Aquaman v. Namor

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aquamanpicon.jpgIf you remember the Strange Tale of Aquaman I told you about previously, then you are aware that Hollywood is all a twitter over the thought of making an underwater superhero movie. Well it looks like Marvel may have beat DC to the punch when it revealed yesterday it has licensed its Namor character to Universal Pictures for a feature motion picture that is still To Be Determined. Namor or Aquaman? Does it really matter?

Namor, created by Bill Everett in 1939, is the son of a human sea captain and a princess of Atlantis, and possesses super-strength and aquatic abilities. Since his debut Namor has been a very popular anti-hero in the Marvel Universe.

Aquaman, created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger in 1941, is the son of a lighthouse keeper and an outcast woman from Atlantis. Aquaman possesses super-strenth and aquatic abilities, AND has the ability to communicate and mentally control all forms of sea life. More recently, Aquaman has been portrayed as angry and righteous.

NamorAq.jpg

Namor has been around longer than Aquaman, but Aquaman does have that fish talking thing…

The big question is going to be box office appeal. Superman Returns didn’t fare so well at the box office this summer (currently just over $190 million after 40 days), but then again neither did X-Men III ($233 million after 73 days). Still both companies have done well with their other properties; DC with Batman Begins ($371 million) and Marvel with Spider-Man 2 ($783 million). Do theatre goers want to see an underwater superhero flick? Could the studios even pull it off without going over a $300 million budget? Doing underwater schtick is not easy, and even shooting dry for wet, the special effects for an underwater hero film would be through the roof. Remember James Cameron had a heck of a time with Titanic, and the $200 million budget only took place in the water toward the end.

If DC (and more importantly parent company Warner Bros.) is serious about riding the wave of recent Aquaman popularity, and thinking about doing a feature film – or even resurrecting the canned pilot, they better move fast as arch rival Marvel appears to be taking the lead. On the flip side, if fans are worried that Marvel may be taking the lead on the underwater superhero genre, they should keep things in perspective. Marvel did not announce they have anyone (writer, director, actor, and so on) attached to the film, simply they have licensed Namor to Universal Pictures.