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Is Marvel Studios Expanding Too Fast?

If Kevin Feige’s recent interview is to be believed, Marvel Studios is already hard at work on their fourth wave of movies – After the first wave of Iron Man and Incredible Hulk, second wave of Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and Avengers and the mysterious third wave of Runaways, Ant Man and whatever else may be in the pipeline. The problem? Well, the size of this new range, for one thing.

Feige said that, following Avengers,

Thor will go off into a new adventure, and Captain America will continue to explore the modern world in another film of his own. We hope that holds true for the characters appearing in that film — Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the spy organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. —all of whom are more than worthy and capable of carrying their own films. And, we’ve got a lot of other characters we’re prepping and getting ready for film debuts: the world of martial arts, these great cosmic space fantasies, Dr. Strange, and the magic side of the Marvel Universe. There are many, many stories to be mined.

So, wait: Sequels for Thor and Cap, that was pretty much expected. A SHIELD movie has been rumored for awhile, with Samuel L. Jackson fanning those flames as he likes to, but solo movies for Black Widow and Hawkeye? Really? Perhaps I’m biased by my years of comic experience and seeing titles featuring those characters crash and burn with spectacular speed (Hawkeye and Mockingbird, we hardly knew you), but the idea that either character is actually strong enough to carry a film by themselves feels a little like wishful thinking or overextending the brand – better, surely, to let one or both characters anchor the SHIELD movie alongside Nick Fury?

But that’s not all: Feige also hints at movies for Iron Fist (presumably the “martial arts” movie, considering rumors of a script already being developed for the character), “great cosmic space fantasies” (Nova, perhaps? Although whether a movie audience would be able to look beyond the similarities to Green Lantern would be an interesting experiment) and Doctor Strange, on top of the Avengers sequel which would appear to be inevitable. Doesn’t that seem like a lot of movies for a studio that’s so far seemed to only be able a workload of two movies at a time? Less than a fourth wave, the seeming suggestion of nine movies makes this latest batch into a tsunami or sorts.

Interestingly enough, though, the non-Avengers-related movies all seem to be moving away from the superheroic elements to an extent, and into other genres. It’s a smart move, and one that may keep the company afloat when the superhero bubble bursts, but I can’t help but wonder whether audiences will respond in a positive way to something outside of Marvel’s sweet spot when that’s already on offer from every other major studio. Once Marvel loses its home court advantage, will audiences really care? And if not, will we see a contraction of plans to concentrate only on what it knows best, again?


  • Chris Katrev

    They should do 2 filma a year tops.

  • Hummus Bros

    I could tell it was a Graeme article just by reading the silly headline.

  • Dave Morris

    I’d like to see a movie based on Brubaker’s Criminal series. As for Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Nova… they have to be kidding.

  • Anonymous

    That sounded more like a “we HOPE to” than a “will DEFINITELY do” sort of thing to me. And you could spin SHIELD off Avengers, with Widow and Hawkeye in them, and if they are popular enough, then spin them off into their own movies.

    I agree that Marvel should hedge its bets and plan for what movies to make when the superhero fad passes, but they have plenty of options for that already, as they own some of the best Sci-Fi and Fantasy characters I’ve ever seen. The main audience may not know them as well as we do, but every year brings movies with unknown (or hardly known) characters and they still manage.

  • Wildstorm

    Seems Marvel is doing their movies like their comics. Quantity over quality

  • Dave Buesing

    I think you could pretty easily make a case that Dr. Strange, Nova, and Iron Fist all make a lot more sense as movies than SHIELD. As an organization, SHIELD is most interesting within the confines of the Avengers U. Those other characters can hold their own. I just worry about Marvel Studios spreading themselves too thin. The last thing they need is a rushed movie that reminds people of Elektra.

  • Daniel Elkin

    If a solo book can’t even stay in print, why would they invest millions on a movie? I would like to see a Dr. Strange movie though.

  • Stefan Immel

    First of all Feige didn’t mention anything about a timeframe for those ideas (I will not even call them projects yet). Besides that it doesn’t matter how many movies Marvel can handle right now, they allways can expand because the movie business is done mostly by subcontractors anyway.
    The big question is how many movies of a certain kind the audience can handle each year. If Marvel continues to produce three movies out of their different genres they should be fine.
    They have Superhero movies (Iron Man), mystic Hero (Thor / Dr. Strange), Sci-Fi (Nova / FF) and Spy (Cap, Shield).

