Walt Disney Pictures is officially taking over the business side of the Marvel movie universe in the future - beginning with next year's The Avengers and then Iron Man 3 in 2013, which the Mouse House (not Paramount) will market and distribute in theaters.
The company has gone ahead and settled on release dates for two Marvel titles that... don't actually have titles yet, while also setting up next year's sci-fi flick, John Carter, for release in the IMAX format.
Disney has officially claimed May 16th, 2014 and June 27th, 2014 as dates for the release of two yet-to-be-reveal Marvel pics. In addition, the studio has set the John Carter of Mars adaptation for a simultaneous release in regular 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters in March 2012.
There are a handful of possible titles that Disney could be eying for a 2014 release, including Captain America 2, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, or even The Avengers 2, it would seem.
Rumors have been circulating recently about Marvel actively developing a film that would bring the mystical Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen. Likewise, just this past week, word got out that the comic book studio was moving forward with a solo vehicle for the magical Doctor Strange - going so far as to send the current draft of the script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (Conan the Barbarian) out to potential directors for consideration.
With Disney settling on 2014 release dates only five weeks apart - by comparison, this year's Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger were scheduled two and a half months apart - it seems unlikely that the studio is eying those dates for two mainstream character/ensemble movies. More likely, either a staple superhero pic (like Captain America 2) will arrive before/after the solo vehicle for a less popular entity, like Doctor Strange. Or, perhaps, two Marvel characters will be making their live-action debut that summer.
It's not exactly a shock to learn that Disney is releasing Andrew Stanton's John Carter adaptation in IMAX 3D. The expensive sci-fi project definitely has a strong cult following, due to the popularity of Edgar Rice Burroughs' source material - and the official John Carter trailer teased an imaginative adventure that should benefit from having its creative alien settings and technology brought to life on the big, big screen.
The box office prospects for John Carter are a bit uncertain, though, since Burroughs' creation isn't as well known a literary figure as, say, his Tarzan. Plus, the Victorian era-inspired aesthetic of the film has already left some people scratching their heads, more curious as to why the Martian settings look so old-fashioned and fantastical - as opposed to more contemporary and realistic in design - rather than being excited to see the final product.
John Carter is arguably in the same boat as Disney's TRON: Legacy was last winter, since it too is an effects-heavy sci-fi installment in a franchise with a smaller-but-loyal cult following. All things considered, Legacy was ultimately a financial success (enough so to keep TRON 3 alive) and John Carter might perform similarly - ensuring that this won't be the only time Taylor Kitsch plays the planet-trotting Civil War soldier onscreen.
John Carter is now set to arrive in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters in the U.S. on March 9th, 2012.
We'll let you know when Marvel/Disney officially announces which specific titles are scheduled for release in Summer 2014.