Superman and Batman are going to have to wait a little longer to team up.
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Warner Bros. announced Friday that the Man of Steel follow-up will hit theaters May 6, 2016, nine months later than its previous July 17, 2015, release date. That date will now be reserved for a Peter Pan movie directed by Joe Wright.
The move sets up a potential Warner Bros./DC showdown with rival Disney/Marvel, which also has set an untitled Marvel move for that date. Marvel has had huge success with releasing big-budget tentpoles in early May. Iron Man 3 became the second-highest-grossing film of 2013 after its early-May release. In 2012, The Avengers, also released in early May, became the third-highest-grossing film of all time.
The early-May berth has been associated with Marvel since Columbia released Spider-Man in 2002. X2, the X-Men sequel from Fox, followed in 2003. Marvel has released all of its Iron Man movies in that time frame as well as Thor. In fact, a Marvel-based movie has come out each May since 2006.
Additionally, that weekend is so connected to a comic book movie that retailers in North America organize a yearly Free Comic Book Day on that Saturday.
Warners is now aiming for its share of the early-May box office. The studio is also pushing production on the movie to the second quarter; it was initially slated to begin shooting this winter.
“We are happy to take advantage of these coveted summer dates, which are perfect for two of our biggest tentpole releases,” Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said in a statement. “We share the fans’ excitement to see DC Comics’ most popular figures, Superman and Batman, together on the big screen for the first time, which will now be arriving in theaters in May 2016. Peter Pan has delighted people of every generation for more than a century, so we are thrilled to bring him back to the screen next summer for today’s moviegoers.”
Batman-Superman is the high-profile follow-up to last summer’s Man of Steel, which grossed $668 million worldwide and rebooted the Superman franchise for Warner Bros.
The follow-up movie, which also will feature the Caped Crusader, is in casting mode and has lined up Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in addition to Henry Cavill, who is reprising his role as Superman.
Jason Momoa is in negotiations for a role as well.
Zack Snyder is directing the movie, which is now undergoing a rewrite by Chris Terrio, the Oscar-winning scribe who penned Argo. David Goyer wrote the initial draft.
“We know that there is already great anticipation building for the next superhero film from Zack Snyder, and we are equally eager to see what he has in store for Superman and Batman as they share the big screen for the first time ever,” Warners president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg added in a statement. “The summer release corridor is also perfect for Joe Wright’s ambitious new Peter Pan adventure, reimagining the ageless story of the beloved and forever-young hero for audiences worldwide.”
Pan, meanwhile, is a Peter Pan origin story written by Jason Fuchs that will star Hugh Jackman as the pirate Blackbeard and recount the formative years of Pan and the young man who becomes Captain Hook. The movie will shoot in late spring/early summer.