Is Wonder Woman Really the Highest Earning Superhero Origin Movie?

'Wonder Woman' is highest-grossing superhero origin movie of all time - Business Insider copySorry, I don’t buy it Wonder Woman as the ‘highest-grossing superhero origin movie of all time.

Reason being, it neglect a little movie called Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Spider-Man isn’t an origin movie, you say?

That’s where we’ll have to differ (because it is).

This iteration of Spider-Man is first introduced in Captain America: Civil War so it technically isn’t his first appearance.  Then again, Wonder Woman was first introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice so it wasn’t her’s either.

But what people who say Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t an origin story seem to be missing is that there have been THREE prior versions of the character relatively recently, which means to include it again would bore moviegoers (The Amazing Spider-Man retconned the origin, making Peter Parker’s parents spies–sort of–which was  dumb, though you can at least understand why they did it).

So Marvel Studios took a different approach.  They emphasized Spider-Man growing in the role, so in a sense it is an origin film in that Parker–despite wearing the costume–is not Spider-Man.

Instead he’s awkward, and truth be told, not terribly good at what he does (a fact the movie emphasizes more often than once).

In other words, Spider-Man: Homecoming is an origin story, just not a blatantly obvious one.

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Sony’s Bug Problem


And while spiders are arachnids, not bugs, bear with me and all come clear.

Spider-Man: Homecoming makes its North American debut today, and some pundits believe that it will ensnare an opening somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.  If this bears out it would make the movie the fourth of 2017–joining Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 and Wonder Woman–to reach that milestone.

Though–at least at the moment–Sony only plans to work with Marvel Studios on Homecoming and its sequel, and that’s problematic not only for that reason, but because they’re also planning movies based on Venom, Silver Sable and the Black Cat, all outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (known as the MCU).

This is a terrible idea because one of the reasons Spider-Man: Honecoming is projected to do as well as it is is because Spider-Man is returning to the MCU, which people are interested in seeing, while Sony’s upcoming movies will likely not have this version of Spider-Man, if any at all.

As I said, it’s a problem because you’re not only taking away the context that Venom currently exists in–which is the MCU–you’re potentially taking away the reason Venom himself exists (the symbiont originally chose to bond with Spider-Man.  Only when it was rejected by him did it turn its attentions to Eddie Brock).

So Venom (as well as Silver Sable, Black Cat and whichever other Spiderverse characters they intend to use) existing outside the MCU is problematic.

Though without Spider-Man?

That’s more than a problem; that’s a disaster for Sony.  For Marvel?

Not so much, especially when you take into account that while they never actually needed Spider-Man he’s back (albeit temporarily) and the MCU version has appeared in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming and with three movies on the way (Avengers: Infinity War, an untitled Avengers movie as well as a sequel to Homecoming).

If Sony were smart–or smarter, after all they did have the foresight to cut this deal with Marvel Studios–they would ensure that the Spiderverse remain in the MCU with a deal a similar to that that they reached with Spider-Man (which would probably have Marvel Studios getting a cut of the box office, perhaps in exchange for contributing to the costs of production).

It’s certainly worth a thought.

‘Guardians’’ Box Office Is Out Of This World!

Marvel Studios’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 has–so far–earned over $425 million worldwide!  The likelihood is high that the it will surpass half a billion by this week, and will more than likely finish its theatrical run over a billion dollars.

It’s worth mentioning that the first movie at the end of its run earned a bit over $773 million, though the sequel is outperforming it handily both domestically and abroad.

Though with Alien: Covenant coming out in 10 days the xenomorphs are looking to to take a bite out Guardians’ box office aspirations, which truth be told is unlikely because Alien: Covenant is R-rated, while Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 is PG-13, which means that not only are each geared to a different audience age-wise, but also viewer-wise.

Alien: Covenant will likely skew male, while Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 will not only draw males, but a greater percentage of women, and children (the latter of which should not be watching the Alien movie at all).

