Marvel Pushes Avengers: Infinity War Release to April 27; Causing Huge Ripples
In a rare move for a Hollywood studio, Marvel is pushing up the Avengers: Infinity War release date by a week to April 27, 2018.
It’s not uncommon for studios to push a film release back. It happens all the time. Sometimes it’s a sign that the studio doesn’t have confidence in the film and it hopes a few last minute fixes can help, sometimes it is to avoid competing directly with another film that could split the audience.
So what does it mean when a studio pushes a film up a week? And what if that film was already set to be one of the biggest films of the year?
Earlier today, Marvel announced that it is pushing up the release of Avengers: Infinity War from the long established date of May 4 to April 27. It did so on Twitter with help from Robert Downey Jr., and while it made it seem like a spur-of-the-moment decision, there was probably a whole lot of discussion, planning, market research and more behind the “spontaneous” decision.
Release dates for major blockbuster movies are carefully planned, often years out. Avengers: Infinity War was initially announced during a Marvel event in October 2014 that outlined all of its Phase Three films including release dates. When you consider that Marvel Studios probably had those release dates in mind long before that public event, that means that the Infinity War release date was set nearly four years ago, and they decided to change it less than two months out via a tweet.
Whatever your feelings about Marvel and the MCU films, this is a bold move. It shows a huge amount of confidence in the film, although there’s a good chance that this move was planned months, even years ago. It may have even been the plan right from the very start to make it look like Marvel and Disney are so enthusiastic and confident in this film that they want fans to push see it even sooner than before. Of course, the record-breaking box office results of Black Panther may have also encouraged the studio to push up it up. If the trailers are to be believed, much of Infinity War will take place in Wakanda, making it a semi-sequel to Black Panther (as well as a sequel to several others). But planned or not, it’s a big deal – if not for Marvel Studios, for all the businesses connected and affected by it.
With a film this big, several theaters are probably planning major events around the opening. If it is like the last two Avengers films, there may also be TV channels planning tangentially connected programs around it (like documentaries on Marvel, for instance), all of which may need to be moved up, and maybe even have their production rushed. Toy stores planning on selling things based on the film will need to reschedule their inventory plans, and if there are any merchandise tie-ins – fast food chains are quick to hype big movies – they will need to be shifted.
The biggest losers, however, will probably be the other films that were already set for release on April 27.
Prior to the news of Infinity War being moved up, there was only one other film set for the original May 4 release date, a comedy called Izzy Gets the F**k Across Town, which initially debuted in June 2017 before spending months looking for a distributor. It is essentially an indie-comedy, and the distributors may have hoped that it would attract an audience that may be turned off by superhero spectacle. The week before that, however, there are seven films scheduled for release, including the David Tennant vehicle Bad Samaritan, Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, the Rachel McAdams romance Disobedience, the Adam Sandler and Chris Rock comedy The Week of, and more.
Obviously, none of those films have the same reach that Infinity War does. In fact, the reason they chose that date may have been because they specifically wanted to debut the week before Marvel’s film, both to have a week free of the blockbuster and to establish themselves as an alternative for theatergoers looking for something a little more low key.
Logistics aside, it probably wasn’t all that difficult for Marvel to move their film. Companies want to be in the business of Infinity War, so they are almost certainly more than willing to accommodate them. Some may even appreciate that the potential financial windfalls will come a week earlier than expected. The smaller films won’t have that luxury, so it will be interesting to see if they decide to push back their releases. They could always try to move their movies up, but as Marvel is showing, not every film can get away with that.
So for now, look for Avengers: Infinity War on April 27, 2018.