A Challenger Approaches

A war is being waged at the box office. Ceremonial shots have been fired, but the battle won't start until 2016. I'm talking about DC vs. Marvel. There's two kinds of people in this world: Pepsi vs. Coke, toilet paper up vs. down, cats vs. dogs. People who hate Nickelback vs No one. Personally? I'm more of a Marvel guy, but that's simply because they come out with better (and way more) movies than DC. I am not a comic book guy, but I have read extensively about the comic book backgrounds for most of Marvel and DC. I just think Marvel has a more interesting line up of characters.

That's not to say DC can't best Marvel at the box office or critically (Nolan's Batman trilogy is the pinnacle of thoughtful superhero movies). Clearly Batman trumps almost every other superhero. And there's Superman, whom I'm not particularly fond of, but he probably has the second biggest following behind Batman. And, ironically, DC has way better TV properties than Marvel - Arrow and Smallville have been rousing successes and Gotham and The Flash are earning deserved praise already.

So it's interesting to hear with today's news about DC's once-secret movie lineup is now all laid out to bare for anyone with an internet connection. DC is not just planning one movie per year, but two. They're going full blitz against Marvel:
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Wonder Woman (2017)
  • Justice League, Part One (2017)
  • The Flash (2018)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam (2019)
  • Justice League, Part Two (2019)
  • Cyborg (2020)
  • Green Lantern (2020)
As a comic book/superhero movie fan, this is win-win. DC has got to bring their A-game. Not only has Marvel turned their C- and D-list cast of characters into box office champs, they've earned praise from critics and movie-goers. So DC can't afford to have more than one misstep in this lineup - past success breeds much bigger success and well-loved movies earn the devotion of fans that will turn out in droves to see a movie about a talking tree and racoon in space.

Meanwhile, Marvel is rolling. Despite not owning the movie rights to their biggest franchies (Spider-Man and X-Men), they've done quite well. With Guardians of the Galaxy they've proved that if they make a quality movie, it will be successful despite not having a big name star, director or characters. The first big battle is a ways off: Batman & Superman Vs Captain America and Iron Man. Marvel just announced the inclusion of Robert Downey, Jr. in the next Captain America. And you couldn't get a better matchup, because not only do both movies feature the heavy hitters of their roster, both main characters are going after each other and these movies will be springboards into a much bigger and involved story that covers multiple movies.

On one hand you have Captain America 3 starting the Civil War storyline, which pits Steve Rogers against Tony Stark in a battle for civil liberties as it pertains to superheros. On the other hand, it's Superman's government sell-out vs Batman's grizzled distaste for said government and corruption. It's quite interesting that there are so many similarities between these two plots. Batman Vs Superman was coming out the same weekend as Captain America and I think that would have been fantastic. It would have been epic and so meta. But instead, DC wimped out and decided to move their BIG TIME SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE FRANCHISE MAKER to March.

I mean, March is great, and there's evidence that people will go see a big-time movie (Hunger Games, Alice in Wonderland), but c'mon - these movies are made for summer. But before the announcement of RDJ in Captain 3, it was easily going to get dwarfed at the box office by BvS regardless of when it comes out. But now, I'm not so sure. I think the way Marvel has created a loyal fanbase and their marketing team has been nothing but perfect lately and if they sell Captain 3 the right way (as the start of something HUGE and as big of a deal as Batman battling Superman), there is a chance Marvel comes out on top for the year.

As for the next 6 or so years? Marvel's lineup is somewhat of a mystery:

  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America 3 (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Possible Thor 3? (2017)
  • Guardians of The Galaxy 2 (2017)
  • Untitled Marvel Film (2017)
  • Possible Avengers 3? (2018)
  • Untitled Marvel Film (2018)
  • Untitled Marvel Film (2018)
  • Untitled Marvel Film (2019)
There's lots of untitleds up there. I think it's interesting that Marvel has kept most of the next 6 years a mystery versus DC's openly honest press release. Marvel certainly know what's going on and ultra-producer and master planner Kevin Feige has said they have things planned out until 2021 - which would include four phases of their Cinematic Universe (Age of Ultron will conclude phase 2). I don't know which approach is better - it's fun to speculate what Marvel will be offering up in later years, but it's nice to know what direction DC is taking by seeing all their movies lined up like that.

And this is the new trend in Hollywood. Sony has plans for their own universe with the Spider-Man franchise with the Sinister Six movie, a female driven Spider-Man movie and Spider-Man 3. Fox is looking to continue their success with X-Men by doing X-Men Apocalypse and another Wolverine movie. Don't be surprised if the Fantastic Four reboot shares the same universe along with the announced Deadpool movie. And then you have Star Wars doing the same thing with another trilogy and spinoff movies in between each trilogy movie. We won't be too far away from Pixar or Disney animated films sharing the same universe or Nicholas Sparks' adaptations becoming franchised. Nothing is too crazy and this idea of expanded content may not be a new idea, but it's certainly becoming a profitable enterprise.

And I could not be more excited!

1 comment:

Matt said...

I've been disgusted with the X-Men movies. The continuity has been beaten to hell. I've been hoping that the X-men franchise and the spiderman franchise will just collapse so that Disney can gain the rights and integrate them properly into the larger marvel universe. And I'm not sure what to say that Deadpool will be making an appearance with F4 and Spidey. Seems wrong for a character so heavily associcated with the x-men.