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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Game of Hollywood Chicken 2

    I didn't think I'd have to write another one of these for a while, but here I am, writing another. And who better it involve than Warner Bros and Disney? It's not often that you see films targeting the same demographics open on the same day, but it does happen. Last year we had Furious 6 and Hangover 3. One prevailed, while the other obviously suffered. Now that that battle is over, another "foot" measuring contest has begun in Hollywood. Captain America 3 and Batman vs Superman (neither titles are official) are currently both set to bow on May 6, 2016. No, don't reach for your glasses, and no don't refresh the page, you read correct. Two superhero movies are currently playing chicken. They're not a week apart, even 2 days apart, no they're on the same damn day.
      In my opinion, both studios have a right to claim this spot, but then again they don't. "Marvel untitled film" was put in the spot last year, but Warner Brothers put an actual movie there first. So who stays? Currently, both studios say they're not backing down. The Marvelites argue that Cap should get the rightful spot because "Marvel was there first", but why didn't they just announce a movie there to begin with? This eeny-meeny-miny-moe culture with studios and dates is ridiculous. There's an "untitled Fox/Dreamworks/Blue Sky animation" set for December 21, 2018. WHY? Release dates are competitive, but you can't just slap your untitled and unconfirmed movie anywhere and call it your weekend. No. But at the same time, why is Warner Bros even making this a thing? A Marvel film has opened the first weekend of May every year since 2002, excluding '04-'06 . Warner has never released a DC Comics film in May, so why start now? June and July have been goldmines for WB and DC. To movie buffs, the 3rd Friday in July is "WB day", as they always release a tent-pole on that weekend. So why choose May? Why choose "Marvel day"?
     This date war is pretty amusing, considering both studios have so much to lose. Neither film is invincible. While Winter Soldier and Avengers 2 will propel Cap's popularity even further by the time Cap 3 comes around, Batman vs Superman seems like more of the event film. Fans have been waiting for these two heroes to share screen time since the invention of the wheel. Batman vs Superman will also include Wonder Woman for the first time, and will serve as the precursor to Justice League. The potential here is huge, maybe $400+ million domestic huge, and Cap's goodwill shouldn't be able to match it. At the same time, even though it may not be as big as BvS's, Cap 3 will have an audience. If these films stay in the same date, Cap 3 will put a dent in Batman vs Superman. Man of Steel was a mixed bag in reception and BvS will have to deal with a rebooted Batman universe, while Winter Soldier's word-of-mouth and reviews have been stellar. If Avengers 2 lives up to the hype, and "Avengers effect" keeps growing, then Cap 3 could cause even more damage than BvS would cause.
     Hardcore fans have also seemed to be pleased with most everything Marvel has been doing so far with Cap, Avengers and the MCU, while Man of Steel and BvS got and have been getting mixed receptions with the castings of Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, director Zack Snyder, and how WB has been handling their DC properties lately. (You watch the CW, right? Just check your TV guide, it's there somewhere.)
     WB has found success in mid-summer and Winter Soldier proved that Marvel can open big in April or anywhere (and no, April is not "summer" now, please stop with this). What if Warner gave the spot up to Disney, but then opened Batman vs Superman a week after Cap 3? What if Cap 3 just took April again? What if both left May? What if both just leave 2016 and never come out? Eh, okay.
     I'm personally excited for both movies and I think both have potential for $300 million or more domestic and $800 million worldwide, so what's the best solution? Initially, I felt that Warner should just give the date up and move to July 22, 2016, but they have now scheduled King Arthur for that date. The King is no match for the Bat, but I don't see WB shifting that unless production problems arise. No, DC-ers, I don't want BvS to move because Cap 3 will be "better" or "more hyped" or whatever, but because that date was wide open, and it's successful for WB. That July date would've provided BvS with less competition as late-July and August are weaker than May and early-June, so putting unknown King Arthur there instead is a dumb move, in my opinion. The first Captain America opened in July, so it's possible that Cap 3 just goes there as well and lets BvS take on that (eventually) crowded May schedule, but another, surprise surprise, "Marvel untitled" is currently sitting at July 8. That could be moved, but chances again are low. Spring could really work for Cap 3, which would make Cap 3 the event movie of the Spring, and allow Disney a head start on the Superman/Batman, Spiderman, and X-Men competition. November 2016 is also a possibility for either film, but December is not. A long, and I mean long, awaited film called Avatar 2 will be hitting a theater near you. Even though the Holiday season can provide great legs, the likelihood of either movie opening that far out is very slim. 12 months in the year is just not enough apparently.
     Ironically, this same thing is happening with How to Train Your Dragon 3 and Finding Dory for June 17, 2016, but we'll save that for another day. So, is it likely that Cap and Supes will still be opening on May 6, 2016 come May 5, 2016? No, very unlikely, but stranger things have happened and studios can be stubborn, and I'd imagine Disney and Warner will keep on driving towards each other for as long as possible until one finally takes that swerve of faith, which may be next week, or next year, or maybe never. No matter what happens, just make sure you have no plans for May 6, 2016. You will see what Clark did, you will join them in the Sun, or you will "hail Hydra!"
    

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