Thursday, July 21, 2011

Warner Bros. moves Man of Steel to June 14th, 2013. NOT July 19th, 2013!

In what I guess you could call breaking news, Warner Bros. has announced that they are moving Man of Steel (ie - Zach Snyder's Superman film that seems to be based on Superman: Birthright) from December 2012 to June 14th, 2013.  What's shocking is not that the film is being moved (it is apparently being tinkered with at the screenwriting stage), but that Warner is not moving it into its favorite mega-release date, which in this case would be July 19th, 2013.  For those who came in late, a brief history of Warner's favorite weekend:  It started in July 2007. For, among other reasons, a sense that the fifth Harry Potter film would benefit from a release date close to the release of the seventh and final book, Warner Bros. slotted Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to open on Wednesday, July 18th. It grossed $44 million on that first Wednesday and ended up with $139 million over the first five days ($77 million of that from Fri-Sun). Despite being released in the summer (where Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ended with a series-low gross of $248 million) and being based on arguably the worst book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix ended up with $293 million, becoming the highest-grossing Harry Potter sequel yet released at the time.

The next year, Warner broke with Caped Crusader-tradition and released The Dark Knight not in mid-June like every other prior Batman movie, but in the same mid-July slot where they had struck gold the year before with the boy who lived. As most of you know, the film set an opening weekend record of $158 million and ended its leggy run with $533 million. Last summer, following a last-minute date change from November 15th, 2008 to July 15th, 2009, Warner slotted its sixth Harry Potter picture in the same Wednesday five-day weekend as the last chapter, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince scored another $159 million over its first five days before becoming the first Harry Potter sequel to cross $300 million.  In 2010, Warner Bros. slotted its big summer tentpole over the same weekend, in this case it was Chris Nolan's Inception, which opened with $62 million and eventually ended up with $290 million.  This year, of course, Warner used the same slot that had worked so well for Harry Potter 5 and Harry Potter 6, using July 15th as the opening date for the series finale.  We all know what happened there.  Opening on a Friday (as opposed to the last two summer Potters, which opened on Wednesdays), the film broke the opening weekend record with $169 million.  Next year, come July 20th, said record may (or may not...) fall again when Warner Bros opens The Dark Knight Rises.

So as you can see, since Warner has decided to hold on to their Superman reboot, it would make sense to release it on the same piece of prime real estate that has served them for the last five years.  But no, instead Warner is choosing the mid-June slot that ironically USED to be the opening day for the alleged big super hero film of a given summer.  On that weekend, we had Dick Tracy, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Hulk, and Batman Begins.  It is interesting to see if Warner Bros. is trying to reestablish that release date as primo real estate once again.  This also makes Man of Steel into the defacto 'movie to beat' in summer 2013, as the heavily scrutinized project (with arguably the best cast of any recent comic book picture - Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Antje Traue, Russell Crowe, Julia Ormond, Harry Lennix, and Christopher Meloni) will be facing the over-the-hill Iron Man 3 and the relatively unanticipated Thor 2, along with the somewhat more exciting Fast and Furious 6 (which is coming off the dynamite fifth installment) and Despicable Me 2.  We'll see, but don't be surprised if Warner Bros. moves Pacific Rim (opening July 12th) to the June 14th slot while pushing Man of Steel to that July 19th date.  And if they do, you heard it here first.  And if they don't... well they darn-well should have.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Liam_Ho said...

I thought WB had to release Superman before the end of 2012 because their rights would have ended. But I'm guessing its even murkier than I thought if they can push it back to 2013, especially with all the competition in December of 2012.


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