This week, Warner Bros. threw a massive cinematic Batsignal into the sky. Not only did they shift “Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice” ahead to March 25, 2016, and away from “Captain America 3,” but they they also unveiled an ambitious slate of superhero movie dates through 2020. You can bet that if they weren’t before, Marvel is looking over their shoulder. And while it was inevitable someone would blink when ‘Batman’ and ‘Captain’ were both scheduled on the same date, WB president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman explains the studio’s strategic move to spring.
“The reality now is there really isn’t a bad week to open a movie,” he told EW. “If you look at the summer box office this year, you can see that there were so many movies, one after the other. You can start with ‘Spider-Man,’ two weeks later ‘Godzilla,’ and then ‘Maleficent,’ and then ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ and then ‘Jump Street‘ and ‘Transformers.’ And the one thing they all had in common, not one of them did over $250 million. We’ll be the first one up [in 2016], which is very important, and we’ll have six weeks before ‘Captain America’ comes in.”
When you put it like that, WB looks downright savvy in their planning. But why did they bother fighting Marvel, who had May 6, 2016, locked down first? “In terms of going back and reviewing the situation, it looked to us—and maybe our reconnaissance wasn’t great—that they were not going to have a movie [ready] on that date,” Fellman explained. “Just that they held onto it and they might not be able to deliver. But they took another position.”
Now the big question is what does WB’s DC slate hold? Titles will start being revealed this month, and with “Justice League” already reported to be shooting back-to-back with ‘Batman v. Superman,’ Fellman teases WB will forgo the industry standard two to three year wait for the ‘Dawn Of Justice’ followup saying, “While it hasn’t been officially announced, I think it’s a pretty good bet.”
Much more to come. Leave your thoughts below.