Marvel is set now to really push it’s new film, Ant-Man. It had to hold back on this for some time.
It was a bit of an odd move for the studio to release two big films in the same summer season. The risk was always having the publicity for one film over-shadow the other.
Let’s have a look:
Marvel Studios has the wind at its back these days, as it has achieved notable successes even as it ramped up its production from one film to two films a year. Often, one of the two films would be slated for a summer release date, but the question has always been: how do you find that perfect date for that second film?
To review: In 2013, Iron Man 3 was released at the beginning of May, kicking off the summer season, but Marvel had another big film on the docket with Thor: The Dark World. For all we know, they hired Jim from Taxi to come up with that second date, randomly picking the month of November. (for those readers who have never heard of Taxi – and that would be most of you – it was great comedy from the 80’s, and Christopher Lloyd was brilliant as a bum named Jim who always had good luck).
To be fair, Jim had nothing to do with it. Marvel probably had its market researchers on the case, scanning the calendars for a good spot, and, a s arsult, The Dark World was a successful film at the box office . The very next year, they (rather unconventionally) dropped Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April rather than in May. Analysts all over the web were left scratching their heads: who releases a blockbuster in April, when May is traditionally the start of the summer movie season? Well, apparently, Marvel does! The gamble paid off: after a long winter indoors, people were itching to get out to the movies, and The Winter Soldier delivered. It’s second film of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy, was chosen to close out the summer and was released long after other studios had put out their tent-pole offerings, and that strategy worked as well.
The point: Marvel can release it’s two films a year almost pretty much using any time slots it wants to. So, in 2013, it decided to spread the wealth over two different seasons (summer for Iron Man 3 and late fall for Thor: The Dark World) it set the release date for both of its big films this year for the heart of the summer. It’s a strange, even bold move to release Avengers: Age of Ultron in May and then its second film, Ant-Man, shortly thereafter, in July. Truth be told: at this point, the move could very well pay off.
The buzz for the Age of Ultron came naturally: its a sequel to one of the biggest films in history. There was never any doubt that they’d have an easier time promoting Ultron than this strange and largely unfamiliar (at least to the public) character of Ant-Man. That also meant that Marvel had to hold back promoting Ant-Man at all until weeks after Ultron had been released; if they hadn’t, all that money and effort would be wasted, as its potential audience was only thinking about that Iron Man/ Hulk fight, or how the team, with the addition of the Maximov twins, would contend with Ultron. “You step outside that door, you’re an Avenger.” The same is true for mentioning anything Marvel before Ultron was released: “Say anything about Marvel before May first, and it’s part of the Avengers.”
But now that the Avengers publicity train has come to a complete stop, Marvel can turn its attention to Ant-Man, and they’ve only left themselves a month to do it. Any-Man will need more just a little help (the character is largely unfamiliar to the public), it will need a bold push in order to garner a big opening weekend. With the posters below, we are finally starting to see Marvel make that big push. From here until its release, Marvel will be ramping up this this film as never before.
It’s kind of surprising then that, with San Diego Comic con taking place only a week or so before Ant-Man drops, the studio won’t be there to give the film a big push to attendees, the types of people who comprise the core audience of that film.
Marvel’s decision to not push it’s films at Comic Con was its own decision, and if we’d attended the meetings behind the scenes, it would make sense to us. Remember last winter when it held its own “Phase 3” even at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles. Why do they need to go to SDCC when it could set up it’s own events – events that draw bigger crowds?
No matter. Marvel clearly knows what its doing, both with regard to publicizing it’s brand as well as just about everything else. Even if picking dates for releasing the films is little more than a crap-shoot, the studio has the wind at its back at this point, and it’s in a position where it could literally try anything.
With that being said, it’s doubtful that they’d release a big comic book film in January.. where studios often slot their worst films.