Marvel vs. DC: Superhero Matchups Revealed Through 2020
Despite the crush, one month that's now freed up for a superhero tentpole is July 2016 — a prime summer berth for a title like 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice'
Hollywood's crowded superhero race has come into better focus.
On Tuesday, Marvel Studios and Disney revealed their ambitious slate through 2019, less than two weeks after D.C. Entertainment and Warner Bros. disclosed their slate through 2020. Both studios had previously staked out a slew of release dates; now, those dates are filled in with specific titles, including Marvel's just-announced Black Panther, female superhero title Captain Marvel and Inhumans, all part of what it's calling Phase 3.
Read more Marvel Reveals Complete Phase 3 Plans
One interesting development — Marvel has given up the July 8-10 weekend in 2016. That means there is currently no superhero movie in the month of July, the launching pad of Christopher Nolan's wildly successful Dark Knight trilogy.
It's possible Marvel's move could prompt Warners to readjust its summer 2016 slate to accommodate Zack Snyder's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, currently set to open March 25, 2016. Originally, both Batman v. Superman, starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, and Marvel's threequel Captain America: Civil War, starring Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., were supposed to open May 6, 2016, but Warners relented and moved Snyder's title to the Easter corridor (Marvel had claimed the May 6 date first).
Warners certainly doesn't lack for big product in summer 2016. Tarzan, hoping to launch a new franchise, is scheduled to debut July 1, followed by King Arthur on July 22. And its second superhero film, Suicide Squad, hits theaters Aug. 5. (Summer 2016's other big superhero offering is Fox's X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27.)
Marvel Studios announced Tuesday it will use Nov. 4, instead of July 8, to launch Doctor Strange, expected to star Benedict Cumberbatch. That's probably not welcome news for Legendary Pictures and Universal, who had already claimed Nov. 4 for their King Kong origin movie, Skull Island, or for Sony, which is set to open Spider-Man spinoff Sinister Six only a week later on Nov. 11.
The race in 2017 gets underway March 23 with Fox's next untitled Wolverine film. The summer boasts four superhero titles in what will be a key test of audience appetite. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is moving up from July 28 to May 5, according to Tuesday's announcement, with Marvel now using July 28 for Thor: Ragnarok, the newly titled threequel. D.C.'s Wonder Woman rolls out June 23, while Fox's The Fantastic Four 2 hits July 14, only two weeks before Thor 3.
Read more Who Is Captain Marvel? A Brief History
The year-end calendar now includes Marvel's Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman. It opens Nov. 3, followed only two weeks later by Snyder's Justice League: Part 1 (Nov. 17).
Warners/DC's The Flash kicks off 2018 on March 23, followed May 3 by Disney/Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War — Part 1. Those two films have plenty of elbow room, but July is jam-packed with Captain Marvel (July 6), an untitled Fox/Marvel film (July 13) and DC's Aquaman (July 27). The year closes out with Inhumans on Nov. 2.
Summer 2019 sees the Avengers and Justice League franchises compete for the first time. Infinity War — Part 2 debuts May 3, followed on June 14 by Justice League: Part 2.