The Movie Drought Hits The DCEU

The films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hit a severe snag thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As everyone knows the MCU films are now delayed and there won’t be any films released in 2020. Comic book film fans took some solace with the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) upcoming slate. But now they too, are being delayed.

Whereas, 2021 had three films scheduled (The Suicide Squad, The Batman and Black Adam), now Warner Bros. announced that two of those films will no longer come out next year, with The Suicide Squad being the sole DCEU offering from the film studio. In other words, the most highly anticipated superhero film of 2021, The Batman, will now debut in March 2022, well over a year from now. At this point, the film was only about 25 percent completed before the pandemic shut down film productions earlier this year. What added to the delay was that when production started again for The Batman, the film had to shut down again because the film’s star Robert Pattinson tested positive for COVID-19. 

As for fans of Black Adam, that film is now officially in limbo without a release date. Bear in mind this film was announced back in 2014. Expect it to die a quiet death in development hell.

Films scheduled for 2022 have also being shuffled. The Flash, a film forever in development (as well as Black Adam), once scheduled for summer 2022, will now come out in November of that year. Meanwhile, Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, the sequel to last year’s Shazam!, has been bumped all the way to June 2023. By the time they get to filming it will the young kids in the first film be too old to reprise their roles? That would be a shame since they were so wonderful in Shazam! There isn’t any word on the sequel to Aquaman, the biggest DCEU hit, and is scheduled for December 2022. But do not be surprised if it winds up in 2023. Let’s hope Jason Mamoa will still be interested in the film.

The only thing keeping fans going is that Wonder Woman 1984 is still slated to come out in December of this year. But do not be surprised if the Amazonian warrior will have to move to 2021 by the way things are going (the same goes for The Suicide Squad). It’s maddening because Wonder Woman 1984 is already finished and in fact we could have had the film last year if Warner Bros. had not moved it out of its original slot in lat 2019 for a more coveted summer release date. Of course, this is not the fault of the film studio since no one could have predicted this pandemic. Still, this is frustrating. 

On the other hand, the DCEU at least released a film this year, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was released this past February. It was not the best comic book film but it was at least a decent offering for starved fans. 

The best option for the DCEU is to fast track TV shows for HBO Max, in the same way many MCU fare will stream on Disney+ next year. HBO Max will have TV shows featuring DC heroes like Titans and Doom Patrol, but those shows are not set in the DCEU, and the only confirmed DCEU program coming out next year is the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League. A Green Lantern show is coming out on HBO Max but it is still in development. 

Another thing these film studios could do is greenlight lower budget comic book films that do not need to earn hundreds of millions to break even. That way with today’s lowered box office earnings, the films could quietly earn their budget back and perhaps a small profit. Plus, it would keep fans happy. Still the core of the problem is that most people rightfully do not feel comfortable going to theaters and that will not change without a cure or vaccine for COVID-19, which is not expected well into next year. 

For now, there is not anything we can do except hope our situation changes, film studios feel comfortable enough to release big budget films and we can safely see our favorite heroes on the big screen again. 




7 comments on “The Movie Drought Hits The DCEU

    • At this point I’m more concerned about the movie theaters. They will have to close up because there isn’t anything new to attract people. Will they hang on until this is all over?

      • There are going to be some very tough times ahead. I think the government and the film industry should do more to help theaters through all this. If too many close for good it would be terrible.

  1. It’s of course a shame that all these projects are being delayed, personally I’m actually more excited about DC’s upcoming slate than what’s coming from the MCU (but still looking forward to all that though). But it’s unsurprising given the pandemic and there’s no doubt that more delays are to come.

    I actually don’t think Black Adam is dead in the water and will eventually happen, the Rock is too big of a draw and the idea too promising for Warners/DC to let go. I think the reason for a lack of date may just be down to the fact that the script is still in development and there’s already a lot on the slate that’s being pushed.

    Anyhow, we certainly have a LOT to look forward to when we come out the other side of this terrible situation…in the meantime I’m going to enjoy delving back into the classics such as Tim Burton’s Batman movies (and the wonderful animated series) and Richard Donner’s Superman and keep the passion alive.

    • Thanks for the comments. The lack of DCEU was especially biting because one thing that kept us somewhat satisfied was that at least we had some films coming from DC whereas with Marvel everything was up in the air.

      We’ll get through the drought and will end up appreciating the onslaught of superhero films as soon as this crisis passes.

    • That is the billion dollar question. The studios can keep making announcements about this actor is playing this role or so and so is reprising another role but who knows how things will turn out? An actor may lose interest, be committed to another project or become too expensive.

      It won’t be surprising if this crisis goes on so long to the point that when it goes away they will wind up rebooting the franchises with new actors.

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