Marvel vs. DC: Who Will Surrender Their May 2016 Release Date?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated March 12th, 2014 at 9:04 pm,

Superman vs Thor Marvel vs. DC: Who Will Surrender Their May 2016 Release Date?

Ever since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man opened in theaters in 2002, breaking box office records around the world and mainstreaming the superhero genre, Marvel and the various studios holding rights to its characters have successfully reigned over the month of May when it comes to launching blockbusters. Fox and Sony traded years, alternating between X-Men and Spider-Man sequels in the mid-2000s until young Marvel Studios came along in 2008 with an unexpected megahit known as Iron Man which launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it.

After The Avengers continued upping the success by becoming the third highest grossing film of all-time in 2012, and after Iron Man 3 continued the success last summer, Disney and Marvel Studios were quick to lock down the opening May weekends for 2016 and 2017 with release dates for unannounced feature films. With Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment delaying Batman vs. Superman, it now shares one of those very same weekends and we have an epic fight on our hands.

Over the last decade or so, Marvel has traditionally owned May and owned it well, and they plan to continue the trend (up until 2021 according to Marvel Studios’ boss). See for yourself:

  • May 3, 2002 - Spider-Man
  • May 2, 2003 – X-Men 2
  • May 26, 2006 - X-Men: The Last Stand
  • May 4, 2007 - Spider-Man 3
  • May 2, 2008 – Iron Man
  • May 1, 2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • May 7, 2010 – Iron Man 2
  • May 6, 2011 – Thor
  • May 4, 2012 – The Avengers
  • May 3, 2013 – Iron Man 3
  • May 2, 2014 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • May 23, 2014 - X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • May 1, 2015 – The Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • May 6 2016 – Unannounced Marvel Film
  • May 27, 2016 – X-Men: Apocalypse
  • May 5 2017 - Unannounced Marvel Film
  • May 4, 2018 – The Amazing Spider-Man 4

Marvel Movie Crossovers Spider Man Wolverine Avengers Marvel vs. DC: Who Will Surrender Their May 2016 Release Date?

The Hulks, Fantastic Fours and the first Captain America took later summer dates while Daredevil, Elektra, the Blades and Punishers took other dates throughout the year.

On the DC side, the Batman and Superman films (even Green Lantern) have all taken June and July dates, two of which (The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises) earned over a billion dollars. It’s for that reason that Batman vs. Superman (Man of Steel 2) had to delay a whole 10 months since it was originally scheduled for July 17th, 2015, the same weekend where DC saw incredible success previously:

  • July 18, 2008 - The Dark Knight
  • July 20, 2012 - The Dark Knight Rises
  • July 17, 2015 – Batman vs. Superman

While WB and DC would normally love that July 2015 date, if they needed even just a few more weeks of production time, that would mean the film would need a massive delay and that’s what it got. Here’s why: There’s no way the studio would push such a high ticket blockbuster into August where its earnings could practically be cut in half and it’d be financial suicide to go for an otherwise-strong fall date with Disney hosting the return of Star Wars with Episode VII that December, not to mention Lionsgate’s finale of The Hunger Games franchise in November. Do we even need to list the next James Bond and Mission: Impossible installments? How about the sure-to-be-huge animated features Kung Fu Panda 3 and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur? All of these release late 2015.

2015 is too crowded with big-brand megahits and there’s no room later in the year for Superman and friends. So, looking to 2016, DC took the aggressive approach in planting its Kryptonian feet in the first blockbuster weekend slot – the opening weekend in May where records are meant to be broken. Thing is, Marvel Studios was already planning on putting their second Phase 3 feature film there (the first being Ant-Man in July 2015). While we won’t know that that film is until Marvel Studios hosts a panel at San Diego Comic-Con this July we do know it’s a followup to an established property. According to Marvel boss Kevin Feige, the strategy going forward is to continue releasing two films per year with the first of each pair being a sequel and the second being a new IP.

Superman Batman Cavill Affleck Fan Art Marvel vs. DC: Who Will Surrender Their May 2016 Release Date?

