Over the past couple of months, both Marvel and DC have been using the hype machine to let fans know they're both in it for the long run. Marvel has had a string of successful movies and proved you could take a B-List team and make an A-List movie using the "let's have fun" model for movie making. DC is still getting their footing, but they seem to be on the right track to make films that appeal to a mainstream audience and make money, even in a post-Nolan Batman world.
It's a great time to be a comic book fan and one of the masses heading to the theater to see super-powered beings trade punches. Along with that comes a ton of news and sneak-peaks at what these companies are up to in the future. However, not all of this is a good thing. I present, to you, what I'm calling "DateGate," mainly because I'm not clever enough to come up with something original myself.
For those who missed it, here's a quick recap of this insanity. Back in July, Marvel announced the dates for 5 upcoming films, on top of that they announced two more the year prior, leading to 7 films, planned until 2019. DC, in early August, announced that they will launch 9 movies up until 2020. No actual titles or properties were announced though. Both companies are just playing the "I saw it first" card when it came to weekends.
There is nothing dumber than the date grabbing war that both Marvel (Disney) and DC (Warner Brothers) are both playing right now. Sure, these pieces of "news" generate buzz, but a few weeks later, no one cares because it's just dates. Marvel plans this many films and DC plans that many films, but until there's casting and pre-production actually moving forward, consider these dates more of a wish than an actual plan. When I was 9, I planned on being best friends with Bo Jackson, but at the ripe age of 32, Bo doesn't know Mat. I used to think long-term too. There's little to no doubt that there will be more movies from both of these companies, but fans are at a point where they just expect a new Marvel film, or two, every year now and assume DC is just following suit.
Here's where this whole Marvel vs DC thing gets even more
dumb interesting. Right before the big DC announcement of 9 titles, they had Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice going head-to-head with Captain America 3, on May 6th, 2016. That's right, the two most anticipated movies would go head-to-head. Then, Warner Bros switched it to March 25th, 2016 when they announced the dates for the rest of their films. In an interview with CinemaBlend, director Joe Russo had this to say about the situation:
We knew when they announced that it was somewhat of a placeholder, that it was a game of chicken to see if Marvel really had a film that was going to land on that date or not... We knew it was never going to happen. We knew those two films would never stay on that date. So we knew somebody was going to move.
If that this whole chicken-game scenario is true, it's insane. This battle over having a certain weekend is just plain silly. Sure, there's probably weekends folks are more privy to going out to the theaters, like holiday weekends, but there are plenty of dates to go around. Many folks don't get out to the theaters as often as others and giving them a choice to pick one of two opening films may seem smart, but what's smarter is not planning them the same weekend, so you have a better chance of said folks coming to both movies. Audiences need good, fun, summer films, not two companies beating their chests to see who is dominant. The whole idea of WB testing the waters to call Marvel's bluff is silly and a pointless move.
Congrats. You can both pick dates. Now, what are you going to do with said dates? We know Marvel is working on Doctor Strange and DC has dropped hints at Justice League (which will most likely happen) and Sandman. I'm not saying they both need to lay all their cards out on the table because they owe it to fans. That's just as silly as anything else, but what they should be worry about is the quality of their films and that's it. The mainstream audience isn't dumb. We all know both companies plan on making as many films as possible until the super-hero film bubble bursts and we'll all keep seeing them no matter how much we complain on the Internet about casting choices because we were all genius casting directors in a former life.
If you two are making movies for superiority, you're doing it wrong. You should be making movies to get all of our money. As of now, you're doing a really good job at it, so less date grabbing and games of chicken and more awesome movies, please.