Earlier this week, the internet resounded with laughter and derision from Marvel fanboys as DC announced that they would be moving the release date of Batman v Superman so that it would not conflict with Captain America 3. There was debate over whether Warner Brothers was backing down after seeing the success of the opening weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy, or whether this was a move about money or creating more hype around the project.
President of distribution at WB, Dan Fellman, explains to Entertainment Weekly the logic behind such a controversial move.
If you look at the summer box office this year, you can see that there were so many movies, one after the other. You can start with Spider-Man, two weeks later Godzilla, and then Maleficent, and then Edge of Tomorrow, and then Jump Street and Transformers. And the one thing they all had in common, not one of them did over $250 million. We’ll be the first one up [in 2016], which is very important, and we’ll have six weeks before Captain America comes in.
All of which is a good point. There really is no "ideal time" to release a movie any more, and releasing too many potential blockbusters at the same time can actually hurt sales, as casual movie-goers end up choosing between them, rather than making the commitment to go see each and every film.
That said, it still sounds like WB/DC are doing some backpedaling after such a spectacularly ill-thought-out move. Marvel had definitely announced the date first, but according to Fellman, DC just didn't really think they would use it.
In terms of going back and reviewing the situation, it looked to us—and maybe our reconnaissance wasn’t great—that they were not going to have a movie [ready] on that date, just that they held onto it and they might not be able to deliver. But they took another position.
Suuuuure, WB. You just had absolutely no idea that your biggest competitor, who has never missed a date, would follow through on their schedule. I especially love the idea that their info was "maybe not that great". You think? Unless WB was intentionally using this move to create controversy, claiming that they just didn't have the "reconnaissance" to make a different decision is utterly ridiculous.
Fellman also dropped some hints about the Justice League movie and the titles of projects that will be filling up the announced schedule until 2020. According to him, we should start hearing about the untitled movies (or at least some of them) later this month, and DC will most likely not be waiting the traditional 2-3 years between Batman v Superman and the Justice League follow up.
While it hasn’t been officially announced, I think it’s a pretty good bet.
So it looks like all this date-changing controversy may soon be swept aside as new DC titles are announced, and Justice League may even beat a third Avengers to theaters!