It’s impossible to avoid spoilers when movies are released weeks apart across the planet

The later UK releases of films like Incredibles 2 and Ant-Man and the Wasp put fans of the franchises in a very difficult position, argues Huw Fullerton – even if we could all just spend the time out in the sun instead

Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp and Holly Hunter as Elastigirl (Disney, HF)

As the UK weather gets hotter and sunnier and the average UK citizen gets accordingly pinker, I’m personally burning with something perhaps even worse than mild sun stroke – cinematic indignation.

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You see, while most of the country is looking forward to a few relaxing weeks of sun, sport (football or tennis, whatever takes your fancy) and general summeriness, I plan to spend the next month or so in a state of terrified, heightened awareness, on alert for dangers at every turn.

At any moment my inner peace could be shattered, my hopes for the future torn asunder and violated by the careless word of someone thousands of miles away from me. If I make it through intact it’ll be thanks to nothing more than dumb luck, and the mental scars may take some time to heal.

Yes, I am of course talking about the fact that a couple of superhero movies are out a few weeks later in the UK this year, and I might have the plots spoiled by Americans on Twitter.

Specifically, I’m suffering in the long wait for Incredibles 2, which is already out in the US but comes to the UK in mid-July, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, which hits most of the world in the first week of next month but won’t come out here until August.

Yes, I know – you’re playing a violin for me so small it can only be found in the Quantum realm, reminding me of all the real problems in the world and virtually slapping me round the head with a sense of perspective. A lot of you may even be ramping up to remind me that back in the day, big US blockbusters always took a few months to cross the pond (for example, the original Star Wars was shown in the UK seven months after its US debut), so this is comparatively small, Pym particle-infused potatoes.

But that era of movies was then, and this is now (and I’m just going to ignore all the other valid criticisms I listed because like Disney’s release-date planners, I don’t have to hold myself accountable to the general public). These days, most films have a fairly coordinated international release, and it’s hard enough for fans to avoid spoilers thanks to social media and (ahem) entertainment websites talking in-depth about the ins and outs of the world’s biggest movies. If it’s that tricky when the films come out at the same time, how on Earth are we all going to manage when we’re stuck in limbo for weeks on end? Even Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are on my side for this one.

Still don’t agree with me? Well, looking specifically at Ant-Man and the Wasp, cast your mind back to where the conversation around the last Marvel film, Avengers: Infinity War, had reached four weeks after its release. People were already discussing the plot on social media, endless articles explaining behind-the-scenes secrets had been uploaded and we were all openly chatting how the ending could be resolved in next year’s Avengers 4.

At that stage, sure, not everyone would have seen the film yet, but they’d have at least had the chance. As a fan I’m fairly easy-going with spoilers – if it would bother you to find out a plot point before seeing the film, I think the onus is on you to make the time to see it, not on everyone else to keep it a secret from you – but in this case, things are different. UK fans have no opportunity to see the film early, and all the chance in the world of having it carelessly spoiled by somebody who assumed that two weeks after release would be a fair point to chat about the surprise cameo from Joe Pasquale as the Molecule Man (note: this may or may not happen. I’ll let you know in August).

And yes, a Pixar film and an Ant-Man sequel might not be quite the same plot-centric, earth-shattering thrill rides as the last Avengers movie was, but there are still plenty of elements that can be ruined by exposure (I’ve already found myself swerving hard to avoid a lot of Incredibles 2 spoilers in the last week). And given that Ant-Man and the Wasp will apparently have a big Infinity War tie-in, it could be that a whole lot of UK Marvel fans will accidentally discover a tease for Avengers 4 before Marvel’s latest has even started playing at their local cinema, which seems unfair.

For now, the reasons behind both films’ later UK release dates haven’t been officially acknowledged – it’s probably the World Cup pushing the Incredibles, and the delayed Incredibles then pushing Ant-Man and the Wasp in turn – and I’m 100% sure that Disney have calculated that these PARTICULAR release dates will be the ones that gets most people into the cinemas, allowing them to collect even more cash to pour into 25 Black Panther sequels and a Star Wars spin-off about Salacious B. Crumb.

And to be honest, they might have their large mouse-eared heads screwed on right about the World Cup keeping families away from the multiplexes in the UK (especially given the latest viewing figures), or that only a minority of diehard fans would actually care about the delay or stumble upon plot spoilers.

But I still live in hope that this staggered release schedule is a one-off, a future failed experiment that’ll be discarded when a whole lot of miscreants just pirate the film instead of waiting (don’t sue me Marvel, your own actors brought it up), forcing everyone to return to the simultaneous premieres that I’ve come to know and love in modern cinemagoing. Come on Disney – you know you want to.

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Incredibles 2 will be released in the UK on the 13th July, and Ant-Man and the Wasp will be released on the 3rd August