Opinion: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ shifted release date has big implications


From Wikimedia Commons user Christianlorenz97. CC 4.0. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avengers_Infinity_War_logo_001.jpg

In an unprecedented move, Disney has bumped up the release date for “Avengers: Infinity War.” Although seemingly harmless, this move has repercussions for the industry beyond what one might originally think.

Instead of having to wait until May 4th to see the third “Avengers” film, we’ll all be able to file into the theaters on April 26 to see the superhero-blockbuster.

This is a big deal, even if we’re only talking about a matter of days here. Studios only change release dates when there’s a specific reason or strategy (when films are pushed back it’s usually a quality issue or because the studio has no faith in how it’ll perform at the box office, but when they’re brought forward it could be a number of different reasons). Moving on a property as big as “The Avengers,” especially when it’s supposed to be released in just a few months, makes it even more remarkable.

Yet, to deepen the mystery, Disney hasn’t released an official statement as to what, exactly, the reasoning for this move was.

Of course, there’s been plenty of online speculation as to what the reasoning could have been. One of the more popular theories has to do with the Han Solo standalone film, “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

In bumping up the release date of “Avengers,” it gives the film a longer run at the box-office without any direct competition, since Disney owns both Marvel and Lucasfilm. In short, it means both films could wind up making more money in box-office receipts.

The press surrounding “Solo” has also been rather mixed — the movie is only couple months away and they’ve only released one short trailer which, along with a whole bunch of drama involving the film’s director that broke last summer, has been leading people to believe the movie itself might not be very good quality-wise.

Other theories are that they’re simply trying to please their fans or remove any possibility of online spoilers, as the film has been scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom on April 27 since the film was initially announced, meaning the countries would share an opening weekend instead of a U.S. release a week later.

Whatever the reasoning may be, bumping up a release date on a property as big as “The Avengers” has several other implications for the whole industry.

Other studios had deliberately scheduled their summer blockbusters around “The Avengers,” as it’d be foolish to compete with them head-to-head. After all, given that most of the blockbusters we see these days are superhero based, anything that wanted to go up against “The Avengers” would be trying to attract the same audience, which would only hurt both film’s box office.

Now, Dwayne Johnson’s blockbuster about a giant monkey fighting a giant alligator, “Rampage,” only has one week in theaters before “Avengers” comes steamrolling in. The Amy Schumer comedy “I Feel Pretty” and Paula Patton thriller “Traffik” virtually stand no chance to earn any money their opening weeks, as they’re also scheduled to come out on April 27.

Disney, in a manner of speaking, has more or less just declared war on other studios, and the scary part is that Disney can most likely defeat each and every one of them.

Seeing how the company is buying off properties left and right — first Marvel, then Lucasfilm and now 20th Century Fox — there’s seemingly no stopping the Mouse. They plan to go up against Netflix next year as they’re launching their own exclusive streaming service, which is only going to drive out more competition.

Basically, the industry is becoming more and more closed off as Disney repeatedly tries to dominate all other studios. The future implications of that could potentially run Hollywood into the ground, should no one be able to compete with them. Eventually, one way or another, there’s going to be some sort of radical change.

Don’t let that scare you too much though — similar things happened around the 1960s when the Hollywood studio system collapsed and the ‘Golden Age’ came to an end. We’re simply seeing the business shift into something new, which is a natural change. There’s no telling what the next step will be, but rest assured that there still will be some sort of next step (I’d place my bets that it’s going to have to do with online streaming).

So, for now, we can just wait. Wait and watch, of course, because who are we kidding — we’re all going to go see “Avengers: Infinity War” on April 27.