‘Ant-Man’ moves to July 17, 2015; ‘Superman/Batman’ shifts to 2016

Jan. 23, 2014 | 3:16 p.m.

Paul Rudd will star in Edgar Wright’s “Ant-Man.” (Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images)

“Ant-Man” has a new release date.

The Marvel film, starring Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, now will open July 17, 2015. That’s two weeks earlier than its planned July 31 release date; it moves into the date that had been reserved as the opening of Zack Snyder’s untitled “Man of Steel” sequel featuring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.

Marvel announced the change on its website Thursday.

Last week, in a surprise move, Warners pushed back its “Superman/Batman” project, which also will feature an appearance from Wonder Woman as played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, shifting the blockbuster to May 6, 2016. A release issued by the studio said the move was designed to allow “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”

The “Man of Steel” sequel goes into production later this year, and is set to film in Michigan. The project was originally announced last year at San Diego’s Comic-Con International.

“Ant-Man” is poised to become a new franchise for Marvel, with Douglas set to play the original Avengers member, a scientist who, in the comics, invents a shrinking serum that allows him to sneak around in miniature form and surprise foes. Rudd’s character, meanwhile, is a reformed thief and the second superhero to take the name Ant-Man.

It’s unclear whether either incarnation of the diminutive hero will appear in writer-director Joss Whedon’s upcoming “Avengers” sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which also is set for release in 2015. In the comics, Pym is the creator of Ultron, an automaton that becomes a supervillain.

Wright embarks on “Ant-Man” after the success of last summer’s “The World’s End,” his third film collaboration with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The trio’s Cornetto Trilogy — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “World’s End” — established Wright as an especially beloved figure among the fan community, his films fusing humor and heart within genre trappings.

Wright’s been attached to the project for some time — he  debuted “Ant-Man” test footage that showcased the helmeted hero growing and shrinking in size at Comic-Con in 2012.

What upcoming superhero film are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments section.

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex


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