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TNT just became the latest network to capitalize on the popularity of superheroes. On Wednesday, the Time Warner-owned network announced that it has signed on with Marvel to be the exclusive TV carrier of the next five Marvel films that are released. In addition, the network announced that the deal will definitely include Avengers: Age of Ultron and the third installation in the Captain America franchise, with three more titles for us to mull over when they’re announced later.
It makes sense that TNT’s big announcement today included Age of Ultron. Marvel’s big Avengers sequel is expected to hit theaters on May 1, 2015. Age of Ultron is the movie that many fans are currently focused on, both because it’s the next in line and because it will bring all of the superheroes together for the second time. While Captain America 3 also has a release date, hitting theaters on May 6, 2016, I’m a little surprised it is the other title TNT and Marvel chose to shell out. Captain America is one of the more well-known and important franchises for Marvel, but everyone is pumped up about Guardians Of The Galaxy right now and if the sequel is included in the deal, you would think TNT would want to make it a focal point.
In addition to the two already announced films, TNT will offer three more movies in its lineup in the coming years. Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is also expected to premiere in 2015 and is currently rolling with a July 17, 2015 release date. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is also on the docket for July 28, 2017. A Doctor Strange movie is also in the works, and Stan Lee has made mention of a Black Panther project, as well. There could also be a wild card we don’t know about yet. Marvel has announced a few movie releases, and while the company almost certainly won’t abandon any of those dates, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them play musical chairs. With a marketing structure already in place and a history of switching release dates, it would be pretty easy to just sub out the movies down the line.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which Marvel films land up on TNT. The additional programming should fit right into TNT’s action-oriented lineup. The network already characters the explosive dramas The Last Ship and Falling Skies, and has built a lineup devoted to drama. Peppering in a few entertaining superhero flicks should only serve to strengthen the brand.
Of course, it will still be quite some time before any of the aforementioned Marvel hits end up on television. TNT’s press release notes that all of the five films are scheduled to premiere on the network roughly two years after each of the flick’s theatrical releases. By then, most huge fans of the films will have probably purchased copies. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be nice to catch the movies on cable whilst channel serving every once in a while.