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And just like that, Marvel Studios owns all of your release dates.
OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, though the powerhouse superhero studio did just announce (via Twitter) that it will claim a third weekend in 2018, laying its paws on May 4 – its favorite slot at the start of the summer blockbuster season. Add that to the 7 untitled movies Marvel recently mapped out through 2019, and you can tell that the momentum generated by the creative and financial successes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Avengers movies isn’t about to slow down any time soon.
So what will fill the slot? No idea. When the initial blast of dates was announced, we speculated on what titles might fill those voids, ranging from sequels that we knew were coming (the Thor 3 and Avengers 3 slots), and then filled in the longshots. This new slot could be going to another longshot, though given its PRIME location in the debut summer slot, I’m guessing it won’t be a solo, standalone Marvel movie introducing a "new" hero (like Doctor Strange, Black Panther or Ms. Marvel). It could be for The Avengers 3. That also could go to the May 3, 2019 date.
Likely, all will be cleared up on Saturday, when Marvel holds court over Hall H and lays out its Phase 3 plans as assumed.
What are these release dates? Let’s map them out again, as it’s interesting to see how Marvel has cornered the market on that opening May weekend for years to come (keeping something like Star Wars at bay):
August 1, 2014 — Guardians of the Galaxy
May 1, 2015 — The Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17, 2015 — Ant-Man
May 6, 2016 — Captain America 3
July 8, 2016 — Unconfirmed
May 5, 2017 — Unconfirmed
July 27, 2017 — Unconfirmed
November 3, 2017 — Unconfirmed
May 4, 2018 — Unconfirmed
July 6, 2018 — Unconfirmed
November 2, 2018 — Unconfirmed
May 3, 2019 — Unconfirmed
What do you think? Which movie character will Marvel slot into this ideal weekend? And does it matter? Can Marvel drop virtually anything into a slot and dominate? We will see how Guardians of the Galaxy does in a few days. And we will watch Marvel films from now until the end of time.