Logic would then dictate that May 2016 is when they want to release Thor 3. Why? Thor 1 launched May 2011 before Captain America: The First Avenger and the character is now their most bankable solo hero since the Iron Man series is over for the time being. Thor 3 would also come before Captain America 3 according to their release schedule thus far.

So now we have a fight on our hands.


Next Page: Batman vs. Superman vs. Thor. Let It Begin.


Batman vs. Superman is scheduled for May 6, 2016.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

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  1. I’m guessing all out Hulk starting with Avengers 2.


    In A2 Hulk gets kicked off the team for being too Hulk.

    That story gets intertwined or at least button teased in ANT-MAN.

    Hulk then appears in whatever the 2016 movie is.

    • Why do people insisrinsist on this when in the avengers he learned to control himself and in many interviews feige and whedon have shot down any world war hulk rumors down because they like the idea of hulk being a hero.

    • I like the idea of hulk leaving the team in age of ultron maybe he could take a 2016 movie release for a solo adventure I’d love a solo hulk live with ruffalo

    • Idk I kinda want to see Hulk in Asgard. After Age of a Ultron why do they have to split and go solo? There are no rules for this. If marvel did movies that were sort of mini team-ups instead of the typical solo film I’m almost certain they’d increase their revenues per movie by a noticeable margin.

      Thor 3 could have surtur or some such and thor just goes and gets hulk (or whomever) as backup. Why not.

      • Heck do Surtur for Thor 3 but instead of beta-ray bill replace him with Hulk. Done. Would be way more interesting.

  2. Marvel will probably end up moving. If it did come to a showdown Marvel would be obliterated especially if it was Thor 3. I could see either of them moving but who cares, I just want these movies to be good and for them both to make money so even more movies can be made.

    • Exactly, thank you.

  3. This may not be the most exciting comment but it’s really a coin flip.
    The simple fact is one of these movies will move. It would go down as the dumbest decision in movie making history if neither studio is willing to consider moving.

    Also and to be completely honest I wouldn’t be able to handle the DC vs Marvel debate that would take place. If Batman/Superman made one penny more than the Marvel movie on opening weekend those who love DC would go crazy and so would the Marvel fans if the situation were reversed.

    All the while those of us who just appreciate great CBM no matter what studio is producing them would be lost in the shuffle.

    • It doesn’t matter, the Marvel vs DC bullsh*t will continue anyway.

      • Its like aids cancer death and taxes

    • *Batman/Superman movie received more Box Office money than the Announced Marvel movie*
      DC fanboy: Yes! That’s right. DC is BETTER, in your face Marvel! DC forever!

      (Reverse) *The Announced Marvel movie received more Box Office money than Batman/Superman*
      Marvel fanboy: Suck it DC! Marvel ALWAYS win! Marvel>DC.

      Deadpool is right. The Marvel vs DC debate is completely ridiculous and won’t ever stop. I really don’t see the point.

      • I like both marvel and DC. My favorite part of this site is when you don’t agree with one of the DC fan boys they call you a marvel fan boy. I haven’t read a comic book since 1992 but some how Im a fan boy. I went to the movies and watched mos . It was OK at best. I think Thor 2 was the best super movie this year followed by iron man 3 then mos then the wolverine. I would say that out of all the sups I mentioned wolverine is my favorite followed by superman then thor then iron man. Superman is way cooler then iron man hands down but the iron man movie was way more entertaining to watch the mos. I don’t care about what ever obscure superman comics you want to bring up so you can lie to your fan boy self that mos was the best sups movie this year. Mos wasn’t the funnest to watch or was the most entertaining but some comic book nerd found more comic books that had stuff from them in the movie. That doesn’t make it a good movie. It just means they used the wrong stuff from the comic books. I wish I had the super powers of the normal humans in the mos movie. So I could out run falling building the wrong way like in a cartoon or have the power to have a skyscraper fall on me and all it does is give me a little scrap or two. Here is to the 2.5% of movie watchers who are DC fan boys. You make these comments worth reading with your blind love.