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – Teaser Trailer 2

Off the top of my head, I think that I may have seen two Harry Potter movies, though the only one I remember is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (mainly because it was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who did the remarkable Children of Men–one of those rare movies significantly better than the books that inspired them–more so than actually caring anything about the characters).

So, when I learned that Warner Bros was revisiting the well, in my head I didn’t hear ‘New Harry Potter movie!’ more than ‘Studio Desperate for Hit Revisits Profitable Franchise!’

Though to be fair, having seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice I’m shocked that they didn’t announce a new Matrix movie as well.

And speaking of Batman v Superman, Fantastic Beasts is  is apparently coming out the same month, November, as Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange–also starring a preeminent British actor with a storyline that revolves around magic and things that definitely go bump in the night–though I get the feeling that the audience for the two movies is different enough that both should prosper (with a YUGE caveat:  I am not sure who Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is aimed at.  Former children weaned on Harry Potter books and movies?  It’s possible but the bulk of them probably aren’t that old.  Nostalgia?  I have no idea).

When Is A Movie In The Black?

If you ask ten people at what point a movie becomes profitable, you’ll probably get ten answers, each slightly different than the one that proceeded it.

Based on what I have read what I tend to do is double the production costs, as far as breaking even goes.  I’m aware that a movie also has expenses attached to marketing, and that theaters get their cut, though I’ve heard so many varying ideas about what those numbers are that i tend not to put too much stock in them.

Besides, while a studio may release the budget of a particular motion picture, they don’t often release marketing costs, and those can vary greatly based upon the type of film being promoted (typically, I throw in $50 million or so for a tentpole, but that number can also vary–I have also heard of instances where marketing costs add up to half, or even more, of the cost of the producing the movie itself).

In terms of profitability, I tend to use the 3X rule, namely if your movie has earned at least three times its production costs, then that movie is a success (by which I mean you’re in the black).

For instance, Marvel’s Ant-Man has earned over $401 millon, on a $130 million budget.  As far as I can tell that’s pretty successful, particularly for a character that to some is a “flavor of the week.

Analysts Are So Damned Irritating

Everything Is Better With Legos, Including Ant-Man!

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man premiered Friday of last week, and earned domestically just over $58 million by the end of the weekend.    Now keep in mind that the movie was budgeted at $130 million, and when you figure in overseas box office (just over $56 million) it has so far pulled in just over $114 million.

That’s not too shabby–especially when you consider that Ant-Man makes the Guardians Of The Galaxy like the Guardians Of The Galaxy pre-movie–yet some are using words like ‘soft‘ to describe its domestic gross.

Now what matters at this point is if the movie has legs, because it can go either way this early in the game.

Though, speaking of ‘soft,’ that’s a word that’s fine for describing pillows; not so much when applied to either box office gross, erections, or movies based on characters as obscure as the Guardians Of The Galaxy (which was a massive hit).

And besides, I get the feeling that such an interpretation can adversely effect how well a movie does because I know that if I get the feeling that a movie is going to tank I am less likely to see it, especially when all you have to do is wait a few months when it will turn up either on Neflix, Hulu, Direct TV or cable (the later two I don’t have, btw).

Sense8 – Trailer

Sense8 

“When the going gets the tough, the tough make television.”

As far as I am aware, that’s not a real quote, though it accurately describes what’s going on with the Warchowskis, Lena and Larry.  Coming off the box-office failure of Jupiter Ascending (the first time I heard of it I associated it with Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators-Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, which is never a good thing), the siblings moved on to working with Netflix on a miniseries, Sense8.

Judging from the trailer, it’s about eight people who’ve never met, from all over the world.  They all seem linked in such a way that the capabilities and perspectives of any of them can be called on and manifested in any of the others.

Which is kind of cool if you have kickboxers among your retinue–as they apparently do–but I wonder how things would look if they were composed of a bunch of less-capable individuals.

Then again, Sense8 was written by Michael Straczynski, not anyone connected with Happy Madison.