How Will The Success Of MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS Impact Future Comic Book Movies?
Now that Marvel’s The Avengers is smashing records at the box office, just how much of an impact will this have on future of Marvel Studios, The Avengers 2, Joss Whedon’s career and even the chances of a Justice League film? Here’s my take.
As I write this, it has just been announced that Marvel’s The Avengers has made a record breaking $207 million at the North American box office. By the time you actually read this, the superhero ensemble will have more than likely broken even more records and be closer than ever to a spot on the top ten list of highest grossing films ever. Of course, while it may hold the honour of having the highest opening in the US, this is by no means the first comic book movie to have made an impact at the box office. The Dark Knight hit the $1 billion mark and it’s hard to imagine The Dark Knight Rises not doing the same (whether or not it will be able to compete with the success of The Avengers is an argument for another day). So, how does this box office success impact the future of the genre and movies as a whole?
Each of the past Marvel Studios films was a success. Admittedly nowhere near the level of The Avengers, but as blockbusters go, they all performed well enough to guarantee sequels (well, apart from The Incredible Hulk perhaps). What the success of the film that puts them all in one movie guarantees is that we can expect to see their individual box office grosses rocket in future. While this is usually the case for sequels, The Avengers will have introduced these characters to a huge audience who may not have even seen their individual adventures. This success may also mean that Disney and Marvel Studios are willing to take bigger risks with the adaptations they have planned. If they can make hits out of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, then they can surely do the same for Ant-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and the many other characters they hold the rights to (especially if they continue with the concept of a shared universe and use each of these films to build up to the now inevitable sequel to The Avengers). A solo movie for the Hulk now also seems likely.
The fact that The Avengers is a box office hit also means that writer and director Joss Whedon will now be one of THE most in-demand talents in Hollywood. All those scripts and ideas that he’s sure to have been working on over the years are now all the more likely to get the green light. While shows like Firefly and Dollhouse were treated appallingly by TV networks such as Fox, anything Whedon wants to work on now comes with a bigger fan base than ever before and, “From the writer and director of The Avengers” will have no trouble in bringing in ratings. Of course, while this is good news for Whedonites, it may be bad news for those hoping that he’ll return to helm the sequel. For all intents and purposes, Whedon has made the film he wanted. Loved by fans and critics alike, does he really need to return for the sequel now that he has his pick of projects? With any luck, yes. However, only time will tell…
Possibly the biggest change we might see won’t even be from anyone remotely associated with the The Avengers. After all, if you don’t think that the studio execs over at Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are sitting back and keeping a close eye on these massive box office figures, think again. Marvel Studios has shown them not only that a shared universe works, but putting all of those superheroes into one film also works. To regular moviegoers, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are far more recognisable than Captain America, Iron Man and Thor were before their respective solo films. Releasing a Justice League movie (with the right cast and creative talents) would undoubtedly be a guaranteed success, and while the recognisable characters don’t necessarily guarantee as big a box office success as The Avengers, there’s no getting around the fact that it has would still have the potential to be another hit. Considering that the Marvel Studios film is on course to gross more than all of their solo movies combined, there’s surely no way that Warner Bros. won’t take note and start work on their own superhero ensemble.
Regardless of which of these potential changes come to fruition, it’s hard to imagine that The Avengers won’t have some sort of influence on Hollywood in the long run. Hopefully it will teach the studios that produce mediocre blockbusters like Battleship, Green Lantern and John Carter that there needs to be more to a film than special effects (although the Transformers franchise still manages to get by somehow). Joss Whedon’s screenplay has no doubt played the biggest role in its high scores with critics (can you remember a film like this which so perfectly blends humour, action and special effects?) and is a clear message that a film’s success relies on more than just CGI. Either way, there can be no doubting the fact that The Avengers will have a positive effect on all of Marvel’s future movies and may just be the kick in the backside that an entirely different studio needs to get their own superhero team movie off the ground. Perhaps most important though is the fact that it finally tells Hollywood what us “fanboys” have known for years. Joss Whedon is a force to be reckoned with and one of THE most talented writers/directors out there. ‘Nuff said.
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