Warner Bros. set an official release date for a third 'Batman' film, the third installment of Christopher Nolan's acclaimed 'Dark Knight' series, today for July 20, 2012.  While there is no official comment from the studio yet on this move, the break is clearly about letting competitors know its claiming that date and warning them politely to "stay away."

The last Batman film, the $533 million grossing "The Dark Knight," was released on July 18, 2008.  This new date is technically the same release window, but in the summer of 2012.  It would be assumed production would begin sometime next year in order to make the opening.

Neither Nolan or Warner Bros. have released any updates that would infer the new film is officially greenlit or a script has been finished. However, rumors abound that Jonathan Nolan is working on a script based on an idea from both Nolans and David Goyer, but that would contradict comments the filmmaker made last month to the LA Times claiming "writer's block" on the franchise.

Anticipation on a third Batman is high not only because of the massive worldwide gross of "The Dark Knight," but the fact the sequel was a staple of year-end critic's top ten lists and now considered the greatest superhero movie of all time.. It also landed eight Academy Award nominations winning two for Sound Editing and Best Supporting Actor which was posthumously awarded to Heath Ledger.

Look for more updates on this as it develops on HitFix.