I have a confession: Sometimes, we here
at St. Joe Live get predictions wrong.
There’s no better example of this than when we ran a cover story asking when the superhero movie bubble will burst.
Who could have guessed that a collection of world-renowned superheroes who multiple generations grew up admiring would become a license to print money for studios like Disney and Warner Brothers?
In 2007, when a CD from Paramount Pictures with a generic label “Iron Man” came across my desk at my college paper, I remember watching it with another reporter and him saying “Well that won’t be good.” While I can’t confirm it, I believe he’s eaten those words like we have with our own comic book predictions.
By the end of that movie, when Samuel L. Jackson informs Tony Stark that he’s part of a larger universe of superheroes, mainstream cinema changed.
Superhero movies consistently lead at the box office. For example, this weekend, “Avengers: Endgame,” the final chapter to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Infinity Saga,” will bring closure to this more-than-a-decade-old comic book story about superheroes fighting Thanos, a hulking intergalactic being with all the power in the world.
It will likely set box office records, besting the year’s current champion, Marvel’s “Captain Marvel.” Wow, that’s a lot of Marvel.
The movie will be a close to some superhero stories, while setting up others for future sequels. Like soap operas, the stories don’t end — they evolve with bigger, badder villains waiting in the wings.
Because of this, comic book movies dominate the conversation when people talk about mainstream film. I’m asked more about upcoming Marvel films than just about any movie released the past five years. I have friends who go to the movie theater almost exclusively for Marvel films and wait at home for anything else.
At any given point, movie theaters often are full of comic book films compared to movies in other genres (Take AMC Theater’s 59-hour Marvel marathon for an extreme example).
To combat this, other studios responded with a slew of sequels to popular movies and created cinematic universes for just about any property they could (Sony’s “Spider-Man” series, Warner Brothers’ surprisingly successful “The Conjuring” movies and spin-offs and Universal’s failed “Dark Universe,”
The fact is, there are fewer blockbusters coming out now that aren’t attached to a Marvel or DC character.
Disney and Marvel found a formula that worked, stars that fit the mold of their comic book personas and stories that were interesting enough to bring the masses to the theater. For that, they should feel proud.
For better or worse, they’ve given people what they want. Whether it’s instilling hope for a better tomorrow or cynical thoughts that original films are doomed, they’ve changed the cinematic experience.
This weekend, Marvel will do it again because, unlike we predicted, superheroes are here to stay.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live