Warner Bros. announced Friday that the Superman/Batman Man of Steel sequel has been bumped nine months – from July 17, 2015 to May 6, 2016.
The unexpected move sets up a game of chicken with Marvel Studios, who previously staked out that date for unannounced film . The date is also three weeks away from when Fox has scheduled X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27, 2016).
Marvel has traditionally released films the first weekend in May, including this past year’s Iron Man 3 and 2012’s The Avengers.
Sony and Fox have also released Marvel-adapted films on that weekend, and Sony will release this year’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2 2014) on that weekend. Of course comic book readers also know the first weekend in May as the traditional weekend Free Comic Book Day is held.
Warner Bros. pushing production on director Zack Snyder’s untitled Man of Steel follow-up that will also star Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman to second quarter 2014, after initially being scheduled to begin shooting this winter is a surprise and likely a let-down to some fans, but the company is trying to spin it as a positive.
“We are happy to take advantage of these coveted summer dates, which are perfect for two of our biggest tentpole releases," Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said in a press release. "We share the fans’ excitement to see DC Comics’ most popular figures, Superman and Batman, together on the big screen for the first time, which will now be arriving in theatres in May 2016. Peter Pan has delighted people of every generation for more than a century, so we are thrilled to bring him back to the screen next summer for today’s moviegoers.”
"We know that there is already great anticipation building for the next super hero film from Zack Snyder, and we are equally eager to see what he has in store for Superman and Batman as they share the big screen for the first time ever," Warner Bros. president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg added in the press release.
Warner Bros. also announced they have moved their Peter Pan/Captain Hook origin story Pan, which will star frequent superhero himself Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, to the July 17, 2015 date.