When people said “He is risen” last weekend, they could have met the box office returns for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as the Mighty Marvel Movie passed the $200 million point domestically, and the $500 million point globally. That’s the kind of box office you can take to the bank, the money bank! It should also please Disney and make them more secure in their decision to release Captain America 3 on May 6, 2016, the same weekend as the Man of Steel sequel, Batman Vs Superman. But is that the case? Might there be signs that in the first, big, box office face-off in 2016, the first one to blink might be Disney? There are rumblings….
The rumblings were detected by Variety reporter Brent Lang, who came out of an interview with Disney CEO Alan Horn and tweeted:
— Brent Lang (@BrentALang) April 22, 2014
Huh. That’s a bit of a different attitude from Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who said that his movie would not budge from its announced perch on that all-important first weekend in May in 2016. Of course, all Feige has to lose is bragging rights, Horn meanwhile has to take into account the entire corporation, and he’s got to be asking himself if putting one his studio’s most valuable assets up against another studio’s most valuable assets is sound strategy to guarantee maximum returns. Translation: Horn has gots to get paid! And going up against Batman Vs Superman there’s no guarantee of that.
Now fans may be of the point of view that Marvel and Disney are in the proverbial catbird seat. Their movies are tearing up the box office and have fans energized for every new chapter while Man of Steel could be only generously called successful while securely splitting fans between those who liked it and those that hated it. So why would Disney blink? On a recent edition of The Watchtower Podcast, host Jeff Moss supposed that Superman and Batman still have more cache with the general audience than Captain America. Might that be true at this point, or is it because we’re just more used to seeing Batman and Superman on film versus Captain America?
A better question might be though, is this is the kind of “inside baseball” that only matters to movie watchers and film nerds? There is a perception factor: Batman Vs Superman has already moved once, so it might not look so good moving again. Meanwhile, Marvel is still a fledgling studio, and they might lose face moving off a release date and ceding it to another studio. Or maybe it just won’t matter since these films are still two years away, and the general public doesn’t care about when they open, or who got that weekend first. After all, doesn’t it benefit everyone if they open on separate weekends?
We’ll have more news as it develops.