Do superheroes die (at the box office)?
The latest Ant-Man grossed just $622.7 million at the box office, while North American projections for the upcoming Shazam were revised down with an estimated gross of $82 million instead of the expected $115 million. Is this the beginning of the end for the masked avengers?
Remember, it was 2008 (yes, 15 years ago): Robert Downey Jr. returned to the screens in the first Iron Man, whose windfall success launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe (UCM), or the adventures of today’s superhero plethora and their billion-dollar box office success. Worldwide. In 15 years, Kevin Feige, the boss of Marvel, has become what is called in English a “power plant”, an omnipotent kingpin who makes rain or shine, the purchase of mice by Marvel studios for a “modest” amount of 4 billion US dollars has become profitable in a few years , especially if we take into account the manna derived products of all kinds.
Within 15 years the enthusiasm was such that all the studios followed suit. Warner Bros. reanimated Batman, Christopher Nolan’s cameras give Gotham an apocalyptic vibe and bail out the studio coffers to the tune of…US$2.46 billion, a feat that has never been repeated since. Warner is trying—desperately, I must say—to find the magic formula, Superman with Henry Cavill, the Justice League, and other Wonder Women, unfortunately failing to make it into the highly prized billionaire lodge club. office (Aquaman being the only one who succeeded). Even Universal Studios – the owners of the rights to The Incredible Hulk – tried to ride the wave, remember Kick-Ass, just like Sony, which tried to turn its Spider-Man into a winning franchise, Morbius does not live up to its promises.
Marvel has taken Hollywood by storm with billions in production budgets by hiring Oscar-winning actors Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Brie Larson and more. – From award-winning directors – Kenneth Branagh, Ryan Coogler – and superhero adventures have taken a new form in the 7th art, born of existential angst after 9/11 and the transition to the new millennium. But quickly the quantity killed the quality. Marvel chained the phases by pulling everyone out of the mothballs of the “comic books” so popular after World War II. Thus, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania is UCM’s 31st film, with sequels, prequels, re-releases and TV series following each other at a pace as metronomic as it is relentless… all the way to the pandemic.
With the sudden and complete closure of theaters from 2020 to 2022, Disney has turned to its Disney+ platform and Warner to HBO Max without returning to dizzying pre-COVID numbers. So much so that Bob Iger, the former Disney boss who took over the multinational company, is talking about rethinking the current strategy. “Do we need a third or even a fourth film, or is it time to focus on other characters?” he said during the Morgan Stanley 2023 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference earlier this month. For Disney’s strongman, the path is clear: “If we look at Marvel’s trajectory over the next five years, we see a lot of new things. We’re returning to the Avengers franchise, but with a new team of Avengers.”
Even Warner cut. Batgirl – Completed and cost over $90 million – will never see the light of day, development on the next Wonder Woman is halted, shows like Pennyworth aren’t renewed, and James Gunn, the new big boss of the masked vigilantes, is currently is working on films that will tell the story of Superman’s youth. Yes, it’s time to clean up, refocus and save money. As Seth Rogen, who can’t be accused of not liking superheroes, so aptly said, “These are movies for kids. I’m going to watch one of these films, as an adult, without kids, and I’m like, “Oh, that’s just not for me.” »»
“Unfortunately, we now have two separate areas: global audiovisual entertainment and cinema,” added Seth Rogen. They still overlap from time to time, but this is becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial superiority of one of them will be used to marginalize and even minimize the existence of the other.”
Top 5 Superhero Movies
- Avengers – Endgame Phase (2019): 2.79 G$ US.
- Avengers – Infinity War (2018): US$2.04 billion
- Spider-Man – No Return (2021): US$1.92 billion
- The Avengers (2012): 1.51 G$ US
- Avengers – Age of Ultron (2015): US$1.40 billion
Top 5 at the box office in 2022
- Avatar: The Path of Water – $2.29 billion
- “Top Gun: Maverick”: 1.49 G$ US.
- Jurassic World: Domination: US$1 billion
- “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”: $955.77 million
- Minions 2: Once Upon a Time in Gru: US$939.62 million