With the Superhero genre being more crowded then ever, film-makers and film-marketers alike have been trying to find new and unique ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd. With that in mind, perhaps the dates these films were released have a historical and social relevant to the movie's theme. Not convinced? Stay with me!
Deadpool: Valentine's Day
Take Deadpool, for example. The obvious ways in which Deadpool differentiated itself is with it’s R rating. What’s more entertaining than a superhero saving people? A superhero saving people whilst dropping F-bombs and dirty jokes! But perhaps a subtler way in which Deadpool surprisingly differentiated itself is that its story is driven by his yearning to re-connect with his true love. In a genre where the female demographic isn’t necessarily as enticed as its male audience, this was, although admittedly a tacky way, also an original way of appealing to this demographic.
Ok yes, it’s a little heavy-handed to assume that the female audience members enjoy romance, but compared to its competitors who often just get their hero topless (I’m looking at you, Thor!) as a way of pulling in the female crowds, this shows some real effort. On top of that, the fact that Deadpool is ultimately a story driven by love can be seen in the viral marketing campaign, as shown above, and the fact that it’s release date was on Valentines weekend. Given that there are few superhero movies where the main protagonist is driven by romance, instead of trying to save the world, its release date told us a lot about what the movie would really be about.
Batman V Superman: Easter Weekend
Director Zack Snyder said a way he wanted to differentiate his superhero movies from the pack is through integrating a mythological tone to them. The mythology of Superman is often connected with his representation of a Jesus-like symbol within the comics. In fact, spoiler alert, the storyline behind the film really lies on Lex Luthor (jr’s) hatred for Superman due to Superman’s perceived representation of God. The final scene of the movie even has Superman resurrected from the dead.
Therefore, the fact that the movie was released on Easter weekend should not be viewed as a coincidence. The day Jesus was said to have risen from the dead is the date marketers chose to release a film about a God-like being that also rises from the dead. With this in mind, was this release date a hint at what to expect from the movie?
Captain America: Civil War - American Civil War
Still not convinced? Well, outside of the North American territory Captain America: Civil War is scheduled to be released on April 12th. This is a relevant to date to American historians and they would be the first to tell you that this is day the American civil war began in 1861.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier - President Andrew Johnson's Impeachment Trail
The plot for Winter Solider is about a fragmented government organisation with conflicting ideologies. It can be no coincidence therefore that the movie is set in America’s political capital; Washington DC or that its March 13th release date was the same date that the U.S Senate began the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, the first ever president to get impeached.
The unprecedented nature of this date therefore reflected the unprecedented plot twists present in "Winter Solider". Even the casting of Robert Redford in the movie is relevant. He famously starred in the 1976 political expose thriller “All the President’s Men”.
Obviously it makes sense to release films at a time where the content feels more relevant than usual. We all like to watch Christmas movies during the Christmas holidays, or scary movies on Halloween. These dates are also often a time for celebration and therefore a time when people are more likely to go to the movies. However, with more and more superhero movies coming out, marketing crews are having to be more imaginative than ever in choosing what dates of the year to release their movies to avoid over-crowding. As a result the dates chosen can no longer be exclusively based on christmas or summer? Instead, subtler, more considered dates are chosen and as such, we the viewer may be getting a snapshot of what the movie we’re about to see may be about. In a time where everyones obsessed with easter eggs, even the release date often becomes one.
The real question is, what can we expect from future releases if their release dates are anything to go by?