  4. How can Marvel move its Spring 2015 TBA to November if it’s already got a Fall 2015 TBA planned? And a Spring 2016 TBA? And a Fall 2016 TBA? Unless they scale back Phase 3, their schedule is too jammed for push anything back six months. They can move it to July, where CA:TFS debuted. That’s about all they can do if WB/DC is really prepared to play chicken on this. They’ll presumably hold off as long as they can to see if the new date sticks, but nothing Marvel has can compete with a Batman/Superman teamup.

    • Hey Buster,

      For clarification, there are no TBAs for 2015 and there are no TBA fall dates in the future for Marvel (at this point).

      Avengers 2 & Ant-Man both come summer 2015 and then there are May and July unannounced films in 2016, followed by an unannounced film in May 2017.

      • I had thought Marvel has said that the plan for Phase 3 is to release an installment of an existing franchise in the Spring and an installment for a new franchise in the Fall, rather than a Spring release and a Summer release. But, sure, if the plan is Spring/Summer, they can shift to Summer/Fall.

        And, yes, as I note below, I got the years wrong in my initial post.

        • Ah, Feige didn’t specify season, only that in any given year the first of the two films will be a sequel and the second slot would be when they’d intro a new property.

    • Whoops, I had the years wrong. Shift everything back one.

  5. If it was Iron man or The Avengers then Marvel would be laughing.

    If it was any other DC character that that wasnt batman then DC would change.

    Because its Batman i think Marvel has no choice. I think that Dr Strange, Black Panther and any other of their characters would have an extremely hard time against Batman, and only Batman. The only films Marvel could do to beat them would be the Avengers or Iron man solo movie

    If it was Superman Marvel wouldnt budge. I think that is Marvel moves it can show a sign of weakness so i wonder what will happen. Marvel was a bit egotistical to claim those spots so early. I have more faith in what marvel has there than the Batman Vs Superman movie though.

    • It wouldn’t be a new character in May though – they confirmed that new characters will be the second film each year. I always figured that meant Thor then Inhumans in 2016 and Cap then Doc Strange in 2017.

      Although if Hulk is somewhere in there, or Guardians 2 is separate from Inhumans, that could all change.

      • Hope they start doing mini team ups as opposed to strict solo outings. Marvel needs to change the formula. Even with 2 or 3 heros as opposed to the full roster they’d get a lot more profit than their solo movies (well prob comparable to IM solos).

        Make a story on that Rob. If they were to do mini team ups what combinations would people like to see most?

  6. Marvel will end up moving because they’ll know that throwing Thor vs Surtur on the big screen won’t cut it against Batman and Superman. They won’t want people thinking the movie was bad based on box office when the reality will be more people waiting for DC’s juggernaut to release.

  7. See, I actually think that Marvel is going to hold their ground. They claimed that May 6 date a long time ago, so DC is without a doubt trying to mess with them. They could have moved their movie release to anywhere else, and yet they specifically went with one Marvel already had. If anything, DC should move it back to July; that way they have a full extra year to develop their vision (and in all honestly, they need all the time they can get).

    • No they will not SupvsBat May-6 here we come.

    • “that way they have a full extra year to develop their vision (and in all honestly, they need all the time they can get)”

      This. Wouldn’t be surprised if they postpone again.

    • Should also think based on how amazing Thor 2 was (danced circles around the s*** that was Iron Man 3), Thor 3 is probably going to be baller, an excellently made film + Tom Hiddleston. Compared to Ben Affleck as Batman. lol…

      DC should move. Marvel had the date first, and who knows, it’s 2+ years away – anything could happen. It’s more than likely that BMvSM will be pushed back again haha, so all this is pure speculatory nonsense.

  8. If the April date works out for Captain America 2 it would not surprise me if Marvel moved the movie planned for May 2016 into April 2016.

    Also would not be surprised if they tried to do a mini-Avengers movie by having a couple of heroes teaming up to further develop the relationships. Perhaps having Hulk along with one of the other heroes. Or one of the established heroes and introducing a new one.

    • I didn’t consider this, but, yes, they could move it up a month. It wouldn’t have a very long run, but, sure.

    • Yeap, I mentioned them moving up as a possibility if Cap 2 works.

