Today is the world premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the cast and crew along with loads of celebrities will be attending the red carpet event in just a few hours. The Captain America sequel not only represents the first Marvel film release of 2014, but it's the first Phase 2 film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to delve back into the shared continuity of the franchise as a whole, bridging the gap between The Avengers and its 2015 sequel, Age of Ultron.
Chris Evans returns as the titular hero, joined by several important allies in fellow Avenger Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and new character Falcon (Anthony Mackie) as they take on a mysterious threat spearheaded in the field by The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). The studio has the utmost confidence in the spring release, having signed directors Anthony and Joe Russo, along with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, to begin work already on Captain America 3.
Combined with the immensely positive early reactions from media who screened Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier this week ahead of the press junket, and it's no surprise that Marvel Studios is fast-tracking a three-quel to begin shooting in 2015, that is, according to the Russos who revealed that in an interview with the New York Post's Reed Tucker.
— Reed Tucker (@reed_tucker) March 12, 2014
If they're shooting in 2015 that means Captain America 3 is coming in 2016, and if that's the case, Marvel Studios already has two dates for unannounced projects locked down - one on May 6 2016 and the other on July 8 2016. Kevin Feige told us last year that the studio likes the "rhythm" of having a sequel to an established property followed by a new one each year so that would mean Captain America 3 is coming May 6, 2016, a date that's also shared by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.' recently delayed Batman vs. Superman. As we confirmed last night, Marvel is not moving away from the date and rumors are already pointing towards the Man of Steel sequel potentially moving earlier.
Evidently, THR read the same stuff as their "sources" claim Captain America 3 is definitely coming that day as well. Now all we need to do is wait for Marvel Studios to make that official which Feige said will happen in the first half of this year, possibly even before their usual announcement venue (San Diego Comic-Con). What THR does have that's legitimately new however, is the early box office forecast for Captain America 2 which sees it raking in $80 million in its opening April weekend. That's just the domestic opening haul since it opens a week earlier in the UK.
That puts Cap 2's performance around or just under that of Thor: The Dark World, likely meaning it'll bring in a similar total or just a little less. If you recall, the first Thor outperformed Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 as well so Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian Avenger is currently Marvel's top solo hero earner after Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man. Similar to Thor 2 opening in November 2013, Cap 2's spring release is another test for the studio who up until this point has released all of its films in the key summer blockuster season.
That makes it all the more interesting that Marvel is reportedly planning to switch the order of releases in Phase 3, putting Captain America 3 before Thor 3. Of course, such a move is all part of the great plan in the setup for The Avengers 3 which is presumed to release in summer 2018. If Thor 3 is part of Phase 3 and not being saved until later, it's coming May 2017 - again, because established sequel comes first.
It's possible though that Guardians of the Galaxy gets a sequel for a third Thor, and some fans are still hoping for a Mark Ruffalo Hulk standalone picture, but we know Phase 4 is already in early development as well with a rough plan in place for Marvel Studios all the way until 2021. Then again, Thor 3 just got writers officially attached last month so it's already in development as well, before Guardians has even released.
Can Captain America: The Winter Soldier beat out Thor: The Dark World's $85 million domestic opening weekend with an April release? Will Warner Bros. keep Batman vs. Superman where it is against it in May 2016? Is Thor 3 a Phase 4 movie? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Hayley Atwell, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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