The winners and losers of #BatmanVSuperman release date switch

batman v superman fan mock upAs the “summer blockbuster” season moves up another month each year, Warner Bros. decided to kick off the 2016 blockbuster period a little earlier by announcing that “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” will now be opening on March 25, 2016 instead of the previously slated May 6 time frame.

That was a wise move as “BvS” doesn’t need to go against the Marvel Studios juggernaut’s initial 2016 offering, “Captain America 3.” Beyond that, Warner Bros. positioned themselves to have some decent bragging rights come the end of 2016.

As of today, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which was released April 4 remains the highest grossing domestic film of 2014 with $259 million.

With the exception of “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which is $18 million behind “Winter Soldier,” every other 2014 release hasn’t come close to Cap’s sequel, including two other superhero films “X-Men: Days of Future Past” ($231 million) and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” ($202.6 million).

Captain-America-The-Winter Soldier posterWhile there’s no science to it, getting the jump on Cap 3 may be exactly what WB needs to regain some much needed momentum for its fledgling line of comic book films.

So who emerged from the shift the biggest winners and who really lost out with this scheduling date change?


Winners: Warner Bros

There’s little chance that “BvS” won’t obliterate the all-time March records. Here’s how that breaks down for the last decade plus (figures courtesy

  • 2014 – Divergent ($150 million)
  • 2013 – Oz the Great and Powerful ($234 million)
  • 2012 – The Hunger Games ($408 million)
  • 2011 – Rango ($123.5)
  • 2010 – Alice in Wonderland ($334.2 million)
  • 2009 – Monsters Vs. Aliens ($198.4 million)
  • 2008 – Horton Hears a Who! ($154 million)
  • 2007 – 300 – ($210 million)
  • 2006 – Ice Age 2 ($195.3 million)
  • 2005 – Robots ($128.2 million)
  • 2004 – Starsky and Hutch ($88.2 million)
  • 2003 – Bringing Down the House ($132 million)
  • 2002 – Ice Age ($176.4 million)
  • 2001 – Spy Kids ($112.7 million)
  • 2000 – Erin Brockovich ($125.6 million)
  • 1999 – The Matrix ($171.5 million)

NETFLIX, INC. SCHOLASTIC INC. CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOGLosers: Studios producing family movies

Eight of the 16 highest grossing films in March were family films and the animated fare will come up short. “Clifford the Big Red Dog” opens the following weekend, but Universal Pictures may want to reconsider moving it to another date.

Winners: Superman and Batman

Last June, “Man of Steel” earned $291 million in a heated 2013 summer season. With less competition, Superman should soar in this not quite sequel. Batman doesn’t exactly need the help as “The Dark Knight Rises” earned a stellar $448.12 million in July 2012 and that was after a tragedy significantly impacted its gross.

Brett-Ratner-and-Eddie-MurphyLosers: Eddie Murphy and Brett Ratner

Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop 4” was already booked for March 26, but with Superman and Batman swooping in, few are going to check out his return to one of his most iconic roles. And Ratner was getting back into an action/comedy cop movie — his niche following three “Rush Hour” films. Now the comeback attempt for both has been seriously derailed.

50th Annual ICG Publicists Awards - InsideWinner: Marvel Studios

By refusing to back down from its now standard first weekend in May release date, Marvel Studios made it clear that it’s the alpha studio and any film coming into its backyard needs a clear plan or it will get punked out. And less superhero competition means more money for “Cap 3.”

Loser: Warner Bros.’ pride

“BvS” was originally set for July 2015 before WB moved it in an unprecedented game of chicken by staking claim to the first weekend in May release that Marvel Studios has held since 2008 with “Iron Man.” By switching dates, even for the right reasons, WB execs look like they know even the top two superheroes in all pop culture aren’t enough to topple Chris Evans’ Captain America.

Henry Cavill and Man of Steel fansWinners: The movie-going public

Not that people can’t see both over the weekend, but audiences have come to treat a new comic book film like a major movie-going event. Now and that excitement can be carried over through months instead of one insanely, but probably, really awesome weekend.

