Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment made the surprising move last week to push back the "Man of Steel" sequel's release date by a staggering nine months, launching on May 6, 2016, instead of its originally intended 2015 debut.
The move raised eyebrows for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is this: Marvel Studios, DC's chief rival, already has an unannounced movie scheduled for May 6, 2016. Moving Batman and Superman into Marvel territory can only be described as an act of escalation in the timeless conflict between the two comic book movie giants. (That sounds dramatic, but this is comic books; drama is par for the course.)
Well, never let it be said that Marvel doesn't know how to take advantage of an opportunity. With the untitled "Superman Vs. Batman" film's release date moved, Marvel announced their plans to move a release date of their own: "Ant-Man," the Phase Three launch-point starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas as two generations of the size-changing hero.
"Ant-Man" was previously scheduled for release on July 31, 2015. It'll now hit theaters on July 17, 2015 — the same date that director Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel" follow-up originally inhabited. Currently, Warner Bros. has director Joe Wright's Peter Pan origin story, "Pan," scheduled for that same release date. It begs the age-old nerd-baiting question: Who wins in a fight? Do you give the edge to a legendary character like Peter Pan, or a relatively obscure superhero from one of the most well-known brands in the world? Given those "Avengers" numbers, smart money falls on "Ant-Man."
From the outside looking in, Marvel's decision to release "Ant-Man" two weeks earlier than originally scheduled seems like a direct response to DC's decision to release the "Man of Steel" sequel on the same date occupied by Marvel's second Phase Three film. Many are wondering if Marvel will move away from the May 6, 2016 release date in order to avoid Batman and Superman, but the latest move indicates that the house that Iron Man built is sticking to its guns, and inviting further challenges from DC and Warner Bros.
Stay tuned for more as it develops. In the meantime, count on seeing "Ant-Man" on July 17, 2015, assuming it doesn't move again. Keep in mind, this is the second release date change for "Ant-Man," after all; the film was originally slated for a November 2015 release.
What do you make of Marvel's move to release "Ant-Man" two weeks earlier than scheduled?