Today, I read an analyst report written by Vasily Karasyov of Susquehanna Financial Group titled “The Death of Superheroes”.
Salacious title? Certainly.
A title that would get the attention of every media executive around the world? Absolutely.
A title that’s total bullshit? Definitely.
According to this report, over the past ten years movie studios have plucked 16 superheroes (or super groups) from the obscurity of the basements of geeks and put them smack dab in the global spotlight for everyone to see.
Some have been really good, made lots of money and spawned sequels, rebirths and regurgitations (e.g., “Spider-Man”, “Batman”, “Iron Man”, “X-Men”).
Others were shit and lost a lot of money (basically the rest of them).
For the most part, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Good = success. Bad = no success.
Over that same time, about 2,000 other movies were released to varying degrees of success. These included huge non-comic book movies like “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “The Hangover”, and, sure, even Woody Allen’s biggest hit ever “Midnight In Paris”.
So while it seems every other movie that comes out is a comic book movie, nothing could be further from the truth. But that’s not the point I want to make.
Here’s the point: People are not tired of Superheroes. You cannot blame the superhero for the failure of corporate mortals.
If every comic book/superhero movie were unbelievably great, audiences would flock to them and they would all be huge hits.
Seriously, if the studios would have put out 16 awesome, well-made, true to the source comic book movies, they would have had, guaranteed, 16 big hit, profitable movies.
But this didn’t happen and it never will happen. Why? Because movie studios always try to make good movies. Regardless of what some people think, the executives at movie studios are not trying to suck.
Every movie that is made (with all those millions of dollars at stake) start off with a single dream – to be really good and to make money (maybe not in that order). Everyone, at every level, works very hard to make these films as good as humanly possible.
But somewhere along the chain – from concept to the day of release – something happens to make them suck.
And in most cases, lots of things happen to make them suck.
The movie-making process is subjective. One person’s gold is another person’s shit.
What Hollywood IS GUILTY OF is genre rape.
Once one high-concept or genre film hits it really big (i.e., “Alice In Wonderland”) suddenly every studio in town needs to have that high-concept or genre type film in the pipeline ASAP.
Because of “Alice In Wonderland”, over the past year every studio had to have as many fairy tale scripts as they get their hands on including THREE FREAKIN’ “SNOW WHITES”!
Go down any list of genre and you’ll see one movie that started the entire feeding frenzy. “Scream” spawned hundreds of crappy horror movies. “Harry Potter” got everyone out there trying to find the next great children’s fantasy series. Vampires, zombies… it’s just a case of mass brainlessness.
But here’s the shocker. What do I think needs to be changed? Nothing.
Movies should continue to be made and they should be made as well as possible.
Some should be based on comic books because it’s really great source material.
Others should be based on the Bible, or Dickens or Broadway . Because it’s really great source material.
And yet others should be based on ideas people think up on their own (imagine that!) – because the brain is capable of coming up with a really great source material.
“Hollywood” isn’t broken and the Superhero isn’t dead (Christopher Nolan could turn any deep catalog comic book character into a franchise – even something like “Gerbil Girl”) – everyone involved in the process just needs to concentrate more on entertaining the audience and less on just filling a summer slot.
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea
P.S. – Why the hell is “Glee” at Comic-Con? If you want to talk about something that’s dead… it’s Comic-Con. And IT WAS killed by the movie studios. If you want a good laugh, read the transcript from Khan Manka, Jr.’s keynote address to last year’s Comic-Con.