Disney delayed the Marvel Studio premiere Blade from November 2023 to September 2024 after its director, Bassam Tariq, left the film two months before the scheduled start of production. The move sparked a massive pushback of all the Marvel movies scheduled to follow Blade, including Dead Pool 3, Avengers: Secret Wars and The Fantastic Four. Each film will take the premiere date of the film that was to follow it.
Marvel’s strict release schedule is meant to preserve tight storylines within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)—a shared reality in which all Marvel characters exist— so it’s no surprise that an unexpected setback in one film had an impact on others. It’s also not the first time the studio, which has been making movies within the MCU since 2008, has delayed releases. Last year, Disney, which bought Marvel in 2009, postponed five films in increments of two to five months.
Postponing six upcoming titles rather than just the first couple has to do with fear of oversaturating the market, said Jonathan Kuntz, a film historian and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Marvel must stick to Disney’s release schedule, which also includes films from Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Disney-owned 20th Century Fox. It must also consider its business and marketing partners, to whom Disney offers various guarantees regarding the amount of promotion each film will receive. For example, McDonald’s has created a commercial promote Eternals and included action figures in its Happy Meals in 2021. Disney also makes commitments to theaters regarding movie release windows, as theaters can only show a certain number of titles at a time. And Disney spends hundreds of millions of dollars marketing Marvel movies, so marketing plans are also a factor in the premiere date.
Marvel now has more time to make better movies
The frequent delays highlight greater tensions between fans and creators, as the MCU has been critical recently for losing focus and prioritizing film quantity over quality. While fans might resent having to wait any longer, the extra production time allowed by these delays might be what Marvel needs to make movies that increasingly invigorate its soundtrack. disappointed fandom.
Marvel is under pressure to help Disney’s streaming service Disney+ keep up with content from rivals like Netflix, and has produced a slate of TV shows including She-Hulk: Lawyer and Mrs. Marvel. The Star Wars franchise followed the same path, notes Kuntz. “Marvel wants every project to be important, but they’ve really lost that meaning with the streaming series,” he said.
The aggressive production schedule has also led to criticism over computer generated imaging errors in titles such as Thor: Love and thunder, Black Panther and even critically acclaimed Avengers: Endgame.
“I could be optimistic and say they’re slowing down to get it right and avoid a glut, which sounds like [Marvel] doing right now,” Kuntz said.