Is Marvel Studios the new Pixar? That’s the debate going on in several places around the Internet.
A few months back, I expressed my concerns about Guardians of the Galaxy here in this column. I was concerned that, since the film didn’t contain any known characters, the movie would be the first release viewed as a “failure.” Could it draw the same amount as a film featuring Captain America or the Avengers?
Well, that answer was provided this past weekend, and things are coming up roses for Marvel Studios.
BOX OFFICE RECORDS
According to boxofficemojo.com, Guardians “ruled the box office this weekend with a fantastic $94.3 million. That’s easily the biggest debut ever for an August release; the previous record holder, The Bourne Ultimatum, opened to $69.3 million in 2007.”
What interested me most was that Guardians nearly earned as much as Captain America: The Winter Soldier recently did. Cap brought in roughly $95 million. The “G Team” outpaced Thor: The Dark World, which took in $85.7 million. The movie also outperformed Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, which are not produced by Marvel Studios. Only Transformers: Age of Extinction, which brought in $100 million in its first weekend, and the aforementioned Cap sequel did better in their opening weekend.
THE NEW PIXAR?
A lot of people see Marvel Studios in the same place that Pixar was a few years back. Just their name alone would draw big crowds, expecting high quality. Looks like Marvel has taken that mantle, all right!
I find it intriguing that a short time ago, some reviewers were referring to films from Marvel Studios as “Disney” movies. I don’t see that happening this time. Looking forward, I bet the “Disney” label doesn’t come back either since the film exclusively used characters from the House of Ideas.
Word of mouth can be a huge help to movies like Guardians. There was a large number of comics fans talking the film up, and it looks like that piqued the interest of other moviegoers as well. That bodes well for the future.
SO, NOW WHAT?
This couldn’t be better news for Marvel Studios and the comics. If a group of unknown characters can set records in a motion picture bearing the studio’s name, Phase 2 is likely to perform much better than previously expected. I mean, I had low expectations for Ant-Man and such, but now, we need to re-evaluate.
Of course, even Pixar “fell to earth” eventually, and now that name isn’t quite as golden as it had been. We have to expect that at some point, Marvel Studios will either release a stinker or rub reviewers the wrong way because they’re so successful. thus helping make more negative reviews. (I’ve seen that happen many times before!)
The thing for Marvel Studios to keep doing, of course, is to tell good stories with interesting characters. The moment they try to coast in any way, the reviewers will smell blood in the water and pounce. After all, nothing makes better entertainment news than the rise or fall of someone or something. As long as possible, Marvel needs to follow the standard they’ve set.
WHAT ABOUT THE COMICS?
The thing I hope happens as a result of Marvel Studios’ success is that some of this interest will spill over into the comics. If even a fraction of the people who plunked down good money to see Guardians ventures into a local comics shop and buys a few books, that’s a huge win for the industry.
I keep hearing rumors that Marvel Comics is going to align their universe with the movies sometime early next year. I can understand that happening because, after all, if a comic even remotely resembles a successful film, fans are more likely to sample the book.
However, the down side will be if the Marvel Studios brand starts to fall. The comics will decline with it if that happens.
Still, with Marvel Studios doing so well, and with Warner Bros. now committed to making films based on the DC characters, it’s a great time to be a comics fan. I’m hoping that other production companies will continue to look over today’s books and consider them as potential films as well. In my opinion, each comic is a movie proposal that even shows how the story could look on the big screen!
Since I was under the weather the past few days, I haven’t seen Guardians yet, but am hoping that will happen sometime soon.