  • +10 Charisma

    I think a push for B-list characters is exactly what Marvel needs. Good on them for once.

  • Jacob

    A film based on Criminal wouldn’t be a Marvel movie, seeing as the book isn’t owned by Marvel. Brubaker owns it. If anyone wants to make a movie on it, they’ve got to get the rights from him.

  • ingenuus

    because the people that a “mystical, magical” movie appeal to don’t necessarily read comics…

  • Magnusjragnarok

    SHIELD should definitely be the venue for Black Widow and Hawkeye. The Purple Archer is my all-time favorite hero, but I still don’t think it would be a good idea to try and have him carry a movie himself. Hawkeye has always been strongest as a team player.

  • Scud

    The thing is most people will see all of those as just superhero movies.

  • Ian33407

    well, except for the rush concerning the AVENGERS movie, I’m all for IRON FIST ( Ray Park was rumored since a long time, and some significants story-arcs from comics would be enough reasons for a decent trilogy at last ) DOCTOR STRANGE is also a long-awaited project ( but I doubt it will be directed by Andrew Leman ) a NOVA-movie is also understandable considering he always had been perceived as GREEN LANTERN rip-off, I guess Marvel don’t want to be in hurry about Space-Opera…SHIELD and BLACK WIDOW could be interesting…

    As another poster pointed it, the last thing they need is to rush things : see DC/ Warner who just performed the most unbelievable exploit : fucking -up a JONAH HEX movie (loud applauds)

  • SeeYatheMovies

    This article is kind of silly. Like Warner Bros, Sony, Buena Vista, etc,., Marvel Studios is in the business to make movies and if they have the power and resources to do so, then more power to them.

  • nathematics

    “Cosmic space fantasy” sounds more like Silver Surfer. I didn’t even know who Nova was until Secret Avengers but everyone knows the Surfer

  • Jacob

    Silver Surfer is over at FOX with the F4. And you should really start reading DnA’s cosmic saga. Nova will quickly rise to your favorite characters list.

  • Jacob

    X-Men came out in 2000. That can be counted as the beginning of the Superhero movies. It’s 2011. Too long to be a fad. I think they’re here to stay.

  • Anonymous

    I should know better than to read an article with a question for a title. An interrogative heading invariably means the article has nothing new to say and no new facts to present.

  • origamikid

    To put it simply enough: if characters can’t support their own monthly ongoing series, then they probably can’t support their own movie. Hawkeye works best a supporting character, hopefully he will be quippy in Avengers (taking a Spider-Man style role …almost) and as for Iron Fist and Dr. Strange – maybe Marvel should employ a Grindhouse style featurette.

    Give each character a hour long feature and push ‘em together for a two hour thing we can see at the cinema.

  • Rishi Joe Sanu

    I am think on the lines dr strange and vishanti and cosmic marvel (sans nova , it’s too early for nova)….think thanos. but only after they cover all the founding avengers. they should also be thinking abt integrating x-men FF and spidey into their line up somehow

  • Ingenuus

    No, Blade marked the beginning of successful superhero movies as it led to x men. It s extremely the “it” thing now though based on the amount of titles actually out and rumored to be in the works (making it a fad currently).

  • Ingenuus

    That’s making the huge (false imo) leap assuming that a.) the movies and comics have the same audience and b.) people only watch the movie based on the character.

  • tom

    It’s fine. What Marvel needs to worry about is running out of worthwhile properties to adapt into film. This is something that seriously needs addressing on the publishing side of the business. They haven’t had a single fresh new concept since 2004 (and until then they were developing new concepts nearly every year). I think it’s a terrible shame in itself, and it demonstrates a lack of investment in their own long-term future.

  • Dswynne1

    What they should do is have a two-tier track. You have the big properties for theater watching, and you have smaller properties for the television (in the form of serials, like they have in the UK).

  • ATK

    “Perhaps I’m biased by my years of comic experience and seeing titles featuring those characters crash and burn with spectacular speed…”

    Yes you’re biased. No, you don’t have anymore “experience” with comics than the rest of us. Short lived series are nothing to be ashamed of. Their have been a lot of good comics that no one has read and a lot of bad ones that people have. And if “Spinoff” had existed 15 years ago you probably would have made the same statements about the decision to make a “Blade” movie before doing other Marvel flagship titles.

    Quality of the comic does not always equate quality of the character. If a director or writer has a particular vision of a comic book character, popular or not, why would you bash it before even giving it a chance? Sometimes Hollywood can surprise us, and sometimes they don’t. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to get pouty about it years before it even starts filming.

