Is Superhero Fatigue Real?


Though to prove it is people typically bring up movies like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) not doing as well as the first movie – and financially speaking that’s true, except when you take into account that not only had the lead, Chadwick Boseman, died in 2020 and the sequel not only didn’t replace him, but acknowledged his death in the movie. That being the case, it did pretty damn well, never mind almost earning just under $900 million ($859,068,155).

Shazam: Fury of the Gods (2023) is currently failing, having earned just over $100 million on a $125 million production budget but once again, circumstances rear their ugly heads because the sequel not only comes four years after the original but that movie itself wasn’t a huge performer at the box office.

Then you have to taken into account that DC on film has undergone another management shift and the Shazam movies were part of Zach Snyder’s run is it really a surprise that people weren’t particularly interested (never mind Zachary Levi’s portrayal of Shazam didn’t at all sync with Billy Batson (Asher Angel), something that really irritated me about the first movie).

Though Ant-Man: Quantumania (2023) also isn’t doing particularly well! So superhero fatigue must be real!

Sure, if you’re willing to ignore the evidence that conflicts with that premise.

Ant-Man: Quantumania is an Ant-Man movie, and none of the Ant-Man movies have been exactly stellar performers.

The first Ant-Man earned $519,311,965.

Ant-Man and the Wasp earned $622,674,139

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has so far earned $469,656,040, below the first movie though that’s less a question of superhero fatigue than overestimating the returns for an Ant-Man movie.

In other words, if it were budgeted somewhere in the ballpark of $100-$150 million then it wouldn’t be a point of discussion.

So, could Marvel perhaps slow down the rate of product they’re producing? Certainly. Keeping people waiting isn’t always a bad thing (a strategy which has problems all its own) though if the movies being produced are good, they’ll find an audience no matter if they revolve around superheroes or anything else.


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