This past week was a weird one for Marvel and Disney.

First up was the relocating of the movies and TV away from the Marvel Comics area. This was followed by changes to their “creative committee.” All these were attempts to make things more lucrative when it comes to big-screen and little-screen productions.

Word (maybe rumor?) has been slowly coming out online about just why these changes were made.


Marvel, DC, Civil War, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Marvel Studios, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Ultron, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, DCYou, New 52, Inside Out, DisneyA lot of people are pointing to the less-than-anticipated income from Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron film. It took in $1.4 billion.

Now, to most entertainment companies, that would be a colossal success! Not many films these days take in over a billion dollars. Hey, most would be thrilled to bring in half that amount!

However, one has to understand how important expectations are, especially when it comes to movies.

There were a LOT of people in the business who thought Ultron was going to be the highest-earning film of all time, passing out even Avatar. After all, Marvel Studios was the “golden child” of movie-makers who “can’t fail,” as was highlighted during a skit on Saturday Night Live. (Oddly enough, I couldn’t find that video online anymore! Hmmm… .)

While that may have been just a joke, it also apparently reflected the expectations of some higher-ups at Disney, the company that owns Marvel Studios (and the rest of Marvel, of course).

If you think your film is going to rake in multiple billions of dollars (maybe even a trillion?) and it only brings in one measly billion, well, that’s certainly disappointing!

Remember that Ultron is the last Avengers film with the main Marvel heroes in it. After this, second- or third-string folks (Vision, Falcon, Scarlet Witch) will be replacing Thor and Iron Man. (Even Captain America may not be there!) That’s got to end up bringing in fewer dollars when the next wave of Marvel movies begin! And this summer’s Ant-Man ended up being no Guardians of the Galaxy from last summer in terms of income either!

By this reasoning, the high point of the Marvel movies may have been reached, and the downward spiral underway.

Then, too, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. saw significant ratings drops in both its first and second seasons on ABC. Could this upcoming season be the last on ABC? Only time and ratings will tell!


As far as Marvel Comics goes, this couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

Marvel’s just about to unveil its long line of new number one’s and number two’s. I’m sure they’re hoping for a New 52-like fan response, with people in long lines anxious to buy, bag and board these books as they hit the local stores. (Even DC didn’t receive that kind of support with their DCYou event, as I pointed out last week.)

If word circulates among fans that things are taking a downturn when it comes to the Marvel characters, that could seriously bite into profits on the “new” Marvel universe. We’ll see.


Marvel, DC, Civil War, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Marvel Studios, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Ultron, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, DCYou, New 52, Inside Out, DisneyAs much as some might want Marvel to start losing ground, I seriously doubt any kind of “crash and burn” is at all likely. After all, as one comics store owner told me, “fans think Marvel is cool. DC just isn’t cool.” It would take years to change that kind of mindset.

Still, we could see a decline of lesser degree AFTER the number one’s hit the stands. Collectors aren’t nearly as excited by number two’s, after all! These days, I wonder what issue numbering the largest issue number a Marvel comic will reach! Maybe number 25, 30 before a renumbered number one hits the stands?

I was intrigued to read that filmmaker Stephen Spielberg chose this time to voice his opinion that the superhero movie will “go the way of the Western.” Was he looking at these recent stories about Marvel when he came to that opinion?

After all, the recent Fantastic Four movie has Fox executives scratching their heads as to what to do next. Give the franchise back to the now-declining Marvel Studios? Try again with a new reboot? Hey, it’s enough to make the Thing wear pants again!

I like to point out to people that many “rising star” movie studios aren’t what they used to be. I think of Pixar, for example, who were hot as molten lava for a long time … at least, until they started releasing what I consider lesser films. Then they weren’t as popular, finding themselves down in the pack like everyone else. (I still like their product, though! Inside Out was both fun AND thoughtful!)

And things can turn around pretty easily in comics as well as movies. If Captain America: Civil War hits the ground running, we could see all this momentum quickly turn around. I wouldn’t count Marvel out in any way! All we can do is support the quality material we like as much as we can!

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About Author

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.


  1. “Remember that Ultron is the last Avengers film with the main Marvel heroes in it.”

    I don’t think that’s ever been confirmed. As far as I know, there have been no definitive casting announcements for either part of Infinity War.

    • Well, Jimmy, everything I’ve read says that those actors’ contracts end with their third films. I’ve seen one making noises about wanting to stay on, but not from the rest. We’ll see!

  2. I hope this isn’t the decline & I’ll continue to support both DC & Marvel at the box office & comic shop. The Civil War movie sounds promising & the Batman v Superman looks incredible.

    I would really like to see Speilberg direct a super hero movie. Love his style & he could do something we haven’t seen before.

  3. I feel like the only reason Age of Ultron didn’t do better was that they stripped it down to a size more likely to work for the movie theaters. There are very clear points in the movie where suddenly the plot jumps and you find yourself wondering “was something else there more in line with the previous pacing?” It was so blatant that people had no problem jumping on the idea that there’s an extended cut just waiting for the blu-ray release, but supposedly it doesn’t exist. That just boggles my mind. If they really thought the pacing was good with what they put out, I feel like they deserve the lower sales, because it just wasn’t an A film like the original was, more of a B+. I feel like Captain America: The Winder Soldier was a better film overall.

    As for the comics, I just got back into reading them thanks to Ms. Marvel and some of the other Marvel NOW titles. I’ve started picking up X-Men collections and reading on Marvel Unlimited to try to catch up on what I’ve missed since the end of the 90s, so I’ve got plenty to work through and I’ll likely be picking up a number of the post-Secret Wars titles as well to keep current.

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