The game of chicken regarding the May 6th 2016 release date may be coming to a close. The weekend currently houses two major superhero movies, Batman vs Superman and Captain America 3. I don't usually cover a lot of release date stuff, but this has been one of the most intriguing and weird release date stories to come by in a long, long time, and it's doubly fun because it embodies the decades old Marvel vs DC fanboy divide. See, Marvel had claimed May 6th with an unnamed movie, and then Warner Bros moved Batman vs Superman from 2015 to that date, probably assuming the unnamed Marvel film would simply move. Marvel had put their flag on that date way in advance. But then Marvel doubled down and kept the date and went farther, saying the movie would be Captain America 3.
This was clearly a show of confidence on Marvel's part, as well as a provocation. It showed that they were willing to throw Cap in as cannon fodder, to chip away at the 'big boys' and their opening weekend. Marvel views their films not only as individual franchises but as one big Avengers franchise, and they were okay with letting Cap 3 take a hit for the team.
Or they were until Captain America: The Winter Soldier made it three weeks at #1 and blew past the original film's domestic box office in 15 days. They had always been confident in the film, and they knew it would hit, but perhaps it hit bigger than they expected. Or they looked at the math and realized that if Cap followed an Iron Man trajectory the third film, which would come on the heels of Avengers: Age of Ultron, could be huge. As long as it wasn't competing head to head with Batman vs Superman.
Now Alan Horn, president of Disney, is saying there's a chance the film will move. Variety's Brent Lang reports from a phone conference call:
Disney has let Marvel do their own thing for a while now, but this could be a situation where the money guys step in and demand Marvel play this one wiser. I'm itching for the fight, but it makes total sense to avoid it.
I kind of like that Horn is just upfront about it, though. It would have been easy to couch this in terms of 'we'll see if the script is ready' or something, but he's honest. They're struggling with that date because they just don't know how much money they're willing to lose by taking the stand. This business is often about image, but it's also sometimes about cold, hard cash. And Disney thinks Captain America 3 can make a lot of cold, hard cash.