(Credit: Warner Bros Studios)

Cinematically Speaking: Superman Blinks, Moves to March

Just as the Marvel Studios universe continues to expand, they have to watch helplessly while the other studios that own Marvel pieces continue to keep the characters they own relevant. Sony has the Sinister Six opening in 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 opening in 2018. They’ve also announced plans for a female-led spin-off from Spidey’s world. Spider-Woman? Black Cat?

You also have Fox, who is going to proceed to keep the X-Men and Fantastic Four in their stable. X-Men: Apocalypse opens in 2016 and another Wolverine movie opens in 2017. Fantastic Four opens in 2015 and its sequel in 2017. (Cue a thousand blogposts titled “How many comic-book movies are too many?”) Since April, we’ve had Captain America 2, Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re going to get at least four in the same time-span for the next five years at least.

But the big release-date news of the week is that DC blinked first and they’ve moved Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to March 25, 2016. This leaves Captain America 3 alone on May 6, 2016. But rather than wait and see if CA3 would move, it makes sense for BvS:DoJ (I hate myself) to be the one to move up. Why is that? They’ve learned the lesson of Captain America 2.

Captain America: The First Avenger was a success. It followed Iron Man and Thor and now the third Avenger had a film to herald. Still, when it came time for the sequel, it made more sense to open in spring than summer.

January and February may be the dumping ground for studios releases, but March and April have shown they can handle blockbusters. (Think Oz: The Great & Powerful or Fast Five.) By opening in April, Captain America 2 was like a preview for the summer season, but the most important lesson from CA2 is the one that DC took to heart when they moved their movie.

For many years, overseas grosses have been the primary key to any movie’s success if they have north of a $100 million production budget. Domestic is still important; it still tends to be 30%-40% of a big-budget film’s take. Captain America 2 not only had a summer-worthy domestic opening ($95 million), but it had summer-worthy foreign grosses (currently at $713 million, 4th highest for 2014). In fact, the Cap is still the #1 domestic movie of the year. Transformers 4 might scrape and claw to catch it, but it’ll be tough.

Alice in Wonderland made a billion dollars opening in March. No reason to think Batman v. Superman couldn’t do the same.

In Other Movie News:

Dumbo is the latest Disney animated classic that’s going to get the live-action/CGI treatment. It’d be the babe for our time. Not a bad idea, but whoever they get to voice the mouse Timothy will be crucial.

– Jennifer Lee, who wrote and co-directed Frozen, will next tackle Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 classic “A Wrinkle in Time.”

– Chris Pine and Casey Affleck will star together in a 1950’s Coast Guard drama The Finest Hours.

– Seth Rogen and James Franco’s “Let’s kill Kim Jong-Un” comedy The Interview has been pushed back to a Christmas release date.

Catching Up on Older Movies:

Wet Hot American Summer – This 2000 film was a parody of earlier teen-hijinks movies, but mostly of the summer-camp flick Meatballs. It still works today, and I imagine it will always work, because it’s spoofing 1981. And the cast really holds up. Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Joe LoTruglia, Kevin Sussman, Kyle Gallner, Judah Friedlander all in the same movie. It nails all the third-act fake-feel-good moments, the casual naive approach to drugs, the motive-free sluttiness of the girls, and all the “rag-tag group of misfits” cliches. I wonder what type of movie a spoof of 1995 would be today?

What I’m Watching on TV:

CBS’s Big Brother – I’m really enjoying this year’s cast. No closet racists or overt cruelty. Yet. I’m rooting for Donny, but I also liked Hayden & Nicole. It’s funny how adept some players are at gathering multiple alliances (Derrick, Cody) while others just shoot themselves in the foot (Christine).

FX’s Partners – Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence might have made a good team with a good script, but the first episode is broad and unfunny. I hope to hear it improves in the future but in its current state, it’s not worth watching.

Tags: Alice In Wonderland Amazing Spider-Man Batman V Superman Big Brother Black Cat Chris Pine Dumbo Fantastic Four James Franco Marvel Studios Partners Seth Rogen Sinister Six Wet Hot American Summer Wolverine X-Men

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