Potter franchise, and of course, DC Comics.
(Read: Should Warner Bros. Have Waited Before Confirming Zack Snyder for Justice League?)
This report seems to be panning out as, in addition to the release date shifts, WB has added two untitled DC features to their film slate. The new additions are set for October 5th, 2018 and November 1st, 2019, though there’s no word yet on what these releases might be. However, good money would say one of them is likely the rumored Ben Affleck-written Batman solo film. For all the negative press around BvS, praise for Affleck’s take on the Dark Knight has been widespread, and it would make sense for WB and DC to want to capitalize on that.
The other could well be a sequel to Suicide Squad, or perhaps another potential solo Superman adventure. Whatever they turn out to be, they join the stuffed schedule of DC films that includes Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad (August 5th), The Justice League – Part One (November 17th, 2017), The Flash (March 16th, 2018), Aquaman (July 27th, 2018), Shazam! (April 5th, 2019), Justice League – Part Two (June 14th, 2019) and Cyborg (April 3, 2020).
As for the Jungle Book switch, Serkis seems more than happy with the move. For one, it puts more space between his feature and Disney’s own Jungle Book adaptation from Jon Favreau, which is out April 15th. “I’ve got to say that personally I’m absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of our movie,” Serkis wrote on Facebook. “The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals.”