      • Well, it definitely works here. We’ve had an April release from Marvel for the past 2 years now and it hasn’t hurt in the slightest. The only way it could possibly do badly is if the American mindset of “blockbuster movie means summer release” can’t be shattered because lets be honest, unless a movie is about a specific holiday, it can release pretty much any time in the year and as long as the marketing department do their job, people will see it.

        That’s why the UK has had the heavy hitting dramas like Lincoln, The Artist, The Railway Man and more released in the Jan/Feb period.

        • Yada yada yada yada . Know your going to tell me how its the heads fault and how the heads side is preventing the tails side to get the job done. I’m like its a freaking quarter both sides are one in the same. Then you will tell us how your proud to live in a country that has so many laws the same as nazi Germany. Have fun paying your TV taxes and pretending the queen is a real person.

  9. I can see them switching it up and placing a lesser known charecter in theatres on that date. Maybe Dr Strange. So the film will be in a sense battling itself rather than Batman v Superman. A Hulk film would actually probably do well in the time slot, though it’s probably too soon to begin production.

    • Thats exactly what I was thinking. Doctor Strange probably won’t be a smash hit like Iron Man no matter when the release date is. I’d put Doctor Strange there personally. Plus if Marvel does move all of the DC fanboys will go crazy. I’m in favor of all CBM’s but I do prefer Marvel, not to the extent of bashing anything DC.

      • If you add up all the DC and marvel fan boys it would amount to 5% of the ppl who watch the movies. 2.5% Are DC 2.5% are marvel . That 5% doesn’t matter. I’m still going to see bvs in spite of the worst batman casting ever. For every thing that was wrong and bad about mos I liked the actor who played super. I want to see cyborg and mmh and many more b list (popularity wize ) DC heros on the big screen. DC has foolishly forced fed us the same two over and over and over again. Said to say we saw more variety of different supers in one of the xmen movies then in all of the DC movies added together . DC is so much more then bats and sups . Its a shame thats all we got so far. P.s. gl doesn’t count

  10. Marvel would move. Marvel may have made dumb moves, they are not suicidal.

  11. I hope Marvel moves. Bats vs. Supes will win this competition. Marvel has less to lose at that point and with no set plans yet it doesn’t really matter if they move. Also, I rather not pay $50-60 on movies that weekend (+1 for me) hah. But seriously, there’s no point in being the proud horse and trying to beat the colossal whale in the room. If the DC movie is good, Marvel can say kudos, if it is bad, they can sit back and relax, knowing viewers will be hungry for the next comic movie after disappointment. The ball is in Marvel’s court now.

  12. Marvel really needs to wait on the third Thor and Cap. Otherwise they’ll have another Downey Jr situation.

    • That’s right I want then to wait until after avengers 3 to put out Thor 3 cap 3 and iron man 4 . Let’s a face facts. Movies aren’t made for fan boys . They are made to make as much money as they can. It would take someone pretty foolish to believe rdj won’t make another iron man movie. It was the 4 or 5 th biggest money maker of all time. Rdj got a % of it. There will be at least one more iron man movie . I would love all three to be post avengers movies with all three ending up leading Thor cap and im to join the gog.

  13. I want Batman v Superman to be the biggest and best comic book movie to date but I don’t like how DC have basically given marvel an ultimatum, move your movie or get annihilated. They’re acting as if they’re the top dogs in the cbm business when they really aren’t.

    Anyway, surely both studios lose out if they both release movies on the same date. Thor would probably take away a good chunk of BvS’s potential earnings.

    • Well, Man of Steel DID outgross all of these Marvel Films.

      Iron Man
      Iron Man 2
      Thor: The Dark World
      Captain America
      The Incredible Hulk

      DC got solid results from Man of Steel…

      • Maybe but both Iron Man movies made more than Man of Steel in the US.

      • You say this every post, but you don’t examine the fact that your statement is actually a win for Marvel.

        10 years ago, would you EVER have believed that an Iron Man, Thor, Captain America or Hulk movie would even come CLOSE to out-grossing SUPERMAN? It’s SUPERMAN. MoS SHOULD have made at least $1Bn. The aforementioned marvel characters, prior to the Marvel movie spree, were tier 2 at best, most likely tier 3. If you ask me, MoS was a success financially (can’t disagree with that) but it underperformed based on expectations. Earnings and metrics are only as good as your assumptions, and my assumption is that Superman and Batman should destroy all CBM based on the fact that anyone can identify their iconic imagery. Anything short of $1-1.2bn for the next DC movie will be short of expectations. Marvel continues to match and exceed expectations.

      • thor 2 has not been released in japan yet , so it may pass MOS

      • thor 2 has not been released yet in japan so it may still pass MOS.

  14. May 2016 Its a Marvel new IP and it sticks.

  15. Unless the TBA Marvel movie is a well known, popular character, Marvel should move their date. I love Marvel but Batman and Superman are DC’s most bankable characters, so if it’s not a team-up movie with an Avengers type feel, DC will take the cake. It would be dope if an Avengers movie could go head to head with a Justice League movie. That would be great, friendly, (maybe deadly) competition amongst fans. I guess we shall see. I’m sure Marvel will release their TBA movie titles at Comic-Con!

  16. Marvel need to move over or they will loose to DC big time. Marvel cannot just pick the May 6 date even without announcing the name of the movie. Get ready for them to move over to June you will see.
    Wll Marvel look week if they do?

  17. Marvel WILL most likely move Thor up to April and release Inhumans in July , but they should announce Thor as the July 2016 release and introduce one of their horror comic properties the last week of Oct. IMHO it would be wise to scale back and start mixing in some lower budget properties along with the Mega blockbusters.

  18. I think Marvel will probably move their movie, but depending on the result of Winter Soldier. They probably will move it forward to April 2016, and as much as I want Thor 3, I personally think it will be Doc Strange instead…

    Oh, and there’s also a possibility DC might move their date earlier or later that year, depending on what is currently happening behind the scene. DC had already been absent in 2014 and 2015, who’s to say they won’t do the same thing in 2016 right? :(

  19. Marvel will, they know unless they are releasing an Avengers or Iron Man movie that it will not even stand up to well let’s be honest its mostly likely going to turn into a Justice League movie instead of Batman vs Superman

  20. If DC is going to move, they should move it to May 1, IMHO. Holiday means more cinema-goers

    • Highly doubt it, Kevin Smith said the suit he saw was not armor and looked more like Jim Lee’s ( thats the word that supposedly got bleeped out in a podcast) Unless it looks way different on film but it could be fan made. Also if he is fighting Supes he will need an armored suit but rest assured THAT one won’t be revealed till its trailer time in 2015 lol

    • This is assuming that the majority of moviegoers will have heard of any of those characters (they haven’t).

      That’s what Marvel needs to be careful about. Thor’s a slightly known name now and has proven it can do well with the sequel’s box office but it’d be like releasing Squirrel Girl: The Movie opposite The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The bigger draw will gain the most bank because more people know the character.

      • I’d probably go see Squirrel Girl over TASM2. No joke. :) But point taken; I’m just a weird outlier like that.

  21. The thing is that Marvel by May 6 2016 would of probably made an extra 2.5 Billion in Pure Profit from Captain America Winter Soldier Guardians of the Galaxy, Age of Ultron and AntMan they just might let DC/WB win in 2016 with Batman v. Superman and 2017 with Justice League knowing they will take back the crown in 2018 with Avengers The Infinity Gauntlet

  22. The 2016 release, in my opinion, will be THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK. PLANET HULK is planned for farther down the road, just before AVENGERS: WORLD WAR HULK in 2021. While I dont think Marvel fears DC at all they are smart enough to realize that cannabalizing each other with a crowded release date does them no good. If Marvel did move its 2016 release til later in the summer it wouldn’t be a big deal. If WB moves BvS from May to later it would be a big deal because it would be just another delay, it would show that they’re intimidated by Marvel’s film success and it puts forth the impression that they aren’t confident in their own film.
    At this point 2016 is beginning to fill up just like 2016. Before this year is out, once Star Wars IV has completed filming, look for an announcement that 2016 will also see the release of INDIANA JONES 5.

  23. Why not an Iron Man vs. Hulk Movie, with The Leader pulling the strings?

  24. Isn’t Amazing Spiderman 3 in May 2016?

    • Sony announced June 10, 2016.