In recent years, observers of the movie industry have been worrying out loud about “superhero fatigue.” In other words, will movie-goers get tired of seeing movies with comic-book superheroes in them?
I think this might better be turned into “comics-related movie fatigue.” Will people who go to the theater wear out when it comes to comics turned into big-screen films in 2014? That’s why I like to think of this column as: “Comics-Related Movie Fatigue: The 2014 Edition.”
WHERE WE’VE BEEN SO FAR
The first comic-related motion picture of 2014 was Robocop, which does have a lot of strong connections to the comics. It has taken in $57.4 million so far since its release on 2/7.
However, another film released on that date performed much better, The LEGO movie. It wasn’t a comics-related movie per se, but it did feature a lot of DC Comics characters in it. It’s earned $250.6 million to date, and right now is the top-grossing movie of the year, according to boxofficemojo.com.
On March 7, 300: Rise of an Empire was released in theaters. It has taken in $104 million so far, placing fourth overall to date. Look for that to change very soon.
That will change because, of course, this past weekend, Captain America: The Winter Soldier arrived, breaking opening-weekend records for an April release. It took in an estimated $95 million over the weekend and should enter the top three films of 2014 in, say, a week or so.
With Captain America standing on the shoulders of the other Marvel Studios films, they’ve developed quite the reputation when it comes to movies.
WHERE WE’RE GOING
Here’s the list of the comics-related movies we’ll see the rest of the summer: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (May 16), X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23), Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27), Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22). If I missed any, apologies, but that’s all I could find!
Three of them are Marvel-based if not from Marvel Studios itself. I talked at length about Guardians last week, and if the trailer I saw is accurate, we’ll see a lot of humor in it that will drive a lot of “serious” sci-fi fans away, so they’ll need every Marvel Studios fan to hit the theaters that weekend. People behind us when my brother and I caught Cap this weekend said when the Guardians trailer ran, “They’ve got a RACCOON in that movie? How stupid is that!” I doubt she’ll be going to see it and, based on the other disconcerted mumbling in the audience, I remain concerned.
The TMNT and Transformers have built-in fandoms mostly ready to plunk down their cash, so I’m not really worried about them. I am more concerned about Frank Miller’s Sin City sequel because, honestly, The Spirit stank up the joint years ago and did exceedingly poorly in the box office.
From the beginning of 2014 to the end of August, we’ll have had at least nine movies related to comics or properties that have done well in comics.
Is that going to be too much?
Some reviewers are already calling comics-related movies a “fad,” and that this will fade away very soon. I don’t know. Romantic comedies and action flicks come out pretty much on a weekly basis, and they’ve yet to disappear. We could be seeing the birth of a new genre!
I DO HAVE SOME SUGGESTIONS, NATURALLY!
There needs to be more coordination between local comics stores and local movie theaters. If they could cross-pollinate by having movie tickets sold at stores and comics made available in the theaters, I think both would seriously benefit.
As fans of comics-related movies, I think we’re going to have to turn out in big numbers for every film of this type moving forward. As I said previously, I don’t think that’s a problem for those who enjoy Marvel Studios’ motion pictures, but the rest might need some help. As one reviewer told me, it only takes ONE bad fad film to cause the industry to abandon that kind of movie.
When I saw Cap this weekend, I noticed that there was an ad for ABC’s show, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there promoting that this week’s episode would deal with the repercussions of the film. I had to wonder, why where there no ads for the comics? Do owners of movie theaters think advertising comics would turn away moviegoers? If so, why? People are paying money to watch a film based on a comics character, so why would ads for local comics shops bother them? I just don’t get that one!
Speaking of which, I did enjoy Cap but, as much as I love action sequences, the occasional orgies of car crashing felt way too long. I think Ed Brubaker should have received a writing credit as well since I saw a lot of the comics he wrote translated into the movie. It was very good, and I’m likely nitpicking here since a lot of people still gasped when the identity of the Winter Soldier was revealed. To me, that showed that a lot of moviegoers either hadn’t read the comics or had forgotten that. Still, if I was a local comics shop, I would have had people handing out free comics with my store’s name, address and phone number on them to those in attendance so they could know they can get more Cap if they want it!
Speaking of which, you can listen to my interview with Steve Pugh, the artist on Marvel’s All-New Invaders (featuring Cap, naturally) in my latest Wayne’s Comics podcast at this link!