  • demoncat_4

    admit that Marvel seems to be wanting to get films done of almost all the characters it can do before the comic book movie bubble bursts. with all being talked about in the works. that plus think marvel is focusing on these characters till they finaly have the rights back like to spider man . though like the fact doctor strange is finaly getting some movie loving . the cosmic area could be guardians of the galaxy or maybe silver surfer since fox is doing nothing with the character.

  • married guy

    I don’t mind how many movies they make, so long as the quality remains high.
    I think everything mentioned has potential to be a great movie.
    There’s just no need to rush into getting them made. Take the time to get ‘em right & people will watch ‘em.

  • John Cage

    Technically it started with Blade, except no one knew Blade was a comic character — Marvel didn’t even put their name on the movie IIRC. Sure Blade had been around for 20+ years and appeared in the Spider-Man cartoon, but there was nothing about the original film that said “comic book movie” like X-Men did when it was released two years later.

    Have a good day.
    John Cage

  • PhantomStranger

    Ahhhh men.

  • Jacob

    Yea, I knew Blade came first, but it didn’t feel like a superhero movie. It felt like a very bloody and action-y vampire movie. X-Men had superheros in superhero costumes doing superhero things. And even then, it’s still way too long to be a fad. Fads are a year or two. Not more than a decade. It might be “the ‘it’ thing” right now, but it’s still here to stay. Especially considering TDK’s billion dollar gross. It’ll be the same as spy movies, war movies, romantic comedies. There will be a couple of each every year.

  • Jacob

    Marvel should take Iron Fist and Dr. Strange to ABC. Hell, Hawkeye too, but Renner probably wouldn’t be up for that.

  • Jacob

    So all the things DnA were doing over in the Cosmic area don’t count? I think they reinvigorated several of those concepts back to being fresh and new. Like Darkhawk (I get he already existed, but they brought some wonderfully creative concepts to him). Or The Fault. Star-Lord’s Guardians of the Galaxy. There are still plenty of fresh and original concepts if you just get away from the big books and creators. Where the writers and artists are allows to take bigger risks than they would on say, The Avengers or Amazing Spider-Man

  • Todd Matthy

    Interesting points. When I first heard about Marvel creating their own studio I was a little concerned. The super hero movie bubble will eventually burst and I personally see “Avengers” as being the culmination of the so called “fad.” But, Marvel does have properties they can develop beyond super hero fare.

    “Black Widow” would make a great, James Bond-esqe, espionage thriller and one that is inexpensive to make. The Crossgen title, “Meridian” would make a great animated movie, if they are looking to get into that market. “Iron Fist” and “Master of Kung Fu” could be good genre movies as well. Marvel could capitalize on the horror genre with “Hellstorm” or even their version of “Dracula.” They can do fantasy with “Weirdworld” and finally family fare with “Power Pack.” Heck, Marvel could get in the romantic comedy game with “Venus” or “Millie the Model.”

    If I was Kevin Feige, I would look at Marvel’s entire library, especially the Atlas/Timely era, for non-superhero titles and start brainstorming sessions. They don’t have to green light or fast track anything, just brainstorm.

    So far, Marvel Studios has been able to attract top talent to work on their properties. They want their properties to be showcased in the best light possible. However, if they want to survive in the movie business, they need to expand beyond super hero movies and if you look at their publication history, there’s a lot there.

  • Coryjameson

    DOCTOR STRANGE. YES. However, they have to base it on the Steve Ditko years – keeping all of the psychedelic references and iconography. Doctor Strange was very much about the altered states of consciousness gaining popularity in the 1960’s. In fact, they may want to set the movie in the 60’s.

    Oh who am I kidding?! Disney would NEVER GO ALONG WITH THAT.

  • Cmurrie

    One thing to keep firmly in mind, is that there is a big difference between ‘in development’ and ‘in production.’ Every studio has piles upon piles of films in development. All ‘in development’ means is that treatments are being worked on, writers and directors are being courted, early look development is explored- all in the quest to hone a project into a state where the studio would then feel confidant to put major money behind and greenlight it for production. Projects can be in development for years, sometimes staffed by only handful of people… It will be quite easy for Marvel to spin lots of plates in the development phase. As long as they have 2 or 3 a year in active production, it serves them best to have a much larger amount at various stages in development.

