It will be Marvel versus DC at the box office when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Flash open one week apart in November 2022. The Walt Disney Studios on Monday announced a scheduling shift to movies dated through 2023, delaying anticipated Marvel Studios sequels Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, The Marvels, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Also on the move is Disney-Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones 5, pushed from July 29 of next year to June 30, 2023; the Harrison Ford starring final chapter of the storied franchise avoids Dwayne Johnson's DC movie Black Adam, still set for July 29, 2022.
Marvel's Black Panther sequel, once set for July 8, 2022, now opens one week after DC's The Flash on November 11, 2022. Director Taika Waititi's Thor 4, reuniting Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, takes the Black Panther 2 date as it moves back from May 6 to July 8. The changes to Marvel's schedule are not to do with release strategy but a domino effect involving the status of filmmakers and productions in the second year of COVID-19's industry-shaking impact, according to inside intel from Deadline.
Wakanda Forever, focusing on the people and kingdom of Wakanda after the death of King T'Challa actor Chadwick Boseman last August, takes the date previously reserved for Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels. In May, Disney pushed The Marvels from July 8 to November 11; Warner Bros. staked out its November 4 release date for Flash last October when moving director Andy Muschietti's superhero movie off of a previously set June 2, 2022 release date.
Warner Bros. played its own game of release date carousel last year because of various production delays caused by the coronavirus. One year ago, WB shifted The Batman (from October 2021 to March 2022), Flash (from June to November '22), Black Adam (from December '21 to summer 22), and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (from November 4 '22 to June '23).
Instead of facing off against the superhero trio of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (WandaVision's Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel's Iman Vellani) in his second week in theaters, scarlet speedster the Flash (Justice League's Ezra Miller) will go head to head with the likes of fan-favorite Wakandans Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), General Okoye (Danai Gurira), and M'Baku (Winston Duke).
Black Panther's move to the already-claimed November 11 date comes just days after WB debuted a special look at The Flash during its virtual DC FanDome event. The first Flash footage revealed double Barry Allens (both played by Miller), the arrival of Supergirl (Sasha Calle), and Michael Keaton's Batman return.
In 2017, Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok opened two weeks before DC's superhero ensemble Justice League. It was the closest opening between rivals Marvel and DC since Fox's X-Men: First Class and WB's Green Lantern released two weeks apart in summer 2011. (For those keeping track, Marvel won both box office battles.)
DC's The Flash races into theaters on November 4, 2022, followed by Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on November 11.