Superman’s adventures have taken him between dimensions on many an occasion. But this is something altogether different. With his release dates traveling two days back in time (from June 30 to June 28), Supes will now preside over what amounts to a seven-day July Fourth weekend.
Why the change? Warner Bros. asserts, with typically Soviet defensiveness, that it had been eyeing June 28 from the very beginning. (Really? From the beginning? The beginning being… when they set that June 30 date a year ago?)
My colleague Gary Susman cites the chief threat off Supes’ port bow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which also sports enormous fan love and an excellent (if coyly underexposed) trailer.
My theory? Read all the fine print about X3’s “record” haul and you’ll start to get an idea what Warner’s after. Almost every “record” these days has some sort of asterisk after it – either it’s three-day vs. five-day, Friday vs. Saturday, Memorial Day vs. any old weekend, domestic vs. global, 1,000 screens vs. 3,000, or some combination of factors that casual observers rarely take the time to suss out. The studios trumpet their winnings, and all we hear is “big” and “record.” Execs are looking for new hurdles to clear because they want a big headline and two-page ad in Variety to settle some stockholder nerves Back East.
Don’t get me wrong – this is real money we’re talking about. July 4, which falls on a Tuesday, is the endpoint of the July Fourth holiday weekend. Ain’t nothing a studio can do about that, short of renting a time machine (something Fox tried in the mid-’80s, I believe). But who’s to say when a holiday begins? Warner figured it out: The July Fourth holiday begins when Superman Returns. So… let’s have him return a tad early and give us a bit more weekend to play with, especially with those pesky pirates hanging around…
What does this mean for us? Longer weekends. Don’t know about you, but when the studios tell me it’s a holiday, I don’t go to work. I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Constitution about that. There’s definitely something in my consitution about it.