Those damn moviegoers certainly love their superheroes. Four of the top ten highest-grossing movies of 2017, 2016 and 2014 featured superheroes. Three of the top ten in 2013 and 2012 did as well. The last time a superhero movie wasn’t in the year’s top ten was in 2011. That was when Harry Potter was box office king and Ryan Reynolds was Green Lantern.
With this superhero craze comes a bevy of new projects from Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe, Fox’s X-Men universe and Sony’s Spider-Man universe. It’s getting pretty confusing out there so let our guides help you keep track of where each movie — confirmed or rumored — is at right now in its development cycle.
DC has five movies with release dates and supposedly another 20 (!!!) at various points in development.
LAST UPDATED (9/24/18): Birds of Prey movie receives a release date
LAST UPDATED (4/12/18): Pickups are underway; Set for release on Dec. 21
2014: Writers Will Beall and Kurt Johnstad were supposedly hired in August 2014 to write competing scripts for an Aquaman movie (THR). A couple of months later, Aquaman was officially announced for a 2018 release (Business Wire).
2015: It was reported that Beall and Johnstad were still writing scripts in April 2015 and filmmaker James Wan was the frontrunner to direct (THR). Wan was eventually confirmed to direct and was said to be looking over a script by Johnstad a couple of months later (Deadline). By the end of the year, writer David Leslie Johnson was said to have been brought on to help write (THR).
2016: Beall was apparently brought back on board to write a new script in July 2016, but this time based off a new treatment from Wan and writer Geoff Johns (THR). The movie was said to be going into pre-production in Australia by the end of November (Gold Coast Bulletin).
2018: In April 2018, Wan said the movie was undergoing pickups (Twitter).
LAST UPDATED (5/12/18): Finished production; Set for release on Apr. 5
2017: Writer Henry Gayden was said to be working on a Shazam! script in January 2017 (THR). In February, David F. Sandberg was said to be in talks to direct a script by Lemke (Variety). That summer it was reported that the movie would go into production in early 2018 for a 2019 release with Sandberg directing (THR). Pre-production officially began in August (Instagram).
LAST UPDATED (9/24/18): Filming has begun; Set for release Oct. 4, 2019
2017: Todd Phillips was said to be directing and co-writing a movie that would serve as an origin story for The Joker.
2018: It was then reported in June that the movie was expected to film in the fall with a $55 million budget (THR). In July, actor Joaquin Phoenix confirmed his role and Phillips directing (Collider). A couple of weeks later, Warner Bros. officially announced Joker and gave it an October 2019 release date (THR). By September, filming had begun (Instagram).
Wonder Woman 1984
LAST UPDATED (6/13/18): Filming has begun and the movie has been re-titled; Set for release on Nov. 1, 2019
2017: Wonder Woman executive producer Geoff Johns said that he and the film’s director, Patty Jenkins, were writing the treatment for a sequel in June (Variety). A month later, the sequel was made official at Comic-Con and given the title “Wonder Woman 2” (ScreenRant). A few days later, the movie received a Dec. 13, 2019 release date (THR). In September, Jenkins became the highest-paid female director in history when she signed on for the sequel (Variety) and Dave Callaham was said to have been brought on board to help write (THR). The movie eventually moved up to Nov. 1, 2019 (Collider) and was in pre-production by the end of November (Bloomberg).
Birds of Prey
LAST UPDATED (9/24/18) Release date set; Set for release on Feb. 7, 2020
2016: Christina Hodson was said to have been writing a Birds of Prey movie that would have Margot Robbie producing and reprising her role as Harley Quinn (Wrap).
2018: Cathy Yan was rumored to direct in April after delivering a presentation to the studio (Deadline). A month later, Robbie confirmed she has been working with Hodson on a potentially R-rated movie starring DC’s women, which is to be directed by Yan (Collider). In July, Robbie said they will begin shooting in January with an R-rating and a smaller budget compared to DC’s other movies (Flickering Myth). The still-untitled movie was given a February 2020 release date in September (Variety).
Harley Quinn vs. The Joker
LAST UPDATED (9/20/18): A script has been handed in
2017: A movie that would pit Harley Quinn against The Joker was rumored to be in development in July 2017 with the possible title “Harley Quinn vs. The Joker” (ScreenRant). Glenn Ficarra and John Requa were said to be in negotiations to write and direct a month later with the movie to go into production after a sequel to Suicide Squad. In September, actress Margot Robbie was asked about the movie and she talked about how much she loved working with the filmmaking duo. She avoids saying if they are actually hired for the project. (ComingSoon).
2018: In September, Ficarra and Requa confirmed that they have written a script, which was well-received by DC. However, they have no idea when the movie will be made (Metro).
LAST UPDATED (9/14/18): Rumored director has received no calls
2018: A Supergirl was reported to be in development with Oren Uziel writing (Deadline). A couple of weeks later, it was rumored that Reed Morano is the studio’s top choice to direct the movie (Geeks WorldWide), but the director confirmed that she has received no calls (Observer).
LAST UPDATED (9/13/18): First draft of script reportedly handed in
2014: A solo Batman movie was announced in October 2014 (EW).