  • Jemurr

    I agree with Col Manning, I shouldn’t have even clicked on this. Do you honestly not understand the difference between “We hope that holds true for….Black Widow, Hawkeye, and …SHIELD” and “There are definite release dates for xyz?” The only post Avengers film with a definite release date is Iron Man 3 which is set for May of 2013.

    “Doesn’t that seem like a lot of movies for a studio that’s so far seemed to only be able a workload of two movies at a time?” Yeah no crap. You think they’re going to make and release 9 movies in the same year? At most I bet they’ll do 2 blockbuster types/sequels and one movie of a lesser known character for a early spring or late year release (which would be on a lower budget/needs lower return). Don’t forget other studios are still making movies of X-men, Spiderman, and a few others. I think Marvel knows exactly what it’s doing.

    And as lots of people pointed out Blade was not only a successful movie, but a successful trilogy that still hasn’t had a long lasting comic series. Oh, and the Kung Fu movie could do a few different things, could be Master of Kung Fu. What Marvel “knows best” are it’s own characters. They’re building Marvel as a brand, which will help them with their superhero/other genre combos.

    Lots of people point to 2000s X-men, or 97’s Blade as the start of the Comic Book movie era, but if you really look they’ve been fairly steady since 1978’s Superman. (Though the modern boom could be said to have started in 2002, ever since then we’ve had multiple movies a year). Even Batman and Robin, fandom’s most hated movie, turned a profit. (Albeit a small one, cost 130 million, made 238). In other words the 30 year plus bubble isn’t going to burst because it’s not a bubble, it’s a cultural staple.

  • Jacob

    We have serials in the US too.

  • T. Van

    First-time poster here at CBR. Just wanted to mention that the only previously-mentioned “cosmic Marvel” project was Guardians of the Galaxy (not Nova). Additionally, there were prior reports of Marvel focusing some of their efforts on movies that could be made for less than $50 million… projects that could easily clear their negative returns. This is to say that some of the concerns expressed in this article are just not consistent with what we’ve heard thus far.

    In particular, the notion of a comic book movie “bubble” has consistently been presented in an intellectually clumbsy manner. As comics are more a medium than a genre, the argument is akin to saying that there is a bubble for books being translated to film. So, this looks to be a good discussion topic… even though the concerns are misplaced.

  • xman4life

    I admit after NOVA’s latest run in comics from DnA, there were a lot of similiarities to Green Lantern, but that’s not a bad thing, this was the first time in the character’s long history, he was finally being taken seriously, and the stories written by DnA were really drawing an audience. However, I would say NOVA is FAR from a Green Lantern rip off!!!

  • Joe

    I can so see them milking the cow. Dr. Strange is definitely happening. With the kind of budget it would get plus the fact that there aren’t any real epic movies about magic (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? ::BARF::) And then you have Iron Fist and Luke Cage in their own movies which then can be a spinoff for “Heroes for Hire” with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing and all those fools. And Black Panther… what you could do with the whole vibranium thing and how awesome that whole technology mixed with jungle and ancient tradition. That’s what makes marvel great all the worlds it explores. And then the sequels to the Avengers plus the individual Avengers own sequels… and not to mention sooner or later Marvel studios will acquire the rights to X-men, FF, Daredevil and Spider-man back and probably re-make those franchises into their world. I know at some point people will get sick of remakes but all those franchises need to be done right, specially the travesties which are X-men and FF. I feel the new Spiderman reboot is way too soon and unnecessary because I bet your soul to Mephisto that Marvel would still remake it under marvel studios. Dracula has been remade a gazillion times even though I don’t know who owns the rights to that old book.
    I read somewhere they were thinking of doing short films introducing some lesser known characters. I think that would absolutely rock and be relatively inexpensive. Think Moon Knight or guys like that. Look what that guy did with that self made mortal kombat 8 minute movie. Or however long it was. You don’t need a huge budget to introduce characters and let them catch buzz. In fact you can run them along multiple stories and create more of a serial and include it in the budget of the big movie but with lesser known actors. Or they can even be vehicles to their own tv shows, especially the urban heroes. Imagine Punisher for HBO or Daredevil.

  • Jacob

    Welcome to Spinoff. Appropriately titled because it’s like a lesser version than the original CBR. There’s an article like this every few days. You have been warned.

    As for cheap movies, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Shang-Chi, and other street level characters could easily be developed at that kind of level. But if it can be developed that cheaply, it would probably be better served as a television show.

