All of that jiggery-pokery has become history, with Civil War going for the end of April or early May (depending on where you are – honestly, when did the UK start to get earlier release dates than the US?) and DC’s first foray into Avengers-style, multi-hero epics settling down in late March.
But who will win? It seems there are two parallel competitions to consider – which will prove to be the better film and which will prosper more greatly at the box office? Let’s consider the various factors at play:-
1. Investment in characters/franchise
Civil War is the umpteenth film in the MCU/Avengers cycle, is an Avengers film in all but name, comes off the back of an increasingly successful series of Captain America films and has a whole slew of characters that we know about and can be relied on to be invested in and drawn to: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Colonel Rhodes, Bucky Barnes, Ant-Man and the return of everyone’s favourite webslinger.
Although it runs the risk of being overloaded in a way that proved to get the better of Joss Whedon in Age of Ultron, there is clearly someone for everyone there and legitimate/justified confidence from Marvel that the repeatedly high yields at the box office mean that we can be expected to return for this film too.
Although Batman vs Superman is far from a risky proposition, there is clearly less of an established series of films to build up audience investment.
Man of Steel is really the only film that has led up to this, since Batman/Bruce Wayne is not only recast from Nolan’s trilogy, but clearly also a reformulated character with a backstory that will need to be established rather than being able to be drawn from previous DC films.
Wonder Woman has plenty of “brand awareness” and the recent trailer certainly did a superb job of introducing her, but considering the time and patience that MCU showed in building even its secondary characters before unleashing The Avengers, DC are definitely in the uneviable position of having to put more trust than they would like to in the willingness of the public to seek out something less clearly established in their affections.