- Disney will release “Avengers: Endgame” on April 26, 2019.
- This pushes away from the typical game plan of releasing a summer movie in the first weekend of May.
- We explain why that’s an extremely smart movie by Disney.
The long-awaited first trailer for “Avengers: Endgame” went live Friday, and fans are going crazy seeing what might be the final breaths of Tony Stark (but probably not), Hawkeye’s return as a Ronin (possibly), and a beardless Captain America.
But Marvel wasn’t through shocking us.
At the end of the trailer, Marvel revealed that the movie will open in April, not its typical first weekend in May. Disney on Friday morning followed the trailer’s release by officially announcing that the movie would open on April 26, 2019.
It’s an extremely smart move by Disney.
For decades, studios have opened big blockbusters on the first weekend in May (or tried to land releases around then). A big reason was that kids were starting to get out of school for the summer, and the conventional wisdom in Hollywood was that they would sprint right to the local multiplex. But in the last handful of years, as the summer-movie schedule has become crowded, with one event movie after another opening every weekend, the new strategy is finding a date on the calendar when your movie is the only one worth going to – and not just for the opening weekend, but multiple weekends.
It’s something movie-theater owners have been pushing for some time, trying to convince studios to spread the love and put some of their blockbusters outside of the summer and winter months.
“Strong content can play in any month,” John Fithian, the president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, the trade organization representing movie-theater owners, told Business Insider back in February when another Disney release, “Black Panther,” was breaking box-office records in a month that was considered a graveyard for years.
But the biggest reason why Disney is confident that releasing an “Avengers” movie out of the confines of the summer-release schedule can work is because it’s already successfully done it.
For “Avengers: Infinity War,” Disney had originally set the movie for release on May 4, typically the official start of the summer-movie season. But a month before the release, through a “surprise” tweet by franchise star Robert Downey Jr. asking Marvel Studios if the movie could be seen earlier, it was announced that the movie would open a week earlier on April 27.
Would the movie have done that anyway if it had opened May 4? Yes. But opening a weekend earlier is one weekend more when “Infinity War” was in theaters and the competition wasn’t.
The news of “Endgame” opening in late April puts a hole in the May 3 weekend, so don’t be surprised if a big release from another studio fills that void. And seeing how well “Infinity War” did with a surprise release change, don’t be shocked if Disney does it again with “Endgame” to feed the Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom.
Look how crazy people got about seeing the first trailer!