Marvel Studios is one of the most successful movie studios today, if profitable, reasonably-budgeted movies are the metric–if you consider a $200-250 million reasonable–so much so that some within Disney were rumored to be disappointed with the earnings of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which took in $1.4 billion at the box office–so if that’s a curse, it’s probably one that rival studios wish were a pandemic.
Unfortunately for the competition, in a way it is.
The reason being, other studios have begun to mimic what they perceive is Marvel’s secret sauce, but can’t seem to get the formula quite right.
For instance, Sony was attempting to create, a la Marvel, an integrated cinematic universe featuring Spider-Man.
Things began well enough with The Amazing Spider-Man, though the weakness of the plan became evident in 2014 with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, when Sony decided to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios.
And while I use the word ‘sharing;’ I get the feeling that Marvel Studios is running the show–especially since the the Sony Spider-Man movies are being supervised by Kevin Feige (the head of Marvel Studios) and Amy Pascal (former head of Sony Pictures).
Universal Pictures has their own take on Marvel’s cinematic universe, though based on characters like the Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, all properties under the control of Universal.
Despite already releasing features based on the Wolfman and Dracula, supposedly the first film in the series will be based on the Mummy, which Universal is courting Tom Cruise to play the lead.
The jury is still out on Universal’s experiment, though I don’t expect much to be told.
Most recently Paramount decided to create a unified cinematic universe based on the Transformers, M.A.S.K., Visionaries, the Micronauts and G.I. Joe.
And while the Micronauts were never a cartoon in this country, they were a line of toys (that were truly awesome. I recall Force Commander, Baron Karza and the Pharoid fondly).
The problems is that, other than all the properties being based on Hasbro properties, they share little else in common.
So they’re going to jam them together anyway, which when you think about it is literally the opposite of what Marvel is doing, in that all their movies are based on characters that exist within Marvel Comics, while Hasbro and Paramount are throwing a bunch of characters together that are only linked by being Hasbro properties–and by a stretch, thematically–though little else.
At least Paramount went as far as to create a writer’s room so that they could break the code and find a way to integrate characters that have nothing to do with with each other.
Next post I will go a bit into DC Entertainment’s efforts to follow in Marvel’s footsteps.