  • Fred

    One thing I just noticed about BvS new release date is it’s wrong, March 26, 1016 will fall on a Saturday, so March 25, 2016 should be the actual new release date. About BvS obliterating the March box office record is a very big if considering “The Hunger Games” owns the records for both opening weekend(152.5 million) and domestic gross(408 million) for a March release. BvS will have a shot to make a run at those marks, but I don’t think it will be easy at all my friend. And Btaman’s name alone obviously sells tickets, but it won’t be Nolan and Bale’s Batman either so that’s new territory in many ways. I think the Batman and Superman factor of being on the big screen the first together should make for a tremendous box office opening weekend and it could make a good run at THG’s March record based on the strong curiosity factor and people wanting to see it. But I say this with just a little slight caution, moving the release date twice is a little shaky proposition and could send a message to movie audiences that WB lacks a little confidence in their superhero film. Even if this film get’s mediocre reviews from film critics it won’t effect BvS having a big opening weekend or being a box office hit, but where it will effect the film is in it’s legs and staying power. Bad reviews would most likely lead to audiences not returning and allow for big drops in following weekends, now that’s just playing a little devil’s advocate. Even though I think that shooting tragedy did effect TDKR’s box office somewhat, I don’t think the impact was nearly as big as some people suggest because it was an isolated incident, though very sad and tragic. Me and 3 of my friends had brought the tickets the evening after that tragic shooting and it didn’t slow us and the other people who attended whatsoever, and I believe that was easily more of the general consensus, I’m sure there we’re people that stayed from the theater but I don’t believe the impact was really that big in the end, perhaps it cost the film 5-10 million in it’s opening weekend, but i would be hard pressed to go beyond that. People we’re just too hyped and amped up about seeing the last film to Nolan’s trilogy and one random nut was not going to impact that many people around the country from seeing the film it’s opening, it sure didn’t effect us in the Bay Area.

  • keith

    i kind of hated superman last movie. It was kind of corny even though they wanted to add some dark grime to it. But Im not really a fan of the character as I dont read the stories. I dont like god like characters that can hardly be beat. Honestly in his movies there isnt enough risk for him. Especially in the last one he didnt care about trashing the city.. so there is that. I just like how this went from a july release to the time I call black/rom com/cheap amination/bad comedy time of the year. In a way we win as less crappy movies sucker me in march. movie fans know event movies start in april now. I think this already has stink bomb on it ever since affleck join, the constant character reveals to make a half a zz justice league. And gal gadot just doesnt do it for me as WW (even though she hot ). I think I will treat this just like I did superman and wait for the redbox.

  • But what do you really think about it though, Keith? đŸ˜‰

  • Thanks for that catch!

    I don’t see it not winning man. That was the first HG and this will be the first DC team-up on the big screen. I think that will definitely bring in a lot of people. And there’s curiosity with Affleck’s Batman and I see this being a big hit. We’ll see though.

  • Fred

    Oh I have no doubts about it being a big hit Jeff, the curiosity factor alone will carry it to that. There’s no doubt bin my mind that this film will see a guaranteed 100+ million opening weekend, anyone who thinks this will flop doesn’t know movies very well. The real question is how big of a hit will it be, will it be a modest big hit or more of a monster big hit. Having late March and most of April to itself will be a big coup for the film, it’s actually a better and safer date than moving back later to Summer where it would have faced much stiffer competition.

  • Fred

    Superman has always been a bland kind of character that just never had much of a personality and probably why today’s audiences have a tough time connecting with him probably. He’s still amongst my top 10 favorite superheroes without question. I think that issue of him being too powerful can simply be solved by putting a villain powerful enough in front of him, you wouldn’t have to complain about that if ‘Darkseid’ or ‘Doomsday’ was put on the screen, that’s for sure. I mean ‘Zod’ gave us a good taste of a foe powerful enough to challenge Superman and put him in danger.