Why The Success of ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Doesn’t Bode Well for DC/Warner Bros

Thor: The Dark World movie posterSome people prefer Marvel heroes, like Spider-Man and The Avengers, while others prefer DC, and characters like Batman and Superman, though the line between the two for most is a bit blurrier than that.  For instance, while I generally like Marvel, I grew up on the giant-sized adventures of Batman, which I fondly remember my mother bringing me home.

When I called the 'giants' I wasn't kidding!
When I called them ‘giant-sized’ I wasn’t kidding!

And with superheroes, like anything else, some are more popular than others.  The X-Men has been well-received by comics readers for years, and it’s reflected in the popularity of the feature films based upon the characters.

Batman is huge for DC/Warner Bros., and shows in the success of the movies.

Superman, if not as popular as Batman, is still one of DC’s biggest characters, so that a feature film about him is expected to do well.  What’s shocking is that that Thor, who has never been an A-list character (even during the awesome Walt Simonson run), is doing so remarkably well.

How well?  Much better than the first film, which topped off at $450 million.

Now keep in mind what I said earlier: That Thor was never really at the front line of Marvel characters, yet the movie has earned over $620 million after about two months.

“Man of Steel” finished its run at $662 million, which by anyone’s calculus is a lot of money but considering that Superman is in the top tier of comics characters, shouldn’t it have done significantly better than “Thor: The Dark World?”

What I am saying is that “Man of Steel,” despite being successful, actually underperformed, while Thor has over-performed (When you take into account that “Man of Steel” cost $225 million to produce, while the latest Thor sequel cost $170 million, ‘The Dark World’ looks even better).

Which is why I suspect Warner Bros. did not do a followup to “Man of Steel” that revolved around Superman, and is instead is introducing a rebooted Batman (as well as Wonder Woman) into the mix; while Marvel is so confident in their strategy that they are introducing characters like Ant-Man, whom few people are familiar with, and Guardians of the Galaxy, who it can be argued, virtually no one is familar with.

And I expect both films to do remarkably well.

2 thoughts on “Why The Success of ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Doesn’t Bode Well for DC/Warner Bros

  1. I agree with part of your theory. Thor was an unknown and he’s doing killer business, compared to Superman, who we adored and grew up with.

    I think there are two things going on here. First, and most importantly, the Marvel universe has done its job with casting. I’d never heard of Hemsworth until Thor, and it was absolute LOVE by the end of that movie. They found a great actor and paired it with a decent script, and audiences came. When Dark World hit, they came back for more. The same can be said for Iron Man. Robert Downey + a decent script won our hearts (not so much for Iron Man 2, but that was a script issue, I think; Iron Man 3, back on top).

    DC has two issues. One, DC has been done to death. We’ve had lots of Batmans (Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Christian Bale) and Superman Actors (Christopher Reeve being the most popular/iconoclastic; Brandon Routh and Henry Cavil). I think audiences have been there, done that, and it’s going to take more to get them to come to the theater to see someone new in the role. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

    The new Spiderman (with Andrew Garfield) did pretty well. However, its teaser trailers promised some nefarious new reason behind spidey’s transformation and never delivered (boo hiss). Though it did deliver with actors we like (really, really like!), including Martin Sheen, Sally Fields, and Emma Stone. The more we watched Andrew, the more we realized we liked him.

    If DC wants to have success with its movies, it has to get actors we really like and pretty decent (good or great would be better) scripts. If hiring Ben Affleck to play Batman is a sign of how things are going to go, I’ll have to agree with you that things are not looking up for DC comics silver-screen adaptations.

    1. You raise some great points! What DC also need to do is to take a chance outside of characters like Batman and Superman.

      Admittedly Green Lantern didn’t do too well, but I think that was more of an issue with their approach to the character (as well as some video game-worthy CGI).

      As I wrote (and you mentioned in reference to Iron Man and Thor), who the Hell heard of The Guardians of the Galaxy?

      That Marvel is – literally – willing to invest millions in a bunch of characters no one knows of, as well as a director (James Gunn) who has never done anything on this scale tells you that they have a really good idea what they are doing.

      I get the feeling that the people doing movies for DC (and I mean on the executive level) don’t get comics, though they do understand money, which is a whole ‘nother problem.

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