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.

‘Cap 3’ to challenge ‘Batman-Superman’

These are the kind of behind-the-scenes Hollywood moves I love.

Early this morning I read that Disney and Marvel Studios would not back down from a May 2016 release date for their next superhero tentpole, despite Warner Bros. moving its Batman-Superman flick to the traditional “Marvel May.”

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel has thrown down the gauntlet. Not only will it not back off May, it’s deploying Captain America (the studio’s second most-popular character, after Iron Man) to challenge Batman and Superman on the very same day: May, 6, 2016.

Awesome.

Would-be blockbusters have gone head-to-head in the past, but in the era of the superhero, this is unprecedented. These are make-or-break franchises for both studios, and Marvel is packing more ammunition.

The buzz surrounding this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier feels bigger than any Marvel flick since The Avengers in 2012. By summer 2016, Cap will be coming off an appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have expanded into Phase Three with Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man.

Marvel also has a television presence with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Netflix is set to debut its Defenders series’ in 2015.

Warner, despite being the home of Batman, has yet to launch the first sequel in its superhero series. There’s no question Batman-Superman has buzz, especially with the polarizing casting choice of Ben Affleck as Batman.

(For the record, I’ve always liked Ben Affleck, can’t wait)

Unfortunately, the studio doesn’t have any other hero franchises raising awareness during the long wait for the Man of Steel sequel — not unless you count television’s Arrow, and the yet-to-debut series’ The Flash and Gotham.

So who blinks first? Will there even be blinking?

I tweeted earlier today that no matter what happens, the publicity surrounding this faceoff will benefit both studios, and again, both movies should be blockbusters.

But really, Marvel is holding all the cards. Warner Bros. should quietly change the release date and get to work on world-building. Otherwise, the studio better have a serious plan to counter the Disney marketing machine.

This should be good.