EDITORIAL: What It Takes For A Comic Book Movie To Be Successful
I’ve always wondered about this and never have I come up with an answer. Click on and tell me if you can come up with an interesting theory...
When we debate over what success really is, I believe what we want from our beloved comic book movies are for them to achieve sequels and set themselves up as definite franchises. As much as we all on this site argue that the Box Office doesn’t really mean much, unfortunately it does. I would agree that achieving universal critical acclaim is very rewarding but it always ends up being all about personal preference.
As a regular member of this site, I tend to enjoy reading some of the editorials written by my fellow peers. A common piece which seems to get covered constantly is that of the many different opinions on how certain comic book heroes should be portrayed on the big screen. “Click to read my take of a Justice League movie”,” how Flash should be handled on screen” ever seen any of those? I don’t have any problem with their opinions nor do I find myself disagreeing with them but I do however wonder how come they possess the secret to achieving a picture perfect comic book movie.
Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear what a successful film in terms of Box Office actually is. When looking at whether or not a film is a success, you have to compare the budget of the film compared to the Domestic Box Office take. If a film’s domestic gross is less that the production cost then it would be considered a flop.
I have seen many comic book heroes adapted to film and many have failed and succeeded. Many were so good; some even a bit close to the source material (Hellboy 1 and 2, Watchmen, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, A History of Violence, etc.) and yet failed to achieve a major domestic box office hit. So how sure are we that even if done right our favorite heroes will become blockbusters?
If good writing isn’t just enough then what is? Does it take CGI or 3D or even a combination of all three for it to be enough? Action without a doubt must always be a part of super heroes, so the need to appeal to action junkies must never be too hard. But how many things does a movie production team need to blow up in order to achieve a full house?
I hate to even mention these two because there is always heat attached to them but two very successful films that share one thing (good writing), but go in different directions in other terms of production, clearly adds on to the contradiction of what makes a good comic book movie. Don’t guess too hard, I’m talking about The Dark Knight and The Avengers. One clearly shies away from the green screen as much as possible while the other is not afraid to exploit its benefits. Both are so different and yet so good. Spiderman 2 is another one which I would add to this. In comparable terms, it too has great writing and its share of green screen time but it is way cheesier than The Avengers and The Dark Knight. It even feels different from the other two but they’re all big hits.
I’m beginning to see something, there really aren’t any ingredients. It’s all just a big gamble at the end of the day. Maybe the popularity of the hero has a major thing to do with the end result? Gee don’t you think? (Pointing out the obvious to myself.) But here is when everything goes to shit; I think we can all agree that in terms of overall popularity, Spidey, Bats, everyone in the Avengers have always been more well-known than this...
So just when you think you know the secret, Sir Michael Bay (I call him sir because it really takes a certain kind of special person to really shit on our face the way he does) rewrites the rules. His films have it all, action, CGI, things blowing up, Megan Fox (hot babes) and the end results are always positive. Money wise that is; well, the end results after viewing Megan Fox is always positive too, wink wink. The writing and cast is so shitty, it still manages to surpass itself. So you must be wondering, this is all it takes then really? Nope and I’ll tell you why; Ghost Rider. It has the CGI, action, hot babes, horrible cast, bad writing and yet it doesn’t even bank Transformer numbers. This is driving me crazy! Is there even an answer?
We in cmb.com indulge ourselves as true wise fans who clearly know what it takes to make a successful comic book movie but these films all contradict our theories and they also contradict themselves. One would think good writing is the most important thing but sometimes it isn’t. We argue how the source material is enough but then come people who do more compelling things with an original concept and make the source material seem like it was written by a 3 year old and vice versa.
So how can a comic book movie become successful? I really don’t have a clue; maybe it’s all just luck. Forget good writing, CGI, 3D, babes and boobs, cast, a tragic death, things blowing up or even a big budget; in the end no one really knows. Do you?
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