Spider-Man vs. Thor: Web-slinger Set to Battle God of Thunder for Box Office Crown

IGN.com, 16 September 2009
By Jim Vejvoda

Talk about a Marvel Legends Showdown.

May 2011 will see 'Spider-Man 4' pitted against 'Thor' at the box office. Variety reminds us that 'Spider-Man 4''s May 6, 2011 release date is a mere two weeks before the May 20 opening of the Kenneth Branagh-directed 'Thor'.

So why is this significant? Isn't a month of two Marvel movies better than not? It may be for fans, but let's face it: Sony's 'Spidey 4' is the bigger movie that will most likely be the film to beat that summer. It is a proven commodity, a commercial sure thing. That can't be said for the Marvel-produced, Paramount-distributed 'Thor', which will surely find itself compared, fairly or not, to the box office performance of 'Spidey 4'.

Marvel has a lot riding on 'Thor', which will -- along with 'The First Avenger: Captain America' -- help set-up the 'Avengers' movie that's due out in 2012. What does it mean for 'The Avengers', or any of Marvel's long-term plans for those franchises, should either or both 'Thor' and 'Captain America' under-perform? (By the way, 'Captain America' opens a mere two months after 'Thor' on July 22.)

Disney's pending acquisition of Marvel certainly gives the latter company a financial safety net should its game plan of self-produced movies leading up to and culminating with 'The Avengers' fall short of expectations. But the question remains if there isn't more going on (studio politics-wise) behind this game of chicken between Sony and Marvel's comic book movies than is immediately apparent. Marvel obviously profits regardless of which film comes out on top that summer, but a dominant 'Spider-Man 4' in summer 2011 might make Marvel's self-produced films seem like weaker commercial prospects by comparison.

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