news Moving ‘The Marvels’ to November Lets Disney Get Out of Its Own Way

Disney and Marvel have bumped back the release of “The Marvels,” the direct sequel to both “Captain Marvel” and the series “Ms. Marvel,” to November 10 after it was originally scheduled to debut in theaters in late July. As a result, they’ve moved up “Haunted Mansion” a few weeks into the open slot slot; that film was originally scheduled to debut August 11.

But don’t immediately assume that a date change of that size is a bad sign for the movie (though you can’t rule it out entirely). Post-production or VFX issues can always be a potential culprit in these delays, but Disney debuted some footage that played warmly at D23 last year, and there’s no indication that’s the case here.

Rather, the shift makes sense for both “The Marvels” and “Haunted Mansion” for a few reasons. The new corporate structure at Disney under CEO Bob Iger, one allegedly set to be more creator-focused, may be one of them.

With “The Marvels,” a July slot would have placed the film’s release a little more than two months after the release of the next MCU film on the calendar, “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.” It also would have also left a gap of a whopping 10 months between it and “Captain America: New World Order” in May 2024. That’s a long time to wait for an audience pre-disposed to getting a new MCU movies every few months.

The trade-off in terms of what other films “The Marvels” is competing against at the box office might be a wash. In July, the film would have arrived a week after both Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” In its new November slot, it’s one week removed from “Dune: Part Two” and a week ahead of Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” prequel.

That’s not exactly easier competition — arguably, it’s worse — but there’s one big upside. The summer is so jammed that finding any window to ensure IMAX screenings of “The Marvels” would have been a tough ask. It’s more open in the fall.

And Disney’s own summer slate is particularly packed already. In addition to “Guardians,” “The Marvels” would have had to follow a summer that includes Pixar’s “Elemental,” the live-action “The Little Mermaid,” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” not to mention “Haunted Mansion.” In the fall, it’s just two weeks ahead of the Thanksgiving rollout of the animated “Wish.”

Higher. Further. Faster. Together.

Check out the brand-new teaser poster for Marvel Studios’ The Marvels, coming to theaters November 10.

— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) February 17, 2023

An individual with knowledge of the changed plan adds that November has been a sweet spot for Marvel movies in recent years. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opened in that slot in 2022 and made $855 million worldwide. Others that opened in that same November window have been “Thor: Ragnarok,” ($855 million) “Doctor Strange” ($677 million), and the less financially successful “Eternals” ($402 million).

The individual adds it also makes more sense for “Haunted Mansion” to play in an earlier slot in the summer, as the film leans more heavily to a kid-centric and family crowd and would benefit from being released when school is out (and when people might also be heading to Disneyland — bonus!). Also appealing: given Disney’s current rollout of new films to Disney+, “Haunted Mansion” should hit Disney+ right around Halloween, exactly when “Hocus Pocus 2” made a killing on the service.

And there is another factor. Iger, in his recent earnings call, made several mentions of being “better at curating” Disney’s franchise content. The individual suggested to IndieWire that means a more conscious focus on how to provide bigger windows for franchise films and shows, as well as taking a holistic look at the entire slate of what comes out of Disney Entertainment.

Kevin Feige even alluded to as much — at least as it pertains to MCU series on the core Disney streaming service — during an interview with EW this week, saying “the pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will have to change so they each get a chance to shine.” That means potentially bigger gaps between shows….and fewer per year.

“The Marvels” is directed by Nia DaCosta and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in a team-up movie that Feige has compared to the original “Avengers” film. Justin Simien directs “Haunted Mansion.”