Batman Vs. Superman Vs Captain America 3: Five Things That Could Derail The Showdown
It seems at the moment that Warner Bros. and Disney are engaged in a campaign of mutually-assured [...]
It seems at the moment that Warner Bros. and Disney are engaged in a campaign of mutually-assured destruction with regard to Captain America 3 and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The two films will open on the same day in 2016, and every time the subject comes up, all involved insist they're not worried, not moving, etc. Fans, meanwhile, are drawing battle lines behind the franchise of their choice and, seemingly like the filmmakers, few of them have any doubt that their movie will be the one to escape unscathed from what could be the biggest comic book movie weekend of all time -- and the one that finally contributes to putting a major dent in the bubble they've been enjoying since Iron Man. There are some, though (this writer included) who don't believe either studio is really that stupid and that one of them will either get scared, or be the bigger corporate person, before the date creeps up on us and both studios (as well as exhibitors) take a big hit in the wallet over a show of unnecessary force. Hey, it could happen. How? Well...
Marvel moves Captain America 3 up into Ant-Man's slot This is one we've already talked about at some length. Marvel is ostensibly committed to getting Ant-Man going again...but can it hit the fourteen-months-from-now deadline the studio wants? After presumptive director Adam McKay bowed out today, it seems significantly less likely. When director Edgar Wright pulled out of the film over creative differences with the studio, Marvel said that they were committed to hanging in with the July 2014 date -- and that a director would be announced imminently. Privately, Marvel insiders told a number of sites that they already had a name in mind -- seemingly McKay, as he was all but signed according to a number of sources last night. If that's the case, his pulling out could very well be what it takes to really delay that film while the studio gets it back on track. With that date open, it's plausible (however unlikely, since filming would have to overlap somewhat with Avengers: Age of Ultron) that the already-greenlit Captain America 3, complete with its fully realized creative team, could slip into the release date. Batman V Superman gets delayed again It's already happened once, and of course it happened with Man of Steel midway through production. My money is on either this one, or the Ant-Man option. Either or both could come along organically and make the issue moot without anyone seeming like they blinked in the great billion-dollar game of chicken. (Except, of course, to the hardcore fans, who will immediately accuse the movie they weren't "rooting for" of wimping out.)Marvel moves Captain America 3 up to early April
This would be a smaller, more manageable move, and since Captain America: The Winter Soldier did very well in that spot, it seems as though it would be an easy sell with the stockholders...who are likely to be the ones who ultimately tell one or the other of these studios to grow up and behave themselves. Now -- Disney's biggest stockholder is Ike Perlmutter, who is reportedly moving chess pieces around to make Fantastic Four a less attractive commodity now that somebody else owns the movie rights...so perhaps it will end up having to be Warner stockholders who do this, since "reasonable" doesn't seem to be his wheelhouse.
Star Wars Episode VII gets delayed Many fans were upset Star Wars Episode VII wouldn't carry on the long-standing tradition of opening in May, and instead moved to December. Why did it do this? Well, to accommodate Disney's current biggest moneymaker, Marvel Studios. If something were to happen to the film that it couldn't hit its initial target date (JJ Abrams and company have reportedly already asked Disney for more time, and the studio said no, becuase they're so eager to get the film in front of audiences), they could make a switcheroo...and open what's widely believed to be one of the only movies likely to compete with Batman V Superman anytime soon on the same day. This would arguably be a more effective way of "hurting" Warner Bros. or forcing them to move, since there is a lot of confidence that Batman V Superman will outperform Cap. (That, by the way, is why four of these five involve Disney moving. It seems more plausible, unless the move just becomes Warner blinking because they have more to lose on account of fewer upcoming tentpoles.) Still, it's kind of more of the same. Going after a genre audience and the "Comic Con crowd" will feel a bit redundant that day, and likely frustrate exhibitors who have to make a tough choice and cut back. Remember: movie theaters don't care whose feelings get hurt, and would rather have two massive hits that they get a cut of, rather than one.
Disney goes after another crowd on the same day One thing that could actually make some kind of sense would be for Disney to decide they were going to counter-program against Batman V Superman with a huge release that draws away theaters but isn't a superhero movie. For example, a Frozen sequel (supposedly in early development) could draw away a lot of theaters from Batman Vs. Superman. Could they get a quality movie ready in time from scratch? Probably, although whether they could actually do something like Frozen, where the animation is a huge chunk of the timeline, is another question entirely. A more realistic option may be to take an existing franchise and build off it -- maybe a new Pirates movie or something.