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Marvel Release Date Shuffle Gives ‘The Batman’ Breathing Room And Allows ‘Jurassic World 3’ To Rule Summer 2022

Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’

Walt Disney and Marvel

Disney pushed Doctor Strange 2 to May 2022 and thus pushed every other MCU movie back by one release date while sending Indiana Jones 5 to summer 2023.

Disney just announced a major release date reshuffling for their upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks. To wit, Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will open not on March 25, 2022 but rather in the summer kick-off slot on May 6, 2022, or about a year after it was supposed to open in a pre-Covid world. Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder will open not on May 6, 2022 but on July 8, 2022. This will push the rest of the slate accordingly.

It’ll move Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to November 11, 2022 4.75 years after Black Panther), Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels to February 17, 2023 (just shy of four years after Captain Marvel) and Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man And the Wasp: Quantumania to July 28, 2023 (slightly over five years since Ant-Man and the Wasp). Oh, and James Mangold’s Indiana Jones 5 will open not on July 29, 2022 but on June 30, 2023, over 15 years after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull over Memorial Day weekend 2008.

There’s no real conspiracy at play, no darker meanings in terms of Covid or the broader MCU. One big film got pushed from Spring to summer, and now everything else moved back one slot accordingly (with Indy 5 just opening in summer 2023 instead of 2022). Ironically, the biggest beneficiary will be Warner Bros.’ DC Films.

Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington in James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ and Jason Momoa and Amber Heard in James Wan’s ‘Aquaman’

Fox and Warner Bros.

Matt Reeves’ The Batman (March 4, 2022) no longer has to worry about a big MCU sequel opening weeks later and Jaume Collet-Serra’s Black Adam (opening July 29, 2022) no longer has to contend with Harrison Ford’s latest Henry Jones Jr. adventure (which seems to be going quite well at the moment in terms of nuts-and-bolts production). The only other complication is that Marvel’s biggest 1600 lbs titan (Black Panther 2, whose predecessor earned $1.346 billion in early 2018) and DC’s biggest 1600 lbs titan (Aquaman 2, whose predecessor earned $1.148 billion in late 2018) will open a month apart.

I can’t imagine James Cameron’s Avatar 2 sticks with December 16, 2022, but so far it’s still opening head to head with James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Summer 2022 is otherwise unchanged, with Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick still hilariously and Keanu Reeves’ John Wick: Chapter 4 both opening over Memorial Day weekend (March 25, 2022 is now free, by the by).

Tom Cruise in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

With Black Panther 2 pushed to pre-Thanksgiving, it’s now even more likely that Jurassic World: Dominion (whose predecessor earned $1.308 billion in summer 2018) will rule the summer 2022 global (and possibly domestic) box office. With Indy 5 gone, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June 24, two weeks after Jurassic World 3) becomes one of the bigger non-DC/Marvel tentpoles by default alongside Top Gun 2 and Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, which was supposed to open July 1 2020 but will now open July 2 2022.

Considering the pedigree, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jordan Peele’s Nope (July 22, 2022) domestically outgross a number of wannabe tentpole franchise flicks. After all, both Get Out and Us earned $175 million domestic, in 2017 and 2019, figures that would be high-water marks for the next Transformers, Top Gun or John Wick chapters.

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