For Warner Bros., ‘Dawn of Justice’ move was inevitable

Months back I wrote that DC Comics and Warner Bros. needed to move their then-untitled Batman-Superman film from its May 6, 2016, release date, so it wouldn’t have to compete with Marvel’s then-unannounced summer tentpole.

The latter turned out to be Captain America 3, and on Wednesday — as expected — Warner blinked, and announced Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice would be released more than a month earlier, on March 25.

Another untitled DC Comics-based film is expected to follow later that summer, with Warner sticking to the two-fer strategy every year through 2020.

Sure, the studio lost in a game of chicken, but this is a win-win. The future of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe (unofficial title) is riding on Batman v. Superman, and Winter Soldier just proved a major release can do major business before the traditional summer season.

Making the announcement today also lets DC steal back a little bit of the spotlight after Guardians of the Galaxy came through big-time for Marvel last weekend.

Surely, we can all agree there was never a chance Dawn of Justice would go head-to-head with Captain America 3. Not with the future of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe (unofficial title) riding on Batman and Superman (and Wonder Woman).

Just to mess with DC, Marvel should announce a new Netflix series to debut March 25, 2016, and it should be Howard the Duck.

Batman-Superman moves in on ‘Marvel May’

tu-batman-supermanSummer 2015 just got a little less crowded.

Summer 2016 just got a whole lot more interesting.

Word came late Friday that Warner Bros. was pushing its biggest 2015 film, the still-untitled Batman-Superman team-up, back almost a full year.

The film will now hit theaters May 6, 2016.

While fans might protest the delay, there are two reasons Warner Bros. executives have reason to smile tonight.

First, they’ve saved their heroes from suffocating in one of the most crowded summer schedules in recent years.

Batman and Superman faced a three-pronged assault from Marvel Comics, which is headlining the summer with three films: Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, a rebooted Fantastic Four and the biggest of them all, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

If that wasn’t enough, new entries in the Fast & Furious, Terminator, Jurassic Park, Mad Max and Bourne franchises also threatened to steal some of the spotlight (and box office) from the DC heroes.

Warner is hoping to use Batman-Superman as a launch pad for a long-awaited Justice League film that could include Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern.

Why steer that potential franchise into the frenzy and risk Batman-Superman becoming the “other superhero film” of the summer?

Friday’s announcement signals a strategy shift for Warner — a declaration that it will no longer be the runner-up in the annual summer of superheroes.

Marvel owns the month of May. Even before Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, the X-Men and Spider-Man were kicking off the summer movie season in May, and breaking box office records with sequel after sequel.

Now, the DC heroes are moving in on “Marvel May” and planting a flag of their own.

If its rivals yield rather than defend their territory, Batman-Superman could have a clear field of two, possibly three weekends as the biggest heroes on the block.

Come to think of it, that’s a lot of time to win over new fans and lay the groundwork for future films.

Warner appears to be following the Avengers blueprint; perhaps they’re already maneuvering a second superhero tentpole to follow that same summer?

It worked for Marvel.