Why Marvel Is Releasing 'Captain America 3' the Same Weekend as 'Batman vs. Superman'

Last Friday, Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier officially became the highest-grossing domestic April film of all time.

As of right now, Winter Soldier has grossed more than $228 million in the U.S. -- well ahead of Fast Five's previous $209 million April high mark -- and should have little trouble exceeding $650 million worldwide by the end of this weekend. Considering Captain America: The First Avenger barely broke $370 million worldwide in 2011, there's no doubt Winter Soldier's stellar performance is an incredible accomplishment for Disney.

But according to the Fool's Steve Symington in the video below, this begs an important question: If Disney knows its Captain America franchise can dominate in April, then why is Captain America 3 still slated for release on May 6, 2016? That is, after all, the same weekend as Time Warner's  (NYSE: TWX  )  big-budget sequel, Superman vs. Batman.

The answer, Steve says, is that it marks the official beginning of the lucrative summer box office season, during which a Marvel film has achieved jaw-dropping numbers by launching in May for the past two years. It's easy to understand, then, why Time Warner would want to rain on Disney's parade with its own blockbuster hopeful.

However, thanks in part to the expected momentum from 2015's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Steve argues it's not Disney, but rather Time Warner, that faces the greatest risk in pitting its super-powered franchise against Marvel's proven winners. To hear Steve's full take, please watch the video below.

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  • Report this Comment On May 06, 2014, at 12:14 PM, esxokm wrote:

    I agree that one of the studios will most likely leave this date.

    However, I would love to see both movies released the same weekend. Although cannibalization would occur, I also believe the data that can be captured from such an experiment would be very valuable.

    Further, it's very possible that theaters would simply force other films out of the marketplace to free up the screens necessary to accommodate both projects. Many fans would simply see both films, as you say, and there might be an interesting free-advertising angle to all this: the news media would have a field day with the event, so the public would obviously be aware of it all.

    Studios have to stop worrying about cannibalization because there are only so many release dates out there. One day, a studio should to try to over-program a summer with blockbusters and double-up its own products on a similar weekend.

    One interesting note: this month sees two new Marvel movies, plus a third one from April carrying over from May has three Marvel movies in the marketplace. Imagine two Marvel movies released in the same weekend: could Disney sell package-tickets to both?

    Talent and profit participation would naturally make all of this a moot discussion. I doubt the agents and managers in Hollywood want to take a chance with their clients' -- and thus their own -- first-weekend percentages on such bold moves.

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Steve Symington

Technology and consumer goods specialist for the Fool. Steve looks for responsible businesses which positively shape our lives. Then, he invests accordingly. Enjoy his work? Connect with him on Twitter & Facebook so you don't miss a thing.

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