  • Matthew Lane

    At this point, i kind of want to say: Stop making marvel comic book movies. Seriously, i don’t want to see another marvel comic movie for a decade. Forget the Avengers, forget Captain America, just stop it. I love both Comics & Movies, but marvel you can’t make movies… This is an intervention.

  • Matthew Lane

    Yep. DC understands that less is more.

  • Jacob

    An intervention? Are you serious? The movies have been fantastic! Don’t deprive those of us who enjoy them just because you don’t. Take your money, and instead of watching them, go see something you will enjoy. I love you Matthew, but you are spending your money unwisely. This is an intervention.

  • Matthew Lane

    Dude, most of those movies were terrible. If not for the prexisting fandom, they would be universal mocked as below average to bad across the board.

  • Jacob

    I’d never read an Iron Man comic, or even a comic featuring Iron Man, before seeing the movie. And I thought it was fantastic. Same thing with The Incredible Hulk. The movies are wonderful, just not your taste. Three out of four of these movies have been praised near universally. Not all of those reviewers are fans. In fact, I’d wager a guess that the ones that are, work for sites like CBR and IGN, and are far more critical than the average critic. Iron Man appeared on AFI’s Top Ten Movies of the Year.

  • Matthew Lane

    No i mean they are for the most part terrible. They constantly come in under what i would consider the minimum specifications for technical skill in every aspect of cinematography.

  • Ellispart3

    I dont think there’s a real issue of expanding too fast. i take that back, as long as the movies are good, then there shouldnt be an issue. Ive never heard anyone get pissed off about too many good movies coming out at once. Yes as comic book movies, they need to becareful with oversaturation of low quality films, they did it in the 90s and in the 2000s (ghost rider, daredevil, x3, fantastic four, steel, ect).

    waste time at

  • Gabriel

    Because DC has had such a GREAT track record with its movies… (Batman aside)

  • origamikid

    Renner is about to get fairly massive if this new Bourne movie takes off… I don’t know if I would watch a weekly show about any of those characters though.

    I don’t think they could support it, I’d take a S.H.I.E.L.D movie any day of the week… but TV shows? I’m not sure people would respond very well to a Dr. Strange tv show.

    Now if they took Luke Cage and Iron Fist and did a 80’s style buddy cop (heroes for hire) show… that would work weekly. Starsky and Hutch with superpowers.


    Several points. First, Marvel is now owned by Disney, whose core business revolves around films that provide them with branded properties, so it’s not surprising to see them pushing more films when they have branded properties of a type that seem to be working. Second, a lot of this could be signaling; showing investors that they’re planning to produce with the properties that they own is almost as important to raising the company’s stock as actually producing films, which is a whole other thing from actually making the movie. Third, there’s more than a little uncertainty about where media and pop culture is going; some of these proposals, and maybe even one or two of the additional projects, may just be to see if the market’s there and how much more market’s been opened by Iron Man and soon to be released products. They might let their brand get overworked, but given the expense of putting this stuff on the screen, I’d be more willing to bet that a good bit of it is just talk.

  • Daniel Chlebowczyk

    What stupid comments. Every Marvel movie has been good to excellent, while DC desperately tries to catch up. If they could, they’d produce just as many. You think they’re holding back to help your lame superiority complex?

  • Matthew Lane

    i can debunk that idea with one solitary word: Elektra.

    Both Marvel & DC have put out some shit films, but since DC puts out less films altogether, they also put out less shit films. An the reason DC puts out less films is simple. Like sharks Movie studios always have to keep on moving. Marvel studios can only produce marvel films, but Warner Brothers creates all sorts of films. Currently marvel is flooding the market with some not very good films, such as Thor (which was objectively bad as a film). Sooner or later people are going to be sick of shitty, poorly made comic book adaptations… same way that we all got sick of cheaply made, stuff blows up action movies… Sure alot of people use to think they were brilliant too. Now we look back on them with derision. Being in the middle of a trend is like being in the middle of a really vivid dream: You aren’t aware of it till its over.

  • 2000filmfan

    As a notion “the superhero bubble bursts” fad is really tired. Possibly started by Matthew Vaughn, there’s no studies, polls, nor history to prove this event will ever happen. Fanboy doom and gloom guarantees that studios will continue to wonder whether this audience segment has any validity in the planning and prediction department. At the worst, adventure genres like war movies, the western, and sci-fi reappear every few (years, seasons, and months), and actually compete for Oscars.

