Today, Warner Bros. moved the premiere of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice from May 6, 2016 to March 25, 2016. When they first announced the March 2016 premiere date, it was already known that an unnamed Marvel Studios film would also be premiering that weekend. Later, it was announced that it would be the follow-up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which won its opening weekend in April of this year with a $95 million box office. It is likely that the decision to move the date for Batman vs. Superman was made after Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy premiere won this past weekend at the box office with $94 million. Guardians was a property that was unknown to many people prior to the film adaptation.
Does this mean that Warner Bros. and DC are running scared from Marvel Studios? Maybe.
Batman and Superman are two of the biggest comic book characters ever, not to mention the plethora of other characters that are expected to appear in the movie as a soft launch to the Justice League. They’re a big draw. This also means that there is a lot riding on this film. Warner Bros. can’t afford for it to do poorly and Captain America and Marvel are huge box office draws. If B vs. S loses to Cap 3, that’s going to be a huge problem for Warner Bros. as there are talks that they’re actually filming a Justice League movie back-to-back with B vs. S. Even if it wins the weekend, they really need it to do better than the $116 million opening of last year’s Man of Steel. They need it to do closer to 2012’s The Avengers, which had an opening of $207 million.
Moving the opening to March could actually work out really well for Warner Bros. Captain America: The Winter Soldier already showed that a summer blockbuster-style movie can succeed in April and Warner Bros. itself had success this year with February’s Lego Movie. Warner Bros. might be running scared but they also may be hunting down success.