Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has challenged the combined might of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to a cinematic fight to the death. All that Feige has in his corner is about 8 years of audience’s goodwill and Captain America…maybe Falcon…who knows maybe Sam Jackson’s eye patch might show up? Earlier this year, Warner Bros announced that they would be moving their release date ahead from July 17,2015 to May 6, 2016 in an effort to improve the quality of their film. It’s hard to argue that logic, but it got tricky because that is the date Marvel Studios had previously occupied for an untitled film.
The Hollywood Reporter claims to have figured out the property to compete with Man of Steel sequel, which will feature Batman and Wonder Woman, it will be Captain America 3. (Crickets…tumbleweed…) Feige even confirmed that they have no plans to move their scheduled release date. This decision is the biggest cinematic staring contest in superhero or perhaps box office history. It seems highly likely that one of the studios will move to a different weekend, but what if they don’t?
The curiosity factor for the Man of Steel team up movie is through the roof, as was evidenced by the fanboy outcry when Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg were cast. The Dark Knight made a billion dollars itself in world-wide grosses. This team-up film could potentially be the highest grossing film of all time. Which makes Marvel’s decision to stubbornly face off against them even more curious. Despite a very positive buzz for Captain America: The Winter Solider, the first film Captain America: The First Avenger, only pulled in a little over $370 million worldwide. (And how can anyone expect to feed their kids on that?) Clearly Marvel figures it’s worth tugging on Superman’s cape and preventing them from setting the all-time record. After all, the Marvel brand is now trusted and all it takes is the a flash of the banner to get a large audience.
Perhaps it is possible that Marvel has an ace in their pocket? It is clear that they would need Avenger-style backup to compete with the trinity of DC. So what is giving them such confidence? Who could possibly fill in and help battle the might of Superman? The Avengers director Josh Whedon may provide the first in a series of clues that hopefully are leading in a fun direction. Whedon had this to say to Deadline about bringing the Hulk to film:
“The Hulk is the most difficult Marvel property because it’s always about balance. Is he a monster? Is he a hero? Are you going to root for a protagonist who spends all his time trying to stop the reason you came to the movie from happening? It’s always a dance. I don’t think the first two movies nailed it, but I don’t envy them the task. It was easier to have him in a group than to build everything around him”
The Hulk had two marginally successful films in his solo outings. It wasn’t until crowds saw him punch Thor, save Iron Man, and yes, be commanded to “Smash” by Captain America’s Chris Evans did audiences truly connect with the character on-screen. Add to the fact that actor Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, The Kids Are Alright) is reportedly signed to a six picture deal. Only two of which, if they are indeed counting the cameo in the post-credits scene in Iron Man 3, have been fulfilled thus far. So it does seem to make fiscal sense as well.