Get ready for the great Marvel/DC release date war. When Batman vs. Superman was pushed from 2015 to 2016, the biggest piece of news was not the delay itself, but the day that Warner Bros. had chosen as the new release date. Release dates change all the time, but when WB announced that Batman vs. Superman would be arriving on May 6, 2016, fanboys took notice. Why, you ask? Because Marvel had already announced that it would release an unnamed film on… yup, you guessed it, May 6, 2016.
The debate started immediately. Two rivalling studios releasing high profile superhero projects on the same day is just unheard of. And not just that, it’s bad business. Sure, it’s a great way to challenge your competition, but no matter which film comes out on top, both movies will undoubtedly lose a chunk of their potential box office.
So, the question is, who is going to blink first? According to Marvel president of production Kevin Feige, it won’t be the big M. In fact, we now have news that the “unnamed” movie will be none other than Captain America 3.
That’s right, Marvel isn’t flinching and has so much faith in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that they’re bringing the Russo brothers back for a third installment and plan to go head to head with DC’s flagship characters.
This news isn’t too surprising, because we pretty much expected that either Cap 3 or Thor 3 would be given that date. Marvel’s business model going forward is to release two films a year, the first of which is an established character and the second being a totally new film. Cap 3 will come out in May, and another film already has a July 8th release date. Based on what we’ve been hearing, chances are Doctor Strange will inhabit that July spot.
So, what does this mean for Batman vs. Superman? DC has a lot to prove with their Man of Steel follow-up, and have already taken some heat for delaying the film. If they move the release date, fans will no doubt see that as them running away from Marvel. They could, of course, go back a bit and come out in July, a month that’s proven quite lucrative for them with the Dark Knight trilogy, but they would run the risk of audiences suffering genre fatigue from a pretty crowded summer.
Either way, one studio will eventually flinch. It just makes no business sense for them to release the movies on the same day. To add to the problem, the summer of 2016 is crowded with other big releases as well. X-Men: Apocalypse and Through The Looking Glass both come out May 27th, and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 hits on June 10th.
June also has Finding Dory and How To Train Your Dragon 3, while July is full with Independence Day 2, another Ice Age movie and Planet of the Apes 3. So, whoever decides to move will have to find another date that’s optimal and doesn’t pit them against yet another tentpole movie. The best bet is to come out a bit earlier, maybe sometime in April? I’m sure both studios will have their eyes on The Winter Soldier’s box office numbers to see how viable of an option that is. Remember, we still have two years before these movies release, so a lot could change between now and then.
Either way, I hope they announce a decision soon, because this release date battle is already wearing me out. Remember the days when we were lucky to get two comic book movies in a two year period? And just imagine what the summer schedule will look like once DC builds their universe and someday releases more than one movie a year. Now that is going to be interesting.
What do you think of Captain America 3 going head to head with Batman vs. Superman? Do you think Steve Rogers has a chance against Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman if both studios decide not to move? Let us know in the comments below!