The Superhero Movie Bubble is Bursting

With the recent luke-warm release of Marvel’s “Ant-Man” and the poor reception of 20th Century Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot, CineMax and LaughingMan openly question whether or not the comic book movie bubble is (finally) bursting. Not that the two aren’t anxious to see the tongue-in-cheek appearance of Deadpool on the big screen, but in the long-running imagination ineptitude of Hollywood studios -where each studio is actively banking on select ‘sure fire’ franchises- the erosion and decay of these “XX-year franchise outlooks- could be the best thing that could happen to film-making. After all, the vicious cycle has all happened before in the past, bringing to the creative film-making forefronts legendary directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and even George Lucas.

The history of Hollywood shows a vicious circle thanks largely to studio interference: First, studio financiers over-produce films to the point where they are risking far too much money on a chance. Thus, they break out “the spreadsheets” to hedge their bets on popular trends and recognizable franchises. However, this creates a bubble of similar content that the movie-going public will quickly tire of. Seeking something new, the works of fresh, visionary film-makers become popular because of either their unique visions, storytelling abilities, or radically new and daring techniques. When studios discover these rapidly rising savants -many of them film-nerds who have a deep and profound passion and insight into film-making- they sign them on with larger budgets and fairly loose rules. Eventually, the studios will see a director’s most successful niche and request that they don’t deviate from a formula that has proven critically and monetarily successful. With budgets increasing exponentially, the studios dig themselves too deep to take a chance on a new idea, and demand more control over the films. And thus, the bubble bursts, and the cycle continues onward.

And with “Ant-Man” and “Fantastic Four”, the tell-tale signs of the bubble bursting are already apparent: “Ant-Man” director Edgar Wright was reported to have left over “creative differences” with Marvel Studios, while “Fantastic Four” director Josh Trank blames similar studio interference with the failure of his “Fantastic Four” reboot. So, how will the XX-year franchise plans of Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, and even Disney fare when directors are chained down by corporate bureaucracy, and film-goers have finally had enough of the trend?

 

Sources:

Ant-Man scores smallest Marvel debut US box office since The Incredible Hulk
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jul/20/ant-man-scores-smallest-marvel-debut-us-box-office-since-the-incredible-hulk

“Fantastic Four (2015)” RottenTomatoes.com
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/fantastic_four_2015/

Josh Trank Blames Studio Interference For Ruining ‘Fantastic Four
http://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminmoore/2015/08/07/fantastic-four-bad-reviews-josh-trank-blames-fox/

“Joss Whedon Says Edgar Wright’s ‘Ant-Man’ Script Was The Best Marvel Ever Had”
http://screenrant.com/joss-whedon-edgar-wright-ant-man-script/

Ant-Man Gets New Director, Writer, and Official Synopsis
http://www.denofgeek.us/movies/ant-man/236259/ant-man-gets-new-director-writer-and-official-synopsis

 

CineMax

A subversive excommunicated from [REDACTED] as a result of a failed coup d'etat, CineMax has miraculously managed to reach and find asylum in the Land of the Free. Here he spends his days working for Cheshire Cat Studios, all the while plotting his inevitable return to the motherland to once again foment the flames of revolution.

LaughingMan

The loveable lunatic with the foul mouth and the iconic laugh, Laughingman is the founder of CCS. With more coffee than copper in his bloodstream, he's a full-time website developer by day, and a gamer, editor, and fiction writer by night.

4 Comments on “The Superhero Movie Bubble is Bursting

  1. Two things guys: the upcoming Independence Day 2 and Point Break remake.

    Hollywood is really trying to dig deep for that moolah.

    There is a big bubble for superheroes and I think you could also say the same for zombies (on a smaller scale that TWD dominates). I think the “paranormal romance” phase that took the literary and television world by storm died down after HBO’s True Blood wrapped up.

