This morning Evan told you that Paramount set release dates for the next three Transformers movies, which is a big story in itself. But beyond that there's something particularly huge happening: two of those three dates are already occupied by Warner Bros franchise hopefuls.
Transformers 5 is dated for the same weekend as Wonder Woman, a lynchpin picture in WB's DC movie universe, and 6 is slated to come out against Godzilla 2, a movie that is intended to lead into a mega King Kong vs Godzilla crossover. By coming down on these already claimed dates, Paramount is flexing a lot of muscle and showing that they think they have the guaranteed winner.
Of the two conflicts I think June 23, 2017 is the scariest for Warner Bros. They're in a delicate place trying to establish their DC Universe, and they're launching the first female leading superhero movie of the modern era - these are already tricky feats to accomplish. To have a bunch of robots crash into that date? It's bad news. No matter how much we dislike the Transformers films they remain huge with general (and international) audiences. I cannot imagine Warner Bros wanting to keep Wonder Woman on that date. But where do they move it? The week before has Cars 3 and Kingsman 2, which pretty much perfectly divides the audience for their PG-13 film. Go earlier and they run right into Tom Cruise starring in The Mummy. The first weekend of June seems reasonable, if they're willing to come in on the tails of Pirates 4 (which they should be) but with big special effects movies going three weeks early is a big deal. Do they hold back for the next weekend? Despicable Me 3 seems vulnerable, and I'm not sure Uncharted will really happen. They're banking on Transformers 5 falling off on week two in that case. After that - forget it. You have Spider-Man and War For The Planet of the Apes in rapid succession. Now you're moving into August.
The Godzilla 2 conflict is weirder, although Godzilla is likely more vulnerable than Wonder Woman. For one thing, people were lukewarm on the first film, and for another giant robots battling isn't that dissimilar from giant monsters battling - you have two films going for the exact same demo opening on the same day. If 2017 is a nightmare to move within, 2018 is even worse - you go to May and you have Infinity War and Han Solo. You go further back in June and you have Toy Story 4 and Jurassic World 2. Maybe they move Godzilla 2 to July 6 to compete with Ant-Man and the Wasp? The marketing possibilities - Godzilla stomping on humans like ants in promo images - are pretty good. While I'm excited for Ant-Man and the Wasp it would seem to be the more vulnerable Marvel movie that summer.
I'm impressed with Paramount's aggressive dating of these movies. They absolutely, 100% assume Warner Bros is going to get out of their way - and considering the fact that the absolutely unwatchable Transformers: Age of Extinction cleared a billion dollars worldwide, I have to assume the same.