Marvel's Multiple Movies: A Crowded House of Ideas?
But since the renaissance sparked by the original X-Men in 2000, there's usually been about three or four high-profile comic book films a year. With Marvel's The Avengers grossing nearly $1.5 billion worldwide at this point, and Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises also racking up impressive numbers, more are definitely on the way. And a lot of them are Marvel movies, either in-house at Marvel Studios or from licensees Fox and Sony.Currently, there are 11 Marvel movies known to be in active development: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolverine, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, sequels to Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and reported Daredevil and Fantastic Four reboots. At the somewhat-standard rate of a sequel every two or three years, forget about four big comic book movies a year — that's four big Marvel movies a year.
That's three Marvel movies out in six months, plus DC's Superman returns in Warner's Man of Steel on June 14 of that year.
The schedule only gets more crowded in 2014. The first major Marvel movie of the year is Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, and a confident Sony claimed the release date of May 2, 2014 for the Amazing Spider-Man back in 2011, nearly a year before the first one even came out.
Fox has set July 18, 2014 for an X-Men: First Class sequel, though no details (including a title) are known at this point beyond the return of director Matthew Vaughn. Then just two weeks later, Marvel Studios is planning on releasing Guardians of the Galaxy, the seemingly unlikely albeit long-rumored film that was made official at Comic-Con, with no talent yet announced for the project.
So there are seven Marvel movies officially scheduled at this point, with one seemingly along the way, and several more — like Fox's Fantastic Four and Daredevil reboots — reportedly in the works, with creative talent attached. Then there are the Marvel Studios properties that haven’t been strictly confirmed, but have been the subject of some loud rumblings as of late, notably Runaways, Doctor Strange and Black Panther. And oh yeah, Avengers 2 is going to happen (duh), though there's no release date or definitive indication if Joss Whedon will return to direct.
Which begs the natural question: Is there a saturation point for comic book movies, and specifically Marvel movies, which account for the bulk of the upcoming releases? For years now, comic book movies have been coming more fast and furious than Fast and the Furious sequels, seemingly without noticeable audience burnout. But given the strong performance of this summer's three big comic book movies, it's likely to continue at an even greater pace beyond what's planned over the next couple of years. Will the growth continue, or is there a point of diminishing returns, where disappointing box office performances like 2011's Green Lantern become the rule rather than the exception?
Comic book movies have grown steadily — in terms of audience, production value, budgets and quality (arguably, but, come on) — for a dozen years now. Clearly, studios are predicting that's not going to stop anytime soon, and it's up to audiences to decide if that's a good bet. At the very least, fans certainly have a lot of viewing — and inevitable discussing, disseminating and debating — ahead of them.More from Newsarama:
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