    I think the problem with Hollywood and the publishing world is that, like you guys said, its all about trends. Someone could have written an amazing book but publishing houses only want to invest in books that can sell a lot of copies (to justify the costs of marketing among other things).

    It’s not surprising to hear: “Yeah, what you have written is awesome but I don’t think we can find an audience for it.”

    We have to look at movies by craftsmanship as well, not just money.

  2. My best guess is to sit and wait, it’s a very blurred line to see if the bubble will burst or not. There’s been a great audience for Marvel movies, and with the upcoming movies that focus on lesser known heroes and famous events in the comic book stories; it will most likely get a great reception and the future of super hero movies looks pretty promising.

    On the other hand, we’ve got disasters like Fantastic Four, and you know movies are going bad when the own director won’t take responsibility for his mistakes. And like Ant-Man, some of the staff might leave for creative differences; but when all is said and done, it’s a game of chance.

    Fantastic Four was the worst superhero movie I’ve ever seen, but not because of “creative differences”, but because of the movie itself. The designs were sluggish, the acting was laughable and the pace of the story was a complete mess. I don’t see how the fault lies on the original source. Even if the movie was about another superhero or even another subject, the movie would’ve still been bad, because the director didn’t know how to make a movie. Now, let’s take Ant-Man. It was one of the best Marvel movies I’ve seen. It had a bit more humor than action and there were a couple changes to the original source but still, the jokes were funny and even with the changes to the source material, it still made a good story that captures the essence of the original thing. Even with creative differences, Ant-Man was a cool superhero movie, and I’m excited to see what Marvel will bring us in the future. Cool, but not successful. I think the problem is how famous the superheroes are. Because when someone makes a movie about a very famous superhero movie (Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, Superman) it’s obvious cash is gonna flow in, regardless about the quality of the film, but when a movie is made about a lesser known superhero (Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, a few others) there’s not a bigger audience for them, ergo the Ant-Man movie. Good, but not successful.

    Now, here’s a point that I would’ve liked for Cinemax and Laughing Man to discuss: animated superhero movies. Most people aren’t familiar with the DC animated films, specifically the Justice League movies and a few Batman movies. They may not be the best but they’re not bad. Hell, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is one of the few films on Rotten Tomatoes with a 100% score, and there is a small profitable community for the animated hero films. My question is what would happen if these movies were taken to the big screen? (Most of these films come out on DVD without coming out on movies) How would they be received? Could they present a new prosperous road for superhero movies? (We all know DC makes good animated movies).

  3. I kind of dislike how cynical you’re approaching the Super Hero Genre. I didn’t grow up with comics. I get most of my comic book knowledge from reviews, movies, TV shows, friends, and video games. I’m really looking forward to the reviews for these up coming movies to see if they are worth watching. There are plenty of people like me who don’t have a lot of experience with these characters and an origin story would be nice. Plus if it’s well done, comic book fans will see it too.

    I understand that you’re worried about the movie makers riding on the coattails of the IP, but they would do that with any adaptation and/or squeal. Even a new IP will just be riding a wave of hype. Every movie has a chance of being awful, we just gotta let them roll the dice and hope it comes out ok. I’m really excited for the new wave of super hero movies, since the lore and variety of comics has all the tools necessary to make a great movie. I’m hoping comic book fans will be more critical of these movies and punish bad films by not going to them, but I doubt if it’ll go that smoothly.

    Over all, I think comic books are a diverse and interesting enough medium that 30 movies, 30 good movies can be adapted from them. Movies were in a really bad squealitis and lack of new IP before comic book hero genre really started to take off. These movies are a good chance to redefine these heroes. The movies already have had a positive influence on comics: Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Furry and Robert Downey, Jr’s Ironman. Antman and Loki are now more well known. Movie makers have fallen into a treasure trove of really good IP, if they make works of art or rubbish out of it is now out of our hands. I say hope for the best, prepare for the worst; and vote with your wallet ^-^

