'Captain America 3' to Open Against 'Man of Steel' Sequel

Batman vs Captain America

We already knew Marvel had shifted into gear on a third Captain America movie, bringing back the franchise's current directing team, Joe and Anthony Russo, to work their magic on the next installment in the series. But now that Captain America: The Winter Soldier has opened to a massive two-week worldwide gross of $303 million, the studio has dropped another card on the table, dating Captain America 3 for May 6, 2016.

This would be news in and of itself even if that date hadn't already been taken by the Man of Steel sequel, which marks the first time a live-action film will pit Superman against Batman. As both a superstar blockbuster and as a reported launchpad for the Marvel-style "shared universe" its DC-derived properties will inhabit, Man of Steel 2 (or whatever it's eventually titled) has a lot of Warner Bros.' eggs in its basket -- so why would Marvel want to put a Captain America movie up against it?

As ScreenRant argues, the movies probably won't end up going head-to-head -- not just because Marvel arguably stands to lose by putting a third Cap out the same weekend as a release with as much "event movie" potential as a Batman vs. Superman matchup, but because we're talking about a date that's over two years in the future, and one kind of complication or another is all but certain to create a delay.

While the Man of Steel sequel might have more star power, Marvel still has the upper hand here, at least in terms of its track record for being a ruthlessly efficient blockbuster machine. They know how to juggle franchises and thread plot between pictures, while Warner Bros. has struggled to weave a coherent canvas around its DC properties. If anyone's going to get bumped here, it's probably Superman and Batman...but if they don't, Marvel's going to have to decide whether or not to blink. And as more and more superhero features crowd the calendar, that's going to be a choice that comes up more and more often, so it'll be interesting to see where this bit of brinksmanship leads.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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