    Will audience tastes and interests change, of course? The romantic comedy is only vaguely similar to its 40’s, 50’s and 60’s ancestors. Yeah superhero movie production is the largest we have ever seen and we should expect some change in box office commitment to the volume of movies being made. Because Fox controls most of Marvel’s “A” list, other than sequels Marvel’s “C” list is it’s only option for long term feature film survival.

  • Matthew Lane

    Actually the point at which it becomes a fad is when everyone is doing it, or it boils down to formula. Kind of like how there were vampire stories long before twilight, but as soon as twilight came out we got flooded by a trend of poorly written vampire movies… many going direct to DVD.

  • Sinsear

    Okay, Matthew is it?

    Think very carefully about what you are saying here.

    Movies under complete creative control by Marvel Studios are Iron Man 1 and 2, Incredible Hulk, Captain America ,Thor, and avengers.

    Marvel had to let movie properties such as Blade/Ghostrider/Spider-man/Daredevil/Electra/X-Men/Fantastic Four go in the early 90’s for Financial reasons. They still have input into the films but definitly not creative control.

    “Currently marvel is flooding the market with some not very good films, such as Thor (which was objectively bad as a film)”
    So I take it you’ve seen thor then even though it’s yet to be released worldwide?
    Marvel thanks you for your money.

    “Flooding the market” with 2 films this year is a bit on the nose.

  • Sinsear

    Um the 3 movies Marvel Studios has released so far have box office figures that would agree to differ.
    Iron Man 1 and 2 and Incredible hulk pulled in pretty good numbers and their dvd sales and rentals are consistently high.

    Its okay to have different tastes just appreciate the fact that a lot of other people enjoy them.

    ” An intervention” as you call it is ridiculous.
    And the preexisting fanbase couldn’t possibly cover the $585,174,222 that Iron man made worldwide (source box office mojo).
    I doubt the 60,000 readers of Iron man comics a month would each fork out $9,742 each to see the movie.
    I’m thinking there may be a hole in your theory.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe no-one has mentioned Ka-Zar as a movie property! Especially as the savage land is a regular stage for interesting guest appearance by other heroes.

  • Brian from Canada

    And what would you prefer? Christopher Nolan?? He’s a technical director with no sense of how to direct an actor properly (compare the actors to every role they’ve done since), and no real sense of how to put together a story that’s exciting throughout the film.

    Comicbook movies are tailor made for the blockbuster era: built in product expansion for supporting the promotion, and an easy mix between the action (bringing in the 18-24 males) and family dynamic (bringing in parents with their kids). NO other genre has that many titles to offer the studios — and Marvel is proving over and over again that they can hit the mark far more than others.

    Yes, Elektra was a misstep. Not hunting for a director as good as Singer for X-Men 3 was a lesson Fox had to learn. But the lessons were learned.

    Which is FAR less than WB has learned with DC, incidentally. Jonah Hex and Catwoman both remind me of Supergirl’s lesson that you DON’T fuck with the character origin and powers set. The “dark” Watchmen failed at the box office after Dark Knight’s success, yet they’re STILL pushing the fact they want a “dark” story for Flash of all characters.

  • Brian from Canada

    You’re missing so many points along the way, Graeme, that it’s become laughable.

    First and foremost: the floating loan Marvel got from Manhattan Chase with the Paramount deal was for the distribution of TEN character-based films. Not ten films, ten CHARACTER-based. That means they had to develop ten.

    Second: Your power in Hollywood is defined by your success AND your plan. You make a billion dollar grosser… what do you follow it up with? And Marvel’s doing just that: every success, they talk about what’s coming next.

    Third: The movie business, as already pointed out, is one of subcontracting. These movies may be “in house,” but each has a separate production company (for legal reasons) and are run for the director who brings in his own vision.

    And fourth, MOST IMPORTANTLY: Marvel’s well aware of scheduling. Note that Ant Man has been on the rumour mill for quite some time, including having a finished script that just didn’t fit in with the first Avengers movie (though Whedon liked it a lot) and a desired cast list (which, if Fillion & Longoria, would have a very short window to shoot in).

    THIS year and next are the confluence of a lot of small coincidences — including long-term planning for The Avengers that saw Thor and Captain America get what they wanted at the same time for a lead into a film another year away.

    Sony’s licenses having window closures if no movie is made, hence Ghost Rider 2 and Spider-Man. Spider-Man was actually to come earlier, had they not had a meltdown with Sam Raimi, and Raimi walked because studio interference hurt his last film.

