The star-spangled gauntlet has been thrown down.
When Warner Bros picked May 6, 2016 as the new release date for “Batman Vs. Superman,” it appeared to be a direct move against their superhero competitor, Marvel. The house of Iron Man and Thor had previously called dibs on the date without a title attached to it, but now the other red, leather boot has dropped.
The Hollywood Reporter claims that “Captain America 3” is set for the May 6 spot and, at least for now, a direct face-off again Batman and Superman.
Now, before we all get excited about the ultimate superhero showdown, a few things.
There is no way that both Marvel and Warner Bros agree that this is a good idea. As exciting as a head-to-head battle might seem to either camp of fanboys looking to decide supremacy once and for all, these are movie studios we’re talking about. They’re primarily in the business of making money, not metaphoric head-butting contests. No matter who came out on top, if they both stuck with May 6, both sides would lose because in the end, they would make less money than they would have if one side had backed down.
Now the question is “Who backs down?” May 6 is prime movie release real estate. It’s the slot Marvel used to make a bazillion dollars with “Iron Man,” so neither side wants to move away.
But right now, it’s not clear who has the advantage. WB is throwing everything they’ve got at jumpstarting their comic book franchises, and Marvel is growing steadily with every movie. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is already on track to earn $80 million during its opening weekend in a few weeks, so it’s not an automatic win for “Batman Vs. Superman,” which has already faced a fair amount of backlash thanks to some questionable casting.
Until either Marvel or WB decides to pick their battles, it looks like the biggest fight of summer 2016 just got a little bigger.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens in theaters on April 4.