“When does the new Avengers come out in Japan?”
It’s a question comic book movie fans living here dread asking, especially as the answer is often weeks if not months after the US release.
Fortunately, that gap has narrowed over the last decade as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has picked up steam in Japan. For some tentpole franchises, Japanese fans even get to see their favorite superheroes a few days before their Western counterparts.
Here are the anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe releases in 2018:
Black Panther – March 1st (US: February 16th)
Japanese fans will only have to wait two weeks after the global release to see Chadwick Boseman take top billing as T’Challa, the leader of Wakanda and the enigmatic Black Panther.
While ‘new’ titles usually see gaps of several weeks between US and Japanese releases, Marvel clearly want to make sure that fans are up to date in time for…
Avengers: Infinity War – April 27th (US: May 4th)
That’s right, we get to see the big Marvel release of the year a full week before the US! So does most of the rest of the world, for that matter.
After some initial slip-ups in promoting the first Avengers movie with the much-debated catchphrase 日本よ、これが映画だ (‘Hey Japan, this is a movie!’), the franchise has picked up full steam, with even the lesser-known Guardians of the Galaxy finding a receptive audience.
Will Japanese audiences be able to keep track of dozens of characters without an insanely complicated chart? And will Stan Lee manage a better cameo than his Thor: Ragnarok appearance?
Ant-Man and the Wasp – ??? (US: July 6th)
Ant-Man is still a (groan) small player in the MCU canon, and it’s not surprising that the first movie opened in Japan on September 19th, 2015, just two months after the US wide release on July 17th.
While supporting roles in Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War will give Paul Rudd’s character some more exposure, it might not be enough for Marvel to push up a date for this film, will take place between those two tentpoles in the increasingly delicate MCU timeline.