    Fox owns X-Men and Fantastic Four outright, and wanted to see more returns, which Wolverine opened up for them. Jackman, however, isn’t getting any younger and needs to see his final Wolverine sooner than later — which is why Wolverine is being aimed for next year.

    And with SEVEN films over the next year and a quarter, Marvel has no other films other than Iron Man 3 locked in. Sure, some of these new films will get sequels — Singer wants an Uncanny sequel to the First Class, and both Thor and Cap are expected to get sequels as well as possibly Spider-Man — but there’s other avenues to explore too.

    Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Iron Fist (though Shang-Chi would work just as well), Silver Surfer… each of these are far enough away from the big names that they can stand on their own as separate films. Because, really, at the end of it, THAT’S what Marvel needs to do to survive — expand.

    WB isn’t making huge money from DC. In fact, only three of their heroes are scheduled for big screen appearances… and one of those (Batman) is already slated for a reboot before the present cycle ends! Where they’re really scoring is films like R.E.D., which are comics out of the genre. And Cowboys & Aliens is another example of a film that’s comics-based but nobody knows.

    Pretty much every year since 1978 has had a comics-based movie, even WITH dogs like Barb Wire, latter sequels to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Richie Rich. But the trend is not going to go away — it’s a staple of movie making. Marvel dominates the market for source material at its source (the comic store), now it needs to figure out how to keep that success in the box office, and there’s a very real chance it might succeed.

    Just as they might succeed in television if Disney plays its cards right.

  • Jacob

    It’s a fad when everyone is doing it? So then… movies with sound are a fad. Movies with color are a fad. It stops being a fad when it doesn’t deflate and die. This genre is showing no signs of going anywhere.

  • Shaun

    Brian, looks like the masses disagree with your feelings about Nolan… And yes, I do have a preference for Nolan. I’d love to see him keep making Batman films forever, although I realize next year’s is likely his last. I hope he’ll be able to help reboot Superman for the 21st century as well.

    I watched a few minutes of Superman: The Movie while stumbling across it on TV yesterday and I couldn’t sit through the goofiness of Hackman’s Luthor, Otis and Ms. Teschmacher… Superman Returns was even worse. Although Nolan’s not directing Man Of Steel, I hope his “guiding hand” will (finally) result in a Superman movie that properly presents the character, and on a scale that’s worthy of said character.

  • Anonymous

    Dr. Who is pretty much Dr. Strange with Science Fiction instead of Magic. So I do think it can work as a TV series. Just make sure to add an audience-identification character (like The Doctor does with his Companions) and introduce the mythos at a right pace (don’t start with Dormammu right off!)

  • Matthew Lane

    Actually we were talking about content, not medium. Of course you knew that, you were deliberately passing of a hasty generalization as fact, in the hopes that it would make your previous statements true.

    Superhero movies are a relatively recent “fad” & its one that is bound to pass relatively quickly. The production companies will either get better at making good films, or they will cease to make movies in the genre. Just like all genres, when they become common place, its no longer enough for a movie just to be in a particular genre, it also needs to be good. Look at every past fad genre; action movies, westerns, sci-fi, slasher flicks etc.

  • Matthew Lane

    Doesn’t matter if its marvel directly, or marvel working with someone else: 2 movies a year is two movies to many if they are not all that good. As for Thor not having a world wide release yet, its been out here since Thursday the 21st. Thor was not a good film. It was a very ordinary film, with a paper thin plot, poor dialogue & no chemistry between Thor & Jane. See im not judging Thor as a comic book movie; im judging it just as a movie & as a movie it was overly average… In the same way that most marvel based property films are. DC has been only slightly better with its Batman franchise as a whole & only because they’ve been making them for 20 years, so they mostly worked the kinks out.

    I’m hoping that Captain America is better then Thor, but the movie i’m really hanging out for from marvel is Runaways, because its a character piece, not a power piece. Runaways has a chance to be really good.

  • Jacob

    How is Doctor Who Dr. Strange with Sci-Fi (that would be the other way around, btw)? Doctor Who’s core concept is that he’s a centuries old time traveler who travels with [mostly] humans and has all kinds of fun, wacky, and scary adventures. Dr. Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme. He protects all of magic everywhere or someshit. Head honcho magic guy. That’s his thing.

