Warner Bros has pushed back the release date for its DC tentpole Aquaman starring Jason Momoa from October 5, 2018 to December 21, 2018. That prime location was vacated last week when James Cameron said his Avatar 2 would not be ready in time for that date, which had been penciled in for the first in four planned sequels.
That news set other distribs in motion to ID potential tentpoles for that lucrative Christmas Week date that suddenly was seeking one; it will be the first Christmas box office frame in three years without a Star Wars movie slotted after 2015’s The Force Awakens, last year’s stand-alone Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The untitled Han Solo stand-alone pic is set to open May 25, 2018.
Of course, Aquaman‘s movie set off a domino effect. Soon after the news broke, Sony took over the DC superhero’s old date of Oct. 5, announcing that Spider-Man spinoff Venom about the webslinger’s nemesis was officially heading to the big screen. That first weekend in October, which was primed by Gravity ($55.8M) and The Martian ($54.3M) is poised to be a recordbreaker with the debut of Warner Bros./Sony’s Blade Runner 2049. Sony already had Fede Alvarez’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web on Oct. 5, but has now pushed it to Oct. 19 where it will face off with Warner Bros.’ Jungle Book: Origins and an untitled film from Blumhouse.
Aquaman stars Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe and Patrick Wilson and is directed by James Wan from Will Beall’s script. The marine superhero also is part of the DC Universe gathering for Justice League, which bows this November 17.
Avatar 2 originally was set for a December 2014 bow, but its release date has shifted at least three times. “What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases,” Cameron told the Toronto Star last week. “So, we’re not making Avatar 2, we’re making Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5.”
Meanwhile, Warner Bros today also set dates for a pair of other pics. The Ed Helms-Owen Wilson R-rated road comedy Bastards, from Alcon Entertainment, will bow this Christmas frame on December 22, a week after The Last Jedi. Already set for that weekend are Sony’s Jumanji, Paramount’s Downsizing, Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 and The Weinstein Company/Dimension’s The Six Billion Dollar Man. Warners earlier had slotted an Untitled PG-13 Comedy in that frame.
Nicolai Fuglsig’s Horse Soldiers, starring Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Trevonte Rhodes, Michael Pena, Austin Stowell and Rob Riggle, has been set for January 19, 2018, when it will also get an Imax bow. It will face off with STX’s Gerard Butler action thriller Den of Thieves.