The way in which studios have begun to book untitled movies release dates years in advance is perhaps the best reflection of the level of competition that currently exists between the giant ‘tentpole’ movies that are crammed into each calendar year. They do also provide grist for the rumour mill, which in turn aids promotion – because if people are speculating about which film will fit in each announced release date, then anticipation for those films will inevitably increase. We have seen such speculation spike today, with the announcement of two Warner Bros. release dates – leading some to suggest that The Batman is finally fixed in place.
It was a Tweet from Exhibitor Relations that broke the news.
Stop the presses! UNTITLED WB EVENT FILMS are now set for 9/27/19 and 2/7/20.
— Exhibitor Relations (@ERCboxoffice) 12 October 2016
Warner Bros. has been talking about The Batman for a few months now, having announced Ben Affleck’s intention to reboot the Dark Knight’s franchise as part of the DC Extended Universe shortly after the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Anticipation has been building around the project, as it promises to infuse the film series with the perspective of Affleck as director, but also with his specific understanding and interpretation of the character as the actor delivering the performance, too.
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This is an approach that is entirely new to Batman, and to the DCEU as a whole. It has long been suspected that 2019 would be the year Affleck would be aiming for, so the first of those announced dates – September 27th, 2019 – is arguably the most likely candidate.
So, which title could fill the February 7th, 2020 slot? If it’s a comic book movie, it could be the Harley Quinn film that was put into development soon after Suicide Squad wrapped production – but there are a number of non-comic book projects in development, too.
One that has been increasingly discussed is Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice sequel, which Winona Ryder has repeatedly answered questions about in hopeful tones. The studio is also planning Edge Of Tomorrow 2, with Doug Liman rumoured to return to the director’s chair. Alternatively, could 2020 deliver the sequel San Andreas 2, or the hoped-for franchise starter, Dungeons And Dragons? Let’s not forget that there are also a number of Harry Potter spinoffs, and possible Kong sequels to consider, too.
Whatever these film releases are ultimately revealed to be – The Batman, or otherwise – Warner Bros. clearly has something special planned for each, and that’s enough for any audience member to be excited about.