  • Matthew Lane

    And the biggest indi grossing movie in Australia was “The Room.” It was also voted the worst movie of all time. With movies that have preexisting fandoms, it doesn’t matter how shit your movie is, people are still going to go and see it: Its the Fanboy Effect.

  • Jacob

    If it doesn’t die, then it remains a fad forever? Because there are still westerns. Still “slasher flicks.” Still superhero movies. If it doesn’t die, it was never a fad. It’s at about eleven years and still going strong. Still getting bigger.

  • Matthew Lane

    Nope, at that point the fad fades away (you know, because everyone is no longer making that sort of story). For instance American made ninja movies was a fad of the late 80’s early 90’s & to be honest they were generally terrible. The fad died out due to the fact that they did not improve & people lost interest in there sole feature (ninjas). Now occasionally a ninja movie is made, but its really rare. Th fad died out.

  • Anonymous

    Uh, Blade usually can’t support comic these days but all his films we’re blockbusters.

  • Jacob

    Right. But there are still a couple westerns a year. A couple slasher films a year. A couple superhero movies a year. Those weren’t fads. Action movies. Spy movies. IF superhero movies stop being made, I’ll consent they were a fad. As it stands now though, not so much.

  • Jacob

    When was Blade’s last solo series? 2007? I think it’s time they gave it another try…

  • origamikid

    Those movies were made like 11 or 12 years ago dude– and I think you might be swinging the term “blockbuster” around a little lightly there. At the end of the day that’s a fairly unknown character, not really marketed as a marvel property during promotion, and about a vampire slayer. Who wouldn’t watch that… it has Snipes in it when he was super popular!

    I dunno; all I’m saying is that a general public are going to opt to go and see a movie based on a well known character that looks cool. But I can’t see them flocking to go and see a movie about an archer and a super spy spinning out of Avengers… look at how the spin-out movies have failed so far (Catwoman, Elektra, Punisher).

    I never said I had all the answers, I’m just offering up a carefully considered opinion. Marvel need to be careful now, a wrong step and they could throw the whole line out of public favor.

  • Toneloak

    I love the idea of Dr. Strange at Burning Man.

  • mike t

    Yeah. Constantine. Catwoman. Jonah Hex. Superman Returns… you are so sure of yourself.

  • TVjoker

    Is it just me or is every Spinoff article that Comicbookresources brings me too just the author complaining or being worried about something he’s got no proof for actually being a real problem?

  • iheargood

    The key word here is “developing,” which is something that every studio, big or small, does on a continual basis. Certainly, there are properties within the Marvel cannon that make more sense than others to get the film treatment, but exploring the possibilities on the page and within development meetings is a cheap and effective way to suss out what has more potential.

    Marvel has shown some pretty good restraint by Hollywood standards. Ant Man and Runaways are pretty far in the development stage, but neither has been rushed into production simply to get a film into theaters in order to occupy an open weekend slot. That to me demonstrates that Marvel Studios is exhibiting a greater sense of care and caution than most mini-majors around town.

    The other solid sign is Marvel’s careful selection of creative teams. Favreau, Branagh, Johnston, Whedon, Black… These people weren’t selected because they made a couple flashy music videos – they have unique voices, solid movie making chops, and a passion for the material. Whether its Favreau’s ability to make unlikable characteristics likeable for an audience (Made, Elf), Branagh’s affection for royal drama (Henry V, Hamlet), Johnston’s gung-ho pulp Americana (The Rocketeer), Whedon’s rich characterization with multiple castmembers (Buffy, Firefly) or Shane Black’s wickedly funny action beats (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) – every director has been selected to guide a project that utilizes what they do best.

    Even Incredible Hulk had its moments, but the film falls apart because there were too many cooks trying to get their way in the kitchen. Also, Leterrier falls under the category of a technician – he doesn’t care about the humans in a story, just what he can make them do that looks cool. His Clash of the Titans also illustrates this point.

  • Guest

    I can debunk your degunk with one word: Catwoman

  • Capt USA(Jim)

    Do you really think Nova would be the go to choice for a cosmic Marvel movie? I would have assumed that Silver Surfer(forget the dreadful FF movie) relaunch would make more sense. Of course I would fully endorse a Rocket Raccoon movie.

  • Jacob

    They always bring you to McMillan’s articles. The rest of the site is a decent source for news.

  • Canucklehead

    Personally i would rather see a crap load of Marvel movies come out then Fast & Furious 6, Transformers 3, G.I. Joe 2, or a new Bourne Trilogy. I know the Marvel properