IMAX has released their 2019 schedule, and there's a debate as to whether or not it implies Marvel will push the release date of next year's Avengers 4 forward to April. Fans are pushing for a same-day global release, and it is possible Marvel Studios is listening to this popular campaign.
Marvel movies traditionally have a staggered release, dropping a week early in the UK, Western Europe, and some overseas territories. As Kevin Feige has explained, that's partly due to different holiday dates, with Marvel trying to choose release dates that optimize turnout. It's also something of a marketing gimmick, as it helps generate hype and subtly manipulates the box office takings. There have been a handful of exceptions, most notably Ant-Man & the Wasp, with Marvel choosing to delay the UK release date due to the World Cup. The most high-profile exception, though, was Avengers: Infinity War. Although Marvel initially planned to follow their usual staggered release, they moved the film forward late in the day so as to prevent spoilers. That ensured a same-day global release, and there's already a push for Marvel to do the same for Avengers 4.
IMAX has published their 2019 schedule, and many are arguing it implies the release date is moving. It confirms 17 titles that are scheduled for IMAX release next year, including Glass, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Frozen 2. Significantly, though, it claims Avengers 4 will drop in April 2019. While that matches with France, Germany and the UK, currently the film is due for a May release in all other territories.
IMAX specifically state that this information references the date the film will first appear in IMAX's global theatrical network. That, it seems, is why it shows domestic release dates for several other films. Take How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. That film actually releases across most of Europe in January 2019, but the IMAX schedule lists the domestic release date of March. Godzilla: King of Monsters is listed for May, even though it releases in Portugal and Sweden two months earlier. It does seem odd for Avengers 4 to be the only listing on the schedule that uses a release date from another territory. However, this may simply reflect an intention to release the film at IMAX cinemas overseas ahead of the domestic release date.
It is possible, of course, that Marvel Studios will push the release date forwards - but this information sadly doesn't prove the case. It's true, though, that they did that with this year's Avengers: Infinity War; and there's really no reason the studio couldn't do it again. In that scenario, they'd be planning another same-day global release, a worldwide event that would certainly be another box office hit.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019