Just like that, Batman and Superman’s big team-up was gone from its planned July 2015 release slot. Was it an evil plot by Lex Luthor or someone else from their vast rogues gallery? A superheroic huff? Nothing so suspicious or whiny: Warners has announced a months-long delay to allow Zack Snyder more time to work on the film.
Citing a wish to give the filmmakers “time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story,” the studio put out a press release on Friday night, adding that the decision to move the release to May 6, 2016 was made when production plans shifted to the second quarter of this year. “We are happy to take advantage of these coveted summer dates, which are perfect for two of our biggest tent pole releases. We share the fans’ excitement to see DC Comics’ most popular figures, Superman and Batman, together on the big screen for the first time, which will now be arriving in theatres in May 2016.”
Rumours naturally began flaring as soon as the announcement was made. There was talk of Ben Affleck sustaining a leg injury that required the shift, but the studio has dismissed such theories. While getting the film out of the crowded 2015 marketplace is a good idea, 2016 offers little relief in terms of competition: Disney and Marvel had already staked a claim to the May 6 date for an unspecified comic book film, and, if all goes to plan, the Bats/Supes film will quickly be followed by X-Men: Apocalypse and the third Amazing Spider-Man film. The superhero traffic jam shows no sign of letting up.
Word that Gal Gadot has joined as Wonder Woman naturally leads to speculation that all involved are stealthily retooling the Man Of Steel sequel into a full-on Justice League outing. However it turns out, the film will now – assuming no more shifts – greet us in May 2016.
But Warners is not going to let that that July 17, 2015 release date go to waste. Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origin story Pan is sliding into the superheroes’ place. “The summer release corridor is also perfect for Joe Wright’s ambitious new Peter Pan adventure, reimagining the ageless story of the beloved and forever-young hero for audiences worldwide,” Warners said in a statement picked up by The Wrap. Aside from a rumoured Hugh Jackman, there’s no casting info on Pan as of yet.