Marvel Comics and Disney Studios announced yesterday that they will be releasing the third installment of their successful Captain America franchise on May 6, 2016. Normally, this announcement wouldn’t garner too much interest, as Captain America: The Winter Soldier hasn’t even hit theaters yet, except for the fact that we have been waiting for this announcement ever since DC Comics and Warner Bros. pushed their Superman/Batman team-up to the same date a few months ago.
This would set up the first head-to-head match up between the two companies with major films. Unfortunately, though, this would not be a fair fight — and not because Batman and Superman would crush Captain America, in fact I believe that WB/DC will be the ones who need to “blink” and push their release date back, again.
I don’t say this because I don’t think that Batman/Superman will fair well against Captain America; in fact I think it will easily out perform Marvel’s film. But it would be in WB/DC’s best interest to not take on the very popular, and powerful, MCU while in the infancy of their own cinematic universe. WB/DC is looking to Batman/Superman to be the jumping off point for major future projects, like Justice League; they can’t allow themselves to be caught up in a meaningless battle, with a much more experienced opponent, for it could really hinder the progress of their own universe. In the end, there is just so much more at stake for WB/DC.
For Marvel/Disney, who showed no desire to move the release date by making such an announcement, it’s a win-win. If Captain America out-sells or is even slightly edged by Batman/Superman, they win. If Batman/Superman out-sells Captain America, then they have a perfectly good excuse as to why. Lastly, if they can take a decent chunk out of Batman/Superman’s sales, then they really win. In that last scenario, Captain America would essentially be ‘taking one for the team’, as Marvel/Disney could sacrifice one, smaller-scale movie, in order to hurt WB/DC’s major film, which would benefit Marvel/Disney in the long run.
WB/DC should be desperate right now. They are not in the good graces of their own fans, who didn’t necessarily love Man of Steel and who seem to really dislike the casting of Batman/Superman thus far. Like some, I understand that Zack Snyder is trying to take the story in a unique direction, and I enjoyed Man of Steel, but, unfortunately for WB/DC, I am in the minority. They should be taking any steps necessary to ensure success — from the fans and the box office — for this movie, instead of pitting it up against an already developed franchise.
This is such a major movie for WB/DC, as they are already dominating in the video game, animated movie and television industries with titles such as the Arkham Franchise, Batman: Gotham Knight, and Arrow, respectively. If they were to challenge Marvel/Disney for the cinematic throne, they would surely be the top dog.