Marvel’s Kevin Feige Talks DC’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
It’s fair to say that a conversation is about as close as anyone is ever going to get to a Marvel/DC crossover, and we can almost certainly expect to see more of those between now and 2016. Though Marvel have plenty on their slate between now and then – not least Guardians Of The Galaxy hitting cinemas on August 1 – the spectre of that May 6th Marvel/DC release date clash is always there, looming in the shadows. At the present time, that is the date that Captain America 3 will go head-to-head at the box office with Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and, unsurprisingly, President of Marvel Kevin Feige was questioned about it when he recently appeared on the Empire Magazine podcast.
“I don’t think it is quite fair to say DC is finally getting their act together. The Dark Knight movies were rather successful and genre-defining – they altered the genre in big ways. So I think there has always been competition that way. I mean, Iron Man was the number one movie of 2008 until The Dark Knight came along, and I loved it, frankly. I love that the number 1 and the number 2 movies of that year – and it has happened a number of times since then – [were] comic-book movies, even if it wasn’t one we made. Here we are now, 14 years since the first Marvel movie I worked on. At that point it had been eight years and for those eight years people had been asking ‘How much longer [is this] gonna last?’ ‘When are people gonna get tired of these movies? And my answer always was ‘People only get tired if a whole slew of terrible ones come out’. And it’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. If there are other people out there interested in that not happening as well, I’m all for it!
“So I continue to be all for quality entertainment for moviegoers to enjoy on weekends. If it is on the same weekend I enjoy it slightly less. But we are doing what we’ve always done, which is sticking to our plan and sticking to our vision for the movies going forward, and we have a very large vision that we’re working on for Cap 3 and for all the…movies and just because another movie plops down onto one of ours doesn’t mean we are going to alter that. Maybe we should, but we’re not going to.”
So, along with the admirable stance of ‘let’s just all make great movies,’ there is a very definitive ‘we shall not be moved’ message underlining the whole thing. In terms of that discussion, that is fair enough – Marvel were on that May 6th, 2016 date first (albeit with a then-unnamed project), and Warner Bros. has never really explained the reason for shoe-horning Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice into that equation.
There are two elements to this subject that spark interesting debate. Firstly, there’s the element of ‘trash-talk.’ The discussion over ‘who will blink first’ creates a narrative that mirrors the kind of discussions that happens before two heavy-weight boxers step into the ring and face each other. That’s great for publicity and marketing, but ultimately pointless and self-sabotaging. At this point, with this level of discourse – and with two years still to go – whichever studio moves off that date will take a PR body-blow (something Marvel can ill-afford with Ant-Man still limping through pre-production). If neither moves off the date, the audience of both film will be cannibalized and box office receipts reduced because – while these are two very different movies – they are both highly anticipated, and will share a core demographic.
On the other hand, 22 months out, there is a real chance audiences will get bored with the manufactured drama. In the final analysis, these are movies, and the only people the opening weekend numbers are important to are the studio executives. If audiences are excited for these films, they will book their tickets and go – whether it be on opening weekend, or weekend number two. When the titles in discussion are Captain America 3 and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, they are both practically guaranteed box office success. The sad part is the way the situation continues to highlight just how much emphasis is placed on opening weekend figures – who gets the highest number quickest – rather than the quality and artistry of the films themselves.