Warner Bros. Explains Batman v Superman’s New Release Date

Earlier this week, Warner Bros. announced that the release date for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was moving far, far away from Marvel Studios’ Captain America 3. Both films were originally scheduled to premiere on May 6, 2016, but months after the original announcement was made, Warner Bros. backed off, and pushed Batman v Superman forward to March 25, 2016 instead.

Related: Is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice a Real Movie?

So what the heck happened? EW asked to Warner Bros’ president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman, and he explained that they thought Marvel Studios was… bluffing?

“In terms of going back and reviewing the situation, it looked to us—and maybe our reconnaissance wasn’t great—that they were not going to have a movie [ready] on that date, Fellman says. “Just that they held onto it and they might not be able to deliver. But they took another position.”

Although Dan Fellman’s comment makes us wonder who exactly their spies were, it isn’t the only reason for the release date switcheroo. It also makes good business sense after a summer movie season that’s been pretty disappointing, financially, for practically everyone in Hollywood.

“The reality now is there really isn’t a bad week to open a movie, says Fellman. “If you look at the summer box office this year, you can see that there were so many movies, one after the other. You can start with Spider-Man, two weeks later Godzilla, and then Maleficent, and then Edge of Tomorrow, and then Jump Street and Transformers. And the one thing they all had in common, not one of them did over $250 million. We’ll be the first one up [in 2016], which is very important, and we’ll have six weeks before Captain America comes in.”

Dan Fellman’s numbers are accurate, at least for now. None of the summer’s blockbusters cracked $250 million domestically (although many did exceptionally well overseas). Transformers: Age of Extinction is almost there as of this writing, with a $242 million domestic gross, and could crack that ceiling before the end of its theatrical run, but right now the only two films to make more than $250 million at the domestic box office in 2014 are The LEGO Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Films that were released in February and April, respectively, to critical acclaim and without much competition.

Is summer just not what it used to be? Have studios gone overboard, releasing so many so-called blockbusters in such a short span of time that there’s simply no room for any of them to make money? It’s a valid consideration, and with the biggest movies of the year now opening at any ol’ time, it may signal a major shift in the seasonal nature of film distribution. We’ll keep an eye on that for you at CraveOnline.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.