Before Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman square off the weekend of July 17, 2015, both will have to contend with minions. Despicable, yellow, remarkably profitable minions.
Earlier this month, Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Universal Studios moved back the open date for its next entry in the Despicable Me franchise to July 10, 2015. That's summer tentpole territory and an open weekend, but it also comes during what may be the biggest comic-book summer ever.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) kicks things off that May with The Avengers: Age of Ultron. A reboot of the Terminator franchise arrives on July 1, followed by Minions, then "Batman vs. Superman," and finally Ant-Man on July 31. Not good for Disney and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX.DL) shareholders, especially when Illumination's cute troublemakers have a history of drawing family audiences.
If there's good news here, it's that comic-book adaptations have taken a harder edge of late. Both Ant-Man and the DC's Big Two could appeal to older, action-oriented audiences who already came out for Man of Steel, which earned more than $600 million worldwide.
Or that could be wishful thinking. Despicable Me 2, which already ranks among the top-grossing animated films of all time, made The Lone Ranger irrelevant here in the United States. Domestic audiences also stayed away from the giant robots-vs.-giant monsters epic, Pacific Rim.
If I had to guess, I'd bet on Minions to outperform as the superheroes fight among themselves for a greater share of the moviegoing audience. What your take? Are you betting on Disney and Time Warner stock to outperform ahead of 2015's superhero summer? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney and Time Warner at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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