Have you ever dealt with someone who was so set in their ways that they ignored any common sense response to their predicament?
That’s what i feel about what’s going on with Warner Bros. scheduling their upcoming “Superman Vs. Batman” against the currently untitled Captain America 3. Disney had originally had that space staked out for an unnamed Marvel Studios movie, and Warners put their upcoming blockbuster on the same spot.
It’s a very bad move on their part for five reasons, off the top of my head.
- “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Is Doing Really, Really Well. Shockingly Well, In Fact
“Man Of Steel” earned just over $668 million during its theatrical run. That’s a lot of money, though you have to put it into context. Superman was created in 1933 and eventually became one of the most popular characters in comic history. He’s an American icon, but prior to “Man Of Steel” he appeared in “Superman Returns,” which underperformed at the box office, earning just over $391 million on a $270 million dollar budget.
“Man Of Steel” almost doubled those figures, but not remarkably so (it helped that it was also slightly cheaper to produce, at $225 million).
Now, Captain America was never as popular as Superman, and interest in the character has ebbed and flowed. But the thing is the latest film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” has earned almost $604 million after less than a month (twenty days, as of this writing). It also cost less to produce, at $170 million, which seems to me to say that it is close to being as profitable as “Man Of Steel” RIGHT NOW, despite the fact that its theatrical run is no where close to being over (as evidence I should add that it’s been the number one film in the United States for about three weeks now).
- “Man Of Steel” Was Remarkably Violent, Especially For Superman
A lot of people liked “Man Of Steel.” I thought that it was a great action movie, but a terrible Superman one. Superman is heroic. Superman always worked to save people not because he thought less of us, but because he respected our potential to do good, to be more than we are.
He embodied the very best of us, which was why he always appeared like a boy scout; not because he was more powerful that we were–that was obvious–but because unlike him, we could become great too, with a little help.
David Goyer and Zach Snyder’s interpretation of the character is steeped in cynicism, reducing the character to a flawed, petulant man-child with anger issues. Though what’s worse is that Superman seemed genuinely unconcerned about saving human life, with his fight with General Zod being the most important thing to him, instead of the thousand of people that Zod was killing with his Wold Engine device.
If the violence weren’t bad enough, there were also the heavy-handed Christ allusions in the movie, which made watching it more difficult than it had any right to be.
Something else worth mentioning is that when Warner Bros tried to make a superhero movie with humor as well as action, “Green Lantern,” it failed. That failure prompted an over-reaction on the part of Warner Bros executives so that apparently every superhero they make a movie of has to be dark and brooding, which works OK for Batman–because if you look up “dark” or “brooding” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Batman–but not so much for characters like Superman.
- Why Is Batman Even In This Movie?
It’s odd to me that Batman is in this movie when he could instead be in a new solo film. Besides, Batman is never a secondary character, especially since the Nolan films made billions. This means that both characters will probably get a similar amount of the spotlight, which makes it less than Batman OR a Superman film.
This seems like a bad idea to me, especially since the new Batman, played by Ben Affleck, hasn’t been introduced. Why he isn’t getting his own film seems like a really weird way to go. If he had his own film Warners would instead be working with Man Of Steel 2 AND Batman. This would not only more gradually build their universe, but also give them the chance to expand opportunities to make a profit, which I thought these studios were all about. And since Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor (and who knows who else) will be in the film the film will be divided even further.
Now, you may say that Marvel is doing the same thing with its ‘Avengers’ films, and in one sense you’d be right, though in another you couldn’t be more wrong. You would be right because obviously Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk are in the same movie, but wrong because prior to the Avengers there were two Iron Man movies, the third came soon after; Thor had one movie and it’s sequel Thor: The Dark World” released soon afterward and the Hulk was in “The Incredible Hulk” before he turned up in “The Avengers.”
The reason why that’s such a good method to introduce characters in solo films is because it opens up the cinematic universe to people who aren’t as familiar with the characters, so that by the time the team-up movie comes about, the fans are revved up, while the people who are new to the characters are enthused as well.
That’s one reason why ‘The Winter Soldier’ is doing so well (another is that it’s a exciting, fun movie).
- The Avengers Effect
I am not sure that ‘The Avengers Effect‘ even exists, though Business Week clearly does. What it essentially says is that 2012’s “The Avengers” did so well–which it did, earning over $1.5 billion–that it’s created a sort of halo effect for the characters that appeared in the movie. So, in other words, any movie with any of the characters that appeared in “The Avengers,” it’s likely to do really well. It’s not by any means scientific, but it also happens to be true.
Though I think there’s another reason for it. The Marvel Studios films are all well-done and really entertaining. People see that, and go to see them. It’s not rocket science.
- And Most Importantly, I Honestly Think Warner Bros Have Painted Themselves In A Corner
By scheduling their followup to “Man Of Steel” on the same date as Captain America 3 (at the time it was an ‘unknown Marvel feature’) it has to be successful and by that I mean it has to do significantly better than Captain America 3.
And I am not sure that that’s going to happen. ‘Winter Soldier’ is going to be more profitable than “Man Of Steel” if it continues as it’s going (and there’s no reason to assume why it won’t).
The same people who produced ‘Winter Soldier’ are coming back for the third film, which will be a movie that’s been number one in this country for three weeks now. Does anyone think that people aren’t going to want to see it’s sequel?
They may even see “Batman Vs. Superman” first, but afterward they will see the Captain America sequel.
What I am not sure about is that the people who see the Captain America sequel will see “Batman Vs. Superman.” And I can only speak for myself: I am on the fence because, while I am curious as to what the new Batsuit looks like and how Ben Affleck will be in the role, I am not interested in seeing a superhero film where thousands of people die while the supposed hero of the piece does literally nothing to save them (and before someone argues the point, Superman could have spent less time fighting Zod, and more time saving civilians).