According to Deadline, analyst Vasily Karasyov of the investment group CLSA warns that studio reliance on retreads — tentpole franchises, comic book heroes and other pre-existing intellectual property — “presents growing risk to film industry profitability.”
Diminishing return is a business reality and much like Steven Spielberg‘s prognostication that the superhero wave will end, it is just a matter of time before the studios focus on a new source of ideas. But the exact timeline is murky and unpredictable. Deadline notes Karasyov also announced in 2011 that “studios are finding it harder and harder to make superhero films work at the box office.” That was before The Avengers changed everything and launched a dozen competing shared universes.
Even now, with the return of Star Wars, Warner Bros. building its DC Comics inspired slate and Marvel‘s Phase III on the way, it seems like there is no end in sight. Karasyov himself admits the “retreads” could add up to 44% of worldwide box office for the year’s top 20 releases.
And yet, he is still convinced this is the “tail end of the process.” I suppose like a late-stage star going nova, it must expand before it burns out.
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