Good luck ignoring superhero stuff for the next decade. With the acceptance of geek culture in the mainstream, it’s only natural that comic movies took center stage. When you go to most movie websites today, they look more like comic websites. Why is that? Why has everyone gone superhero mad, and where is all the love for every other movie that the industry is putting out weekly?
Get Them to the Geek
Geek culture is the way of the world now. There is no better fan base to market merchandise to, leak upcoming film tidbits to, and target. They will drop loads of money on properties they are passionate about. Geeks have long been the 1%, creating Apple, Google, Microsoft and many other extremely successful tech-based companies. Where else are they going to spend all of their hard-earned cash? They don’t just watch superhero movies, they buy t-shirts, make costumes, play video games based on them, and thrive in the hype surrounding them.
Geeks immerse themselves in a world that is everything they have spent their entire lives loving. When i say geek, it is such a loose word in today’s society. I am referring to comic fans, gaming fans, tech guru’s, Trekkies, and fans in Galaxies Far, Far Away. This demographic is too large to completely encompass now. It is also a fan base that thrives off of anticipation. No body fiends for details about Robert DeNiro’s next movie, but you can bet they want to know everything about Doctor Strange ASAP. Geeks are here to stay.
Trends and Old Habits
This is how the world works now, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that this a bad thing. It is a trend, like tough-guy action hero movies in the 1980’s. Recognizing this, Marvel and Disney joined forces, forming a superpower that is willing to stay close to source material. This is something exciting for fans. Marvel and Disney realize that geeks will not stand by and let Hollywood glaze over stories they read a million times over a lifetime.
Sure, there are some that say that Marvel movies are all boobs and cheap jokes, but when you look at the polar opposite (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) you lose a bit of what makes comics lovable. In trying to go darker, you lose the comic essence in the shadows. Chris Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was successful at this, whereas Zack Snyder is still trying to grasp the right formula.
Go to the Source
Sony and Fox are starting to realize that to succeed the right way you gotta bring in the creators (the geeks). That is why they are partnering with Marvel, and allowing them to manage the Marvel properties. [I know that a Marvel/Fox isn’t official, but there are hints that a partnership is brewing.] Warner Bros. needs to stop reacting and just let the geeks take over. They destroyed Batman v Superman by interviewing in Snyder’s vision, and made it a jumbled mess. (If early reports are correct) Suicide Squad is following suit. The early reviews of Suicide Squad are no better.
You need to let the geeks write the stories, let the geeks put a lifetime of love in the camera shots and costumes. You will end up with great comic movies. Warner Bros. is a studio that has no vested interest in making good comic movies, they just want to make money. This is a motivation that worked in the past, but is a model that is fledging today. Time will only tell is DC will pull out.
The Star-Powered Pied Piper
How many times have you heard in the past that the movie was ok, but the book was better. In some cases Marvel has made the books better, and in turn, the films are better. It doesn’t hurt that although Marvel uses pretty much the same formula for every movie, it works like a charm. They have the Midas touch.
Other Hollywood film’s are struggling to find footing, because they don’t have such an extensive, passionate fan base. There isn’t a lifetime of love for Mila Kunis’ Bad Moms, or Bryan Cranston’s The Infiltrator. That isn’t to say that these films aren’t great, They just rely on the actors star power to generate ticket sales. With film’s like Suicide Squad you have Joker, Batman, Harley Quinn and many other characters that have existed for decades. They are cemented int he minds and hearts of comic fans, who fell in love with the characters one comic book at a time. Cranston and Kunis’ star power cannot compete with that kind of experience and foundation.
A final thing to note is that since Hollywood has gone crazy for superheroes, other films are just not as good. There are a few that surface periodically, but the studios rely on making cheap comedies just to have a sure thing. They are hardly willing to take a risk on anything new, and rely heavily on reviving past successful properties. Movie-goers are recognizing this trend, and straying away from a Paul Feig Ghostbusters reboot. Don’t make revived properties different from what they were. It is fine to evolve, but the original Ghostbusters wasn’t all fat and fart jokes. The new one almost makes fun of everything that lifetime GB fans love, and this is not a good strategy. You should embrace your fan base, don’t just scoff at them.
When you rely on star power or straight marketing, there is no way you can compete with a rabid fan base wanting any shred of details about an upcoming superhero movie. Geeks thrive on knowing more than their peers, and bringing something to a discussion that was overlooked by anyone else. They ponder and flourish in the intricate webs that comics weave. This is how you earn status in the geek world. Any films outside of the comic book movie world just don’t have that kind of pull. This is why it is rare that a non-geek movie holds any kind of sales records. 12 of the top 20 highest grossing films of all-time are geek movies, with 7 of them being superhero movies. The other movies that Hollywood makes will get their time again, but for now, superhero movies are here to stay.
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