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Release Date Discussion

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This is a huge but underrated aspect of a films release strategy and one that Disney has an absolute monopoly on in 2019. Historically, certain weeks have faired quite well while others have struggled mightily. 


Mid March, 1st weekend of May,  Memorial day, July 4th, mid/late July, mid December are the prime real estate. Pretty amazing Disney secured Captain Marvel, End Game, Aladdin, Spider-man, The Lion King, and Star Wars on each date all in 1 year. It puts their competitors at a tremendous disadvantage where they will almost constantly be playing second fiddle.


The 'Isolation' factor in which a potential blockbuster opens in a dead market seems to be one of the key ingredient for the massive performance of recent breakouts like IT and Black Panther.  In todays market, opening after only 1 or 2 slow weekends seems to qualify as an isolated opening. 


Warner Brothers is likely Disneys biggest competitor and their vastly inferior release strategy is no about a key reason for their 2019 struggles. Having been scared off by the key dates, their big films have all been forced to open shortly after a rival tentpole has stolen all the buzz. Shazam was lost in the mix of hype between Captain Marvel and End Game, Pikachu was lost in the End Game explosion, and now Godzilla has fallen victim to the much better than expected Aladdin word of mouth. Any remote success now hinges as on IT 2 and Joker as the rest of their slate looks terrible. 2019 will likely go down as one of the worst years in Warner Brothers history.


Looking forward, Disney has tried to continue its stranglehold on the release schedule by scheduling untitled Marvel, Star Wars, and Avatar films years in advance. Some studio is going to have to go head to head with them if they want to avoid playing second fiddle. 


Most obvious opportunity seems to be next summer where Untitled Marvel Movie is slated to lead off the summer on May 1st, largely expected to be Black Widow. WB would be insane to not bump Wonder Woman 1984 up to either this weekend or the preceding weekend of April 24th. 






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14 minutes ago, excel1 said:


Most obvious opportunity seems to be next summer where Untitled Marvel Movie is slated to lead off the summer on May 1st, largely expected to be Black Widow. WB would be insane to not bump Wonder Woman 1984 up to either this weekend or the preceding weekend of April 24th. 






It's too late now.

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Spider-man is Sony...so Disney did give up one date:)...


And mid-November to Thanksgiving, early to mid June, and September-early October can be prime real estate for the right films...the Grinch rolled to a killer 4.0X legs off a very good $67M OW last year...Wonder Woman rolled to a similar 4.0x leg off a $103M weekend...etc, etc...


There aren't that many horrible release dates - last week Aug-Labor Day...1st week of Jan til MIK weekend...late Oct to early Nov...maybe some late February dates before Spring breaks start...and even then, the right film at the right time will sky even on those weekends...I mean, people used to say the last weekend of April, after all potential spring breaks were over, sucked...and then Avengers took it 2 years in a row...

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Wonder Woman is fine where it is currently slated. It had great success in the same spot in 2017 and there doesn’t appear to be much that would block it from achieving success on par with 2017 in 2020.  


Why should WB bump it up to April 24th, when Black Widow is probably coming out the following week? Makes zero sense! Let Marvel have that slot. They’ve had success with it and Black Widow or whatever untitled Marvel project would have room to breathe before WW84.

Edited by Ms Lady Hawk
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Setting dates way in advance is hardly unique to Disney, it's a common thing among most studios.


In general, studios often don't quite seem to have grasped yet that staying clear of competition is much better than picking a good date that is surrounded by competition. If you offer a great movie that people want to see, it doesn't really matter that hardly anything big opened in that spot before. But if you only offer second rate stuff or not even that, you don't have to wonder why no one is going to see your movie.


I doubt that It would have been quite as large if it hadn't been for August being completely dead. The whole month didn't see any big release, only low to mid budget movies. That simply mustn't happen, regardless of whether one movie moved away relatively late. The month looked dead way in advance, and it should have been obvious to everyone.


But then again, this is hardly unique to the US. Studios seem to be even more unaware when it comes to foreign markets. You would think that they would hire some people who have at least a remote idea how a market works. Instead they ignore the best season of a market, let a ton of releases bunch up on a small number of dates, have similar movies release way too close to each other, or don't even release movies that are tailor-made for a market just because they have failed elsewhere.

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