While much remains uncertain about Warner Bros. in the future, especially as it pertains to exclusive theatrical releases, one thing is certain: Aquaman 2 will be released in theaters. This, according to director James Wan, who has assured DC fans that Arthur Curry's next solo adventure will indeed be released on the big screen and won't go directly to HBO Max. Or, at the very least, it won't only go to HBO Max.
This year, Warner Bros. rocked the industry by releasing its entire movie slate both in theaters and on HBO Max in the U.S. on the same day. Meanwhile, the studio is developing quite a few movies that are intended exclusively for the streaming world. As such, there may have been some question as to the status of Aquaman 2, which is expected to begin filming soon. James Wan, in a recent piece exploring the future of Warner Bros. and theatrical releases, had this to say.
"This movie has to be played on the biggest screen around the world, and the studio gets that as well."
So there we have it. That statement does not necessarily rule out the possibility of a same-day release on HBO Max, though it seems highly unlikely. Warner Bros. has already promised that the strategy was only for 2021. Starting in 2022, certain movies will indeed play exclusively in theaters before heading to streaming and/or home video. Though the exclusive theatrical windows will be shorter than they had been in the past. DC movies like The Batman will get their day in court at the box office. Aquaman 2, it seems, will fall into that category as well.
Meanwhile, DC movies such as Batgirl and Static Shock, as well as Blue Beetle, are currently expected to debut exclusively on HBO Max. As for what will happen or change when the recently announced merger between Discover and WarnerMedia goes into effect? That is a question for another time.
This decision makes sense on paper. Aquaman, released in 2018, proved to be a larger than expected hit. With Jason Momoa reprising his role as the DC Comics hero, after previously appearing in Justice League, the movie earned a hugely impressive $1.14 billion at the global box office. Hard as it may be to believe, it is the highest-grossing DC movie of all time currently. With movie theaters seeing an increase in traffic recently, we will undoubtedly be back to normal, or as close as we're ever going to get to the old normal, by the time the sequel comes around. Warner Bros. would seemingly be wise to capitalize on the strong appetite from moviegoers in this case.
Plot details largely remain mysterious for the sequel. Amber Heard will return as Mera and Patrick Wilson is also set to reprise his role as Orm. James Wan, the architect of The Conjuring universe who directed the first entry, will be back at the helm. Aquaman 2 is currently set to hit theaters on December 16, 2022. This news comes to us via the Los Angeles Times.