Marvel Studios is doubling down on a face-off with Warner Bros. on a key 2016 release date
Though reported last month by the Hollywood Reporter , Marvel made it official Monday – they are scheduling Captain America 3 for May 6, 2016, the date Warner Bros. has staked out for the Superman/Batman Man of Steel sequel.
The first weekend of May has become the official start of the summer box office movie season and has been occupied by a Marvel film of some capacity for most of the last decade. This year Sony will bow Amazing Spider-Man 2 on that weekend and next year Marvel will launch Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Most industry observers believe there is no way Captain America 3 and the Man of Steel sequel will actually open against one another and cannibalize their box office prospects.
There have already been rumors and speculation that Warners is already eyeing Superman/Batman for an April 2016 launch, but the studio just reaffirmed the May 6, 2016 date just 4 days ago in an official press release touting the casting of three actors in the sequel , including Oscar-winner Holly Hunter.
A move off the date now would be considered a significant blink on the studio’s part, considering WB moved the film there from its original 2015 date, knowing Marvel had already planted a flag there . The face-off is essentially of Warner Bros' making.
Marvel might feel emboldened by Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s strong box office and critical reception, but the very savvy studio could also be playing a free media game, knowing the official announcement two years in advance will generate tremendous publicity extenuating the The Winter Soldier’s strong performance, but giving them plenty of time to eventually move the film to an early April date.
Given Marvel Studios' continuous and now prolific track record, a move by Marvel to another date would not been seen as significant as Warner Bros. conceding the date to them, particularly when the studio can practically bank on new box office records for next year's Avengers sequel.