June 21--It's apparently never too early to make your movie plans for the summer -- even if it's five years away.
Hollywood studios love staking out release dates many months in advance, a tactic to ensure that they have some of the best weekends all to themselves.
But what has been an industry fixation has turned into a full-blown obsession, with a spate of companies planting release date flags as far out as 2018, even though many of the films haven't yet started production.
It's not surprising that many of the key weekends next summer already have been claimed.
The next "Spider-Man" movie arrives on May 2; another "Planet of the Apes" spinoff comes out May 23; with sequels to "21 Jump Street," "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Transformers" debuting on June 13, 20 and 27, respectively.
What's more noteworthy is that the major studios, particularly with animated movies, are looking so far out on the horizon. Twentieth Century Fox has picked dates for a third "How to Train Your Dragon" film (June 17, 2016), "Ferdinand" (April 7, 2017) and eight separate, untitled animated movies all the way through Dec. 21, 2018.
Sony has claimed weekends for another "Spider-Man' sequel on June 10, 2016, its animated "Angry Birds" movie on July 1, 2016, and yet one more "Spider-Man" movie on May 4, 2018.
Disney plans to release another Marvel title on May 5, 2017, a Pixar production on June 16, 2017, and new animated movies from its in-house animation unit and Pixar on March 9 and June 15 of 2018.
If you're unsure what movies you'd like to see in 2019, don't panic.
The studios have yet to decide their plans too -- for now.
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