ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

In the end, Batman vs Superman HAD to cry uncle in their game of chicken with Marvel Studios and [Captain America 3](movie:994409).

An historic team-up of the two most legendary - and oldest - major comic book characters on screen seemed to be a can't-miss event that would crush everything in it's path - especially seeing as how they are the two only DC/Warner Brothers (hereafter referred to as just DC) superhero properties that have been consistently successful on the big screen.

So it almost seemed to make sense that DC would delay the film from it's original July 17, 2015 date- 2015 may have an historic number of blockbusters - and take on what was an "Untitled Marvel Film" head-to-head on the lucrative first weekend of May - specifically May 6, 2016.

However, a few interesting things happened that, added to previous issues, made it inevitable that DC would be the big loser if it did not blink first.

First, [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) broke April records and as of today is the highest grossing film of the year, domestically - and even surpassed expectations overseas.

  Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Between a whopping increase of opening weekend grosses from $65 million for Captain America: The First Avenger (which led to a $176 million domestic gross) on the weekend of July 22, 2011 to an amazing $95 million opening weekend gross for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which has led to a domestic gross of $259 million and counting domestically) on the weekend of April 4, 2014, it was clear between it's Avengers connection and those able to catch up on his original cinematic adventure on DVD, TV and word-of-mouth, that The Captain was a property on the rise.

Obviously, Marvel Studios felt the same way, deciding to pit the Star-Spangled Avenger's third solo flick against both Batman and Superman - and Wonder Woman - and name Captain America 3 as the until-then "Untitled Marvel Film that had been reserved for some time.

While it may seem at first glance that [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) would have the edge head-to-head against Captain America 3, if you really analyze it, Batman vs Superman HAD to move.

First, it is clear the Captain America franchise is on the rise and growing in recognition and popularity. After what looks to be an incredible Avengers 2, Captain America 3 should again benefit from a bump, especially with so many being drawn to his second solo adventure.

Conversely, both the Superman and Batman franchises have tons of questions/ There is no [Justice League](movie:401267) franchise to boost them, yet. Man of Steel had an incredible opening weekend ($116 million) and then plummeted precipitously, finishing theirs behind Monsters University and World War Z it's second weekend..

One could easily make the argument that Captain America 3 would have more box-office strength than either of those two films.

Even Batman isn't an invincible box-office draw.

Batman Begins only registered a $48 million opening and $206 million domestic haul in 2005. It wasn't until Heath Ledger became the Joker that The Dark Knight went into the stratosphere. But The Dark Knight Rises actually took a small dip at the domestic box-office from it's predecessor. Toss in that this is no longer Nolan and Bale's Batman and the controversy over the casting of Ben Affleck, and the strength of Batman's box-office is in question.

  Batman Begins
Batman Begins

But what may have really made Captain America such a dangerous rival to take down a movie starring Batman and Superman, it's that he possesses the qualities in his films once thought to be the DC duo's strengths.

For example, the current Superman seems to have ceded his historical advantage as being a Boy Scout and patriotic to Captain America. At the same time, the scene in the elevator in The Winter Soldier shows Cap to be the ass-kicker we have yet to see on screen from a cinematic Caped Crusader.

Toss in that DC's desire to finally launch it's cinematic universe hinges SO MUCH on Batman vs Superman posting staggering numbers, while Marvel seems to have unlimited options after [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) to pick up the slack and get the momentum going again even if Captain America 3 underperforms a bit, and it's a no-brainer that DC HAD to move from it's May 6, 2016 head-to-head showdown with Captain America 3.


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