For most of the world, Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on Friday, April 27. However, a few countries will be able to see the biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet a couple of days earlier on Wednesday, April 25 and for Australia and New Zealand that might be a problem -- one that has some calling for the screenings to be canceled altogether.
As reported by 9News, some Australian fans are calling for the April 25 screenings of the third Avengers film to be cancelled because they fall on a somber national holiday -- Anzac Day. With films traditionally released on Thursdays in Australia, some feel that by releasing the film on Wednesday, Marvel Studios is attempting to disrespectfully capitalize on the holiday.
For those who aren't familiar, Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in all wars and conflicts as well as the contributions and suffering of all people who have served. It is similar to the American Memorial Day holiday, though Anzac Day is half-day holiday typically observed with commemorative services at dawn followed by marches. The holiday is taken so seriously in Australia that most stores and business are not permitted to open for business until 1pm or later.
Movie theaters, however, are allowed to open at 10am and while there are those calling for cancellation of all Infinity War screenings on Anzac Day to be cancelled, according to Australia's TODAY Show entertainment editor Richard Wilkins, the real issue are the morning screenings.
"My issue is not that Avengers is opening a day earlier, it's that cinemas are allowed to operate from 10am at all, when most other retailers are restricted until 1pm," Wilkins said.
I believe the cinema chains should show the respect that Anzac Day warrants and commands. It's a day for solemn reflection and commemoration; one of the most sacred days on our calendar; and we should do everything we can to reinforce and protect that."
TODAY Show's co-host Karl Stefanovic was a little harsher, calling out theaters for taking advantage of the holiday for profit.
"Event Cinemas bringing the release a day early is a grubby cash grab to me," Stefanovic said. "Well, grab your cash somewhere else. Exploit another day. Not what I believe is the most important day on our nation's calendar. How on earth are our kids supposed to breath in significance of Anzac Day? Please keep this day sacred."
However, despite the criticism, many morning screenings of Infinity War on Anzac Day are already sold out and theater chain Event Cinemas explained that not only was the film's release date determined by the distributor, but they've always been open on the national holiday.
"The release date is determined by the distributor," a spokesman said. "We've always been open on Anzac Day. Our customers love to go to the cinemas on public holidays as it's a day to take the family out."
Avengers: Infinity War will open on Wednesday, April 25 in Australia and New Zealand. It opens on Friday, April 27 in the United States.
Do you think Australian screening times should be cancelled or adjusted to accommodate Anzac Day? Let us know what you think in the comments.