There has been talk of superhero fatigue in Hollywood with all of the slated films and television series are doing well now, but folks are expecting viewers to turn away from them soon. The idea is that everything goes in cycles and how disaster films and biblical epics were big once, now they get no traction at the box office.
Warner Bros chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara thinks that fans still have a desire to see the costumed adventurers… and is banking on it. During a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday, Tsujihara asserted that he thinks diversity is the key.
“The key thing is that the movies and the television shows and the games, everything looks very different …you have to be able to take advantage of the diversity of these characters.”
And in a way he’s right. Superhero films are often lumped into a single category but Marvel has proven you can do different types of films within that group. Captain America: The First Avengers was a war movie while Captain America: The Winter Soldier was more of a spy thriller. Thor was more of a fantasy epic where Guardians of the Galaxy was a classic space yarn like Star Wars. Looking at every film and movie with a superhero as being the same thing would be like calling The Bad Lieutenant, NYPD Blue and Police Academy all the same because they are about cops.
And the advantages to using established comic book characters is obvious both in the United States and worldwide.
“The big franchises are becoming more and more valuable,” said Tsujihara. “You don’t have to explain to the consumer what a ‘Batman v Superman’ is.”
But the really interesting thing to me was this other comment from Tsujihara.
“The worlds of DC are very different,” he said. “They’re steeped in realism, and they’re a little bit edgier than Marvel’s movies.”
Growing up I was a Marvel fan and just new some of the DC universe. Marvel felt more real to me. They lived in New York not some made up city. They had realistic problems like making a living, ailing parents or even alcoholism. As I got older and had to deal with more real world issues, I wanted my reading entertainment to be less about that and more about fantasy that I could lose myself in. This is when I drifted from Marvel to DC. The last son of a dead planet, an amazon princess, the king of a sunken city… they had adventures that took my mind off of my problems.
So where I agree that as long as the quality of the work remains high, I think the superhero burn-out that Hollywood is expecting may hold off a while… but the part where DC is more realistic and gritty than Marvel is only in the films and that may be why Marvel has had so many successful films and are growing while DC is still trying to start their universe… again.