Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice might have all the trappings of a summer blockbuster. However, the film – which marks the debut of Ben Affleck’s version of the Dark Knight – is currently set to hit theaters in late March 2016, rather than its initial place on the summer 2015 schedule.
Pushing the project back from its initial July 2015 release was a contentious one for Warner Bros., especially as the DC superhero film nearly went head-to-head with Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War. Now an executive from the studio itself has weighed in on the decision to move Batman V Superman to a different year.
THR recently caught up with Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara about the studio’s plans for the future, a vision that includes a massive expansion of the DC Extended Universe (as it’s been called by Batman V Superman director Zack Snyder). Here’s what Tsujihara had to say, about the decision to delay Batman V Superman in particular (to 2016):
“It was a tough decision at the time because it was going to create a hole in 2015. But it was absolutely the right decision for the franchise, for DC and the movie. Having seen the movie multiple times, and again last night, I’m extremely confident it was the right decision to make the movie better. And it’s so important for the studio to get the foundation right on DC.”
Certainly fans can agree with Tsujihara, regarding the importance of getting the DC characters right on the big screen. After all, superhero cinema continues to reign supreme at the box office (the failure of Fantastic Four notwithstanding), and with the Marvel Cinematic Universe so well-established, Batman V Superman is Warner Bros.’ chance to really announce itself as worthy competition. Snyder’s film and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad – both due to arrive in 2016 – are thus meant to serve as the springboard for several live-action DC superhero movies, including Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
Warner Bros. is counting on its slate of DC films – which, encouragingly, includes bold projects like Suicide Squad and the reboot Green Lantern Corps – as it paves the road towards Justice League, building an interconnected web of projects that (in theory, at least) could easily be as successful as the MCU. It’s unclear at this point exactly how well-executed this plan is, but given that Warner Bros. (and Tsujihara) recognize the potential its DC properties have – along with the anticipation surrounding the films – is definitely a good sign.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 23, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19, 2020