2015: In July, it was first rumored that star Ben Affleck would direct the movie himself and co-write with Geoff Johns (Variety).
2016: In February, one of the heads at an agency that represents Affleck confirmed that he wrote a script for a Batman movie (THR). Two months later, the news of Affleck directing was made official at CinemaCon (Variety). Affleck said the movie was probably going to be called The Batman in October (YouTube) and said in December that the script was finishing up and they were expecting to shoot in spring (Variety).
2017: With the movie supposedly in prep for the summer, Affleck dropped out of directing to remain a producer and star on the movie. At that same time, it was rumored that Matt Reeves was among the replacement directors they were looking at (Variety). A month later in February, Reeves was officially made the director (Deadline). In July, Reeves said he was starting over with a new script (THR). The director might be starting with a new Batman too as it was said in December that Reeves was possibly bringing in a new actor for the part (Variety).
2018: It was said that Reeves handed in the first act of the script over Memorial Day weekend about a younger Batman. Affleck was once again said to probably not return (THR). A full draft of the script was reportedly handed in in September (Twitter).
LAST UPDATED (9/12/18): Cavill reportedly done playing Superman
2014: A Superman movie was announced in October 2014 (EW).
2015: There was a rumor that Warner Bros. was trying to get George Miller to take on directing duties (Digital Spy), but the filmmaker later said that he hopes his next film doesn’t have special effects or a lot of stunts. So, probably not a Superman movie (Digital Spy).
2016: In August, it was said that the movie was in “active development” at Warner Bros. (Wrap). A month later, actor Henry Cavill’s agent confirmed he was working on the standalone movie (Newsweek). In November, actress Amy Adams said they were still working on a script (YouTube).
2018: It was reported that Cavill would no longer be playing Superman and might eventually be replaced with Michael B. Jordan (Deadline).
LAST UPDATED (7/9/18): Script is still being worked on, filming might begin late 2019
2017: It was reported that a Shazam movie and a Black Adam movie starring Dwayne Johnson were to be filmed simultaneously (THR). By the end of the year, writer Adam Sztykiel was said to be in negotiations to write a Black Adam movie (Tracking Board).
2018: In April, Johnson said they are working on the script and if everything goes fine then the movie might start filming in 2019 (Yahoo). The actor would later say in July that the script is still being worked on and they will hopefully begin filming towards the end of 2019 (Filmstar).
LAST UPDATED (6/13/18): Reported to begin production in early 2019
2014: A Flash movie was confirmed to be released in 2018 starring Ezra Miller (Variety).
2015: In spring 2015, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were said to be working on a story treatment for the Flash movie and might direct (Deadline). By October, it was rumored that Seth Grahame-Smith was in negotiations to direct and write a script from Lord and Miller’s treatment (THR).
2016: It was then reported that Grahame-Smith left the project after providing a script in April due to creative differences (THR). Rick Famuyiwa was said to have been hired to direct a few weeks later (THR), but dropped out in October (THR).
2018: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were confirmed to direct in February (Collider). In April, it was reported that the “Flashpoint” title would be dropped (Twitter). It was then said a couple of months later that the movie would go into production in the beginning of 2019 and will be called “The Flash” (THR).
Green Lantern Corps.
LAST UPDATED (6/11/18): Writer officially hired
2014: A Green Lantern movie was said to be released in 2020 (EW).
2015: At Comic-Con, the movie’s title was revealed to be Green Lantern Corps. (IGN).
2017: In January, it was said that David Goyer and Justin Rhodes were hired to write a script and the studio will try to get a director soon (Deadline).
2018: Goyer said in January that the movie was still in the works (IGN). In June, Warner Bros. announced that DC head Geoff Johns is forming a production studio and will be taking on Green Lantern Corps. as a writer and a producer (Warner Bros.).
Suicide Squad 2
LAST UPDATED (6/7/18): Director and writers confirmed
2016: Five months before Suicide Squad came out, it was reported that director David Ayer and star Will Smith were planning to film a sequel in 2017 (Variety).
2017: Ayer was said to be directing a Gotham City Sirens movie instead so talks were had with other directors. Mel Gibson was said to be in early talks and was even “familiarizing himself with the material.” But Warner Bros. was also looking at other directors like Daniel Espinosa (THR). Adam Cozad was also apparently in negotiations to write (THR). In July, it was said that Jaume Collet-Serra was the top choice to direct and begin filming by mid-2018 (THR). A couple of weeks later, the movie was made official at Comic-Con and titled Suicide Squad 2 (USA Today). That fall, Gavin O’Connor was said to have been made the official writer and director (THR) with the movie expected to begin filming in October 2018 (Omega).
2018: Writer Todd Stashwick said he was working on the script and confirmed O’Connor’s involvement (YouTube).
The Joker (Jared Leto)
LAST UPDATED (6/5/18): Leto said to be starring in and executive producing a Joker movie
2018: A Joker movie with Jared Leto executive producing and starring in the lead role is said to be in development.
LAST UPDATED (6/3/18): Director confirms her involvement
2018: It was reported that Ava DuVernay is directing a New Gods movie for DC with Kario Salem writing (Deadline). While DuVernay didn’t initially confirm anything, she posted a quote on Twitter by New Gods author Jack Kirby the day the news broke (Twitter) and later made it official (Twitter).
