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Thursday, January 12, 2023 

Superhero influence slipping away at the box office

In this article on Yahoo, originally from The Wrap, we're told the superhero genre's begun to wane at the box office, though predictably, they won't give any meatier ideas as to why:
For the first time in years, DC and Marvel superhero movies failed to dominate the annual theatrical marketplace in 2022 as comic book flicks were overshadowed by big-budget franchises like “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion,” which rose to the top of the box office heap instead.

With $1.5 billion for “Avatar” and $1.49 billion for “Top Gun,” these sequels finally broke the chokehold that superheroes have held on the global box office since 2017, the last time that blockbuster movies unrelated to DC Studios or Marvel led the movie pipeline.

Meanwhile, 2023 brings a slew of big franchise titles, including “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “Fast X” and “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” which rank among the most anticipated despite featuring not a single caped crusader.

Are audiences finally tired of superhero stories? Some Hollywood insiders say Yes. “You’re used to maybe one or two Marvel movies a year alongside one DC movie,” said a top movie studio executive who declined to be named. “Now you’re going to see so many per year that they are losing some of their luster, especially when factoring streaming shows [like ‘The Peacemaker’ and ‘Moon Knight'”].
I'm not used to any. Or maybe it'd be better to say I'm just not interested. Not mentioned in the article, of course, is whether wokeness contributed to the decline of superhero-themed movies, and Thor 4 certainly did nothing to improve the sad situation the Marvel movie adaptations are now in. But even movies based on the products of smaller publishers aren't faring well:
Hollywood is realizing that comic book films not related to Marvel or DC are no safer than non-comic book franchise films. The likes of Vin Diesel’s “Bloodshot” or Daniel Craig’s “Cowboys and Aliens” bear that out. Ditto the streaming era, where Amazon’s “The Boys” is a smash but Netflix’s “Jupiter’s Legacy” was a costly single-season flop. Hollywood has no choice but to seek out other avenues — like video games — for theatrical franchise filmmaking.
If memory serves, then in all fairness, Diesel's adaptation of a Valiant comic was released around the time the Corona pandemic began, so it's failure's not entirely the fault of the screenplay. But, there's reasons why even independent-owned creations aren't bound to fare much better, and that's likely because the Big Two's products could affect their reputations by extension.

And why do they suggest video games as a wellspring? I wouldn't bet on video games making the best alternative, considering the live action 1993 Super Mario Brothers movie, along with several other adaptations since the early 90s, were failures. What Hollywood really needs to do is put some new emphasis on the dramas Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola were famous for in past decades. Yet all they care about now is soulless action blockbusters that don't give much to think about at all, nor do they have much story merit in the first place.
Robbins wondered if, with “Avengers: Endgame” providing a jumping-off point for some audiences, Marvel has become/may become closer to a “for fans only” franchise — with a huge commercial ceiling — akin to “The Twilight Saga,” the later “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” sequels.

“Does it become like those other YA franchises,” asked Robbins, “or could it pull a ‘Star Wars’ and still have major historic peaks with the most ‘event’ of its event-level films [like “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty]? Time, and Phase 5, should give us more insight on that.”
Well at least they had the audacity to bring up Star Wars, since that too has been riddled with wokeness in the last 3 installments. But sadly, they don't acknowledge PC affected those recent sequels. Curious they seem to allude to the Young Adult genre, because that's another industry that's been flooded with PC wokeness for many years, and doesn't make the best source to draw inspiration from either.
What we may see in 2023 is not the downfall of the comic book superhero movie at the box office, but a leveling of the playing field where there’s room for more than one kind of tentpole to thrive. That’s a world where Disney can succeed with “The Marvels” and “The Little Mermaid,” where Warner Bros. Discovery can find fortune and glory with “The Flash” and “Barbie.”

“What’s most important is a diversity of choice at the box office,” stated Colligan. “Audiences want choice and will always respond to a broad offering of well-made, epically told stories. That’s the recipe for a healthy film business.”
Wow, you don't say. That's exactly what fanbases have argued, yet nobody wants to thank them for telling it in their own words. But what ruins this whole observation is when they sugarcoat Disney, despite all the social justice propaganda they've turned out of recent that's resulted in financial losses, and the new Flash movie based on its star, Ezra Miller, whose deeds alone should be reason enough to stay home and not see it. If any non-superhero movies come along that're just as woke as the superhero movies themselves have become, nobody's going to care in the long run. Their disinterest in admitting what's gone wrong in entertainment was, sadly, expected.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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