Warner Bros. Discovery just can’t stay out of the news. After weeks of fan frustration over the cancellation of films like Batgirl and removing similar titles Infinite train From HBO Max, the studio announced Wednesday that it is delaying it Shazam! Wrath of the Gods And Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. But like the company’s other recent moves, this is probably a good step for the future of DC movies.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, one of the reasons for the delay of these films is the marketing budget. WarnerMedia wants to spread its marketing spend, focusing on the studio’s two remaining big films in 2022, Don’t worry darling And black adam.

Without marketing Shazam! 2 While the holidays certainly have a trick to save money, it also speaks to Warner’s desperation to get a hit. Instead of splitting marketing three ways, the delay allows the studio to focus its efforts on those two films, hoping to turn them into the kind of box office smash hits the studio has lacked over the years — with few exceptions. Batman, a star is born, And Joker.

During the 2000s and 2010s, Warner Bros. was the most consistent box office performer of any major studio, but has been in steady decline since 2017. And HBO Max made things worse.

While other studios have put off their planned-2020 releases for years, waiting for the perfect moment, Warners has suffered bad results for the release at the box office. Tenet And Wonder Woman 1984 To help boost the streaming service’s lineup. The company announced that all of its 2021 films will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, sparking a conflict with directors, actors and co-production studios across Hollywood.

This new release strategy represents a complete shift for Warners, essentially selling their films’ potential box office returns to HBO Max subscribers for a short-term boost. It was always inevitable that at least one studio would succumb to the siren song of Netflix’s sky-high ratings, but HBO Max never got close to the subscribers it needed. The streaming service topped out at about 80 million subscribers, falling 120 million short of the highs of Disney Plus and Netflix, two companies that have huge subscriber base but still haven’t found a way to make real money from their streaming. platform

Almost eight full months into 2022’s box office, it’s now clear just how much money WarnerMedia’s impatience may have left on the table. Movies like Paramount Top Gun: Aura And even Warner’s own Elvis And Batman It has proved that the box office is in full recovery mode, writing new success stories every month. But Warner should get movies like Dhakka Tenet, pile up, Matrix Resurrection, King RichardAnd Suicide Squad The immediate exits reduced the box office potential of each of them.

With these recent issues in mind, it’s easy to see why Warner Bros. Discovery’s recent decisions are closer to medieval bloodshed than surgical cost-cutting. The studio is in dire financial straits and needs real hits.

But these new delays point towards learning from Warner’s recent mistakes. Along with a renewed emphasis on theatrical release, the company now seems willing to delay the film in hopes of giving it the best chance to succeed.

This new, slightly more measured strategic direction is perhaps most evident of late Shazam! Wrath of the Gods. Now releasing on 17 March 2023, the film was originally slated to release on 16 December this year. If that date looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same as the release date Avatar: The Path of Water, Which is sure to dominate any available IMAX and theatrical space. Warner Bros. is aware of this, and is willing to politely bow its film out of holiday competition in favor of a more even strategy. BatmanThe successful March release of Meanwhile, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Released on 25th December 2023.

None of this guarantees success Shazam! Or any of Warner’s other movies, but these recent delays feel like the first big-picture move in the company’s new strategy. If the DC Universe is going to keep churning out huge blockbuster movies, WB will carefully position each one for the best box office results they can manage.

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