LAST UPDATED (4/9/18): Writer apparently has been hired
2017: Filmmaker Joss Whedon was said to be nearing a deal to write, direct and produce a Batgirl movie in March 2017. At Comic-Con, producer Geoff Johns said Whedon would begin production on the movie in 2018 (YouTube).
2018: After a year of trying, Whedon could not come up with a story for Batgirl and departed the project in February. It was said that Warner Bros. was planning to hire a female filmmaker in his place (Tracking Board). A couple of months later, Christina Hodson was said to have been hired to write a script (THR).
LAST UPDATED (2/9/18): Rewrite supposedly on the way, Michael Bay might direct
2012: Brad Payton was apparently hired to direct and work on a script for a Lobo movie (Deadline).
2016: Jason Fuchs was then reported to have been hired to write a script from scratch with Payton still directing (Wrap).
2018: In February, it was rumored that Michael Bay would take the director’s seat. Fuchs is apparently rewriting the script to bring it down from a projected $200 million budget. Apparently, even Michael Bay thought that number was too high (THR).
LAST UPDATED (2/8/18): Script is expected soon
2017: Chris McKay was said to be in negotiations to direct a Nightwing movie from a script by Bull Dubuque (THR).
2018: In February, McKay said he expects the script soon (Twitter).
Justice League sequel
LAST UPDATED (12/7/17): No “immediate” plans for Snyder to direct another DC movie
2014: Justice League was originally announced as a two-part movie with Justice League Part One set to be released in 2017 and Justice League Part Two in 2019. Both movies were to be directed by Zack Snyder (EW).
2016: In June, Justice League producer Deborah Snyder said they “were only ever planning” one Justice League movie. Sure, Deborah. Have it your way (Vulture). In December, it was said a Justice League sequel would still be directed by Snyder but was being pushed to make way for a standalone Batman movie (THR).
2017: While doing press for Justice League, star J.K. Simmons said a script for a sequel was being written (Cosmic Book News). But in December, it was said there were “no immediate plans for Snyder to direct another DC movie.” Warner Bros. parent company, Time Warner, was said to have not been pleased that Snyder came back after the critical failure of Batman v Superman and were turned off by an early, dark cut of Justice League (Variety).
LAST UPDATED (11/6/17): Fisher knows the next movie he will appear as Cyborg in
2014: A Cyborg movie was announced for a 2020 release that will star Ray Fisher (EW).
2017: While doing press for Justice League, Fisher said he knew the next movie he would play Cyborg in. Unfortunately, he didn’t specify which (ComicBook).
LAST UPDATED (10/26/17): Writer and director supposedly in talks
2017: Gareth Evans is supposedly in talks to write and direct a Deathstroke movie after he impressed the studio with a pitch.
Justice League Dark
LAST UPDATED (10/26/17): Director said to have passed on the opportunity
2013: Guillermo del Toro said he was working on a movie that would bring together some of DC’s supernatural characters like Swamp Thing, Constantine, The Spectre and more. He confirmed he was writing an outline that had a working title of “Dark Universe” and they found a writer (IGN).
2014: A completed script was said to have been sent to Warner Bros. (Forbes).
2015: del Toro was said to be off the project (THR).
2016: Doug Liman was said to be directing after del Toro supposedly got sidetracked with other projects (Variety).
2017: In May, it was said that scheduling conflicts booted Liman from the project (Variety), but the movie was still part of the studio’s slate at their Comic-Con presentation in July (USA Today). A month after that, Gerard Johnston was said to have been hired to rewrite the script (Deadline). In October, it was reported that Gareth Evans passed on the movie.
Gotham City Sirens
LAST UPDATED (7/21/17): Filmmaker talks what brought him to project (IGN)
2016: A Gotham City Sirens movie is rumored to be directed by David Ayer from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Margot Robbie would reprise her role as Harley Quinn and serve as an executive producer (THR).
2017: By Comic-Con in July, Ayer was talking about the movie and what brought him to the project (IGN).
LAST UPDATED (12/13/16): Studio may develop it
2016: Warner Bros. was supposedly “looking into” a spinoff featuring Will Smith’s Suicide Squad character Deadshot. This project wouldn’t be developed until after Suicide Squad 2 and a Gotham City Sirens movie (THR).
Booster Gold-Blue Beetle
LAST UPDATED (5/12/16): Berlanti not confirmed to direct, script being written
2015: Greg Berlanti was said to be directing a Booster Gold and Blue Beetle team-up movie to be written by Zak Penn (Tracking Board).
2016 Berlanti reconfirmed that a Booster Gold movie was still in development but he said he wasn’t set to direct anything. He said he “probably” would direct and that Zack Stentz was writing the script (THR).
The competition rages on:
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (17 films = $13,511,852,934) – Average: about $794,814,878
- X-Men (10 films = $4,996,632,006) – Average: about $499,663,200
- DC Extended Universe (5 films = $3,768,298,638) – Average: about $753,659,727
Box office stats from Box Office Mojo.