The sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man has claimed May 2, 2014 for its release, officially opening the summer movie season... in three years. While it seems awfully early for Spidey to web up this release date, it was a masterful move.
Over the past few years there has been a tradition of Marvel movies opening on that first weekend of May, a tradition I may add, dating back to 2002 when a little known superhero named Spider-Man opened on May 3rd and went on to gross over $400 million in the US. The weekend has been particularly friendly, with the following results:
May 3, 2002 - Spider-Man - $404 Million
May 2, 2003 - X2: X-Men United - $215 Million
May 4, 2007 - Spider-Man - $337 Million
May 2, 2008 - Iron Man - $318 Million
May 1, 2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $180 Million
May 7, 2010 - Iron Man 2 - $312 Million
May 6, 2011 - Thor - $181+ MillionMay 4, 2012 - The Avengers -TBD
May 3, 2013 - Iron Man 3 - TBD
May 2, 2014 - The Amazing Spider-Sequel - TBD
Not a flop in the bunch owing in part the lack of opening weekend competition from big movies currently in theaters. Ever since Iron Man's huge success in 2008, Marvel Studios has been very aggressive at claiming that opening date and there is no doubt in my mind that they were planning to open 2014 as well, once they determined which movie to place there. So what does Spidey risk by claiming the date so early? That is the beautiful thing, NOTHING. Say The Amazing Spider-Man under-performs, Spidey can just delay the release. No big deal. But for now, The Web-Head has essentially ensured himself a reasonably uncrowded opening weekend.
If Marvel Studios or Warner Brothers wants back in on the game, I would say its not too early to be thinking of 2015.