  4. Good After Hours and as for the whole Superhero movie genre, I have a sort of a love/hate relationship because at points, there are superhero films that don’t rely on trends but on good execution or direction (Guardians of the Galaxy, Man Of Steel, The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Captain America: The Winter Soldier), which I really like, while other superheroes movies tend to rely on either trends or be forced to be the same damn thing all over again (Avengers 2 if you researched the heated development history with Whedon and Disney), which pisses me off on how anyone can look over it and say “it’s no big deal, it’s probably nothing to be worries about”. The biggest problem with these movies, as of now, is the whole “I have a bigger dick than you” syndrome, which every single studio is turning their movies into big universe type franchises that will eventually crash and burn into obscurity because they want to look good on cameras or papers (Why do you think Sony gave the greenlight to the female Ghostbusters reboot?). I have nothing against sequels, reboots and remakes as long as they are good movies or bring something new to the table but is this mentality that will eventually lead to lack of confidence or trust into the filmmakers into making movies as studios are desperate to have their fingers on the production of big money makers instead of letting the filmmakers doing their jobs.

    On the subject of originality, one of the big problems when it comes to original projects is not only that studios think it won’t do as much money as existing brands but also, the attitude of the audiences towards original ideas and filmmakers fucking up their own original movies.

    Here are examples of movies with great original premises but only to be screwed over in execution:

    The Purge films: These films had a really creepy idea about an American society where crime is in an all time low and it looks like a perfect ideal Utopia but only thanks the the annual events of The Purge, which allows every night for society to legally kill anyone for their hearts content with no call for help of either the police or hospital. This idea of a film could have been the modern equivalent of A Clockwork Orange and exploring the themes of the dark human nature of bloodthirst and rage but the actual films are a facepalm of a mess with no story with twists that feel like excuses than actual twists (RICH PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES AND EVIL!), characters that are pathetic and obnoxious, direction that feels like watching a lifeless story waiting to die and was marketed as a “See it cause the guy who produced Paranormal Activity and Insidious produced this one too!!” cash grab since modern horror fans praise Jason Blum as the “messiah of horror”.

    Self/Less: The story about a rich man who’s dying of an illness but gets an offer from a man that created a machine that can translate his conscience into another fresh young body and thus, creating immortality. Another great premise with tons of potential… Only for the actual film to be about saving a generic stereotypical housewife and daughter from the evil bad guy. Yippe.

    Next is the audience’s attitude to new ideas. Whenever we hear of an original idea getting made, people get excited to see something fresh and new, right? Until you realize when the certain original film hits the screen, it gets dismissed by everyone or gets lousy cheap praise from critics because they like to go write reviews of certain high praised films on how “IT’S DERPTASTICLY AMAZING!!” in their reviews, which happened with It Follows and DOPE (the reviews were hard to stomach through reading) or when a film takes a big risk, it receives hate from people that refuse to analyze the film’s ideas and instead say it’s offensive to said gender (Sucker Punch) or throw threats over a couple of smoking scenes and try to force the MPAA to censor the film in order to “safe the kids” (Rango).

    If we want to see more original stuff, in which we will always get and see every decade, we need to cast the moronic petty “feewings” of being offended by small childish details and give kudos to filmmakers for embracing experimentation and showcasing the boundaries of how can we evolve story and characters to new and innovative ways to engage audiences cause otherwise, this never ending cycle of “we want this and we don’t want that” argument will never cease to end.

    In response to V-Tundra’s comment on the potential of animated superhero movies, it’s very unlikely that it could make big bucks despite being recognizable brands despite DC being the only one making decent animated adaptations while MARVEL needs to be kicked in the balls for wasting resources in the animation department (The MARVEL/MADHOUSE fiasco and the new hip modern MARVEL cartoons on Disney XD). Also, another problem that prevents animated superhero films into the big screen and to quote those authoritarian film critics that like to say on animation films:

    “Animation must be made for children and if you make one for adults, you will be shamed for harming the kids with your filth!”

    Gotta love those hypocritical statements.

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