The reaction to Batman v. Superman has been…not great. Sure, the opening weekend box office broke records but the second-week drop-off was staggering.
Considering that BvS was the seed from which an entire superhero franchise is expected to grow, the lack of excitement surrounding the film and the subsequent movies to come could make a studio feel trepidatious about where to go from here. The Hollywood Reporter is saying that between this reaction and a steady stream of underperforming blockbusters, Warner Brothers is considering scaling back on future tentpoles and focusing on trying to do more with less.
That could have an effect on potential character spinoffs and sequels. Why bother making Man of Steel 2 when the original and this new follow-up both received lukewarm responses?
None of this is to say WB isn’t still thinking big about the future. Wednesday, they announced release dates for two yet-to-be-named DC Comics movies. The first one is now set for October 5, 2018 and the second for November 1, 2019. They also moved their Wonder Woman movie from June 23 to June 2 of next year, as they begin to shift the next few years to fit what they hope is a strong slate of superhero flicks.
So now here’s what the upcoming DC movie slate looks like:
August 5th, 2016 – Suicide Squad
June 2nd, 2017 – Wonder Woman
November 17th, 2017 – Justice League Part One
March 23rd, 2018 – The Flash
July 27th, 2018 – Aquaman
October 5th, 2018 – ???
April 5th, 2019 – Shazam
June 14th, 2019 – Justice League Part Two
November 1st, 2019 – ???
April 3rd, 2020 – Cyborg
June 19th, 2020 – Green Lantern Corps
So now we wonder aloud, what are those two mystery movie slots going to be?
The first one may be obvious. We know Ben Affleck has already written the script for a standalone Batman movie that he would direct. Given the time it would take to start making a new Batman movie, and the seemingly never-ending demand for Batman, it makes too much sense for the October 5th, 2018 spot to go to a new Batman movie. Anything else would be shocking.
As for the 2019 film, that spot has options. Depending on the success of Suicide Squad, it could be a sequel or a spin-off following a breakout character around. Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn might fit the bill.
The success or failure of Suicide Squad could go a long way toward deciding not only what fills those voids but also where Warner Brothers and DC go from here. Even if it’s financially-successful, having a strong of disliked films is going to catch up with them sooner than later and make the expansion of their franchise that much more difficult.