Warner Brothers has set out a press release stating that Batman vs. Superman, originally set to arrive in theaters July 17, 2015, will now be arriving in theaters on May 6, 2016. The studio will move a new live-action adaptation of Peter Pan in its place.
The reason given in the press release was that it was to allow “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story,” which, frankly, can mean a number of things, almost all of them bad. It could mean anything from their being script problems, issues with casting,or even a leg injury to Ben Affleck. But regardless, missing a deadline is never good, and the July 17, 2015 date was the film’s deadline.
If that May 6, 2016 date sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you recognize it as when the second film of Marvel’s Phase III will be hitting theaters. Which means that not only is Batman vs. Superman forced to be delayed, it is now going head to head with it’s biggest competitor—ON THE VERY SAME DAY!!!!
That move smells of brinksmanship, stupid, idiotic brinksmanship. Marvel announced this release date in June of last year, so it’s not like this move is an accident. It’s almost as if Warners was trying to take some of the onus of having to delay one of their highest profile projects by making the bravura move of going up against Marvel on the same weekend. Like, they’re so confident that this move will make their film so much better, they have nothing to fear by running at the Marvel juggernaut head-on.
Maybe they sense weakness? Maybe they see the number of viewers Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is losing each week as a sign that Marvel’s popularity is waning.Maybe they assume that since the Marvel movie released on that date will not be with an Avengers or Iron Man film, they have a shot of actually coming out on top. I mean, it’s either going to be a Thor or Captain America sequel, the lesser two of Marvel’s franchises, or the start of an entirely new franchise. I can see where Warners would think that Batman vs. Superman would trump that.
Regardless, this is a horrible, horrible idea on Warners part. They only way they can win this battle is if Marvel moves out of the spot (which there was a rumor that a move was already in the works before this announcement was made). If they stay and go head to head, the only thing that is guaranteed is that the Marvel film will cut into Batman vs. Superman‘s grosses. And god forbid if it loses in the critical and financial fields as well. It could be permanently destructive to Warners get a DC universe of films up and running. And if they bump the release date again, it will be an even bigger sign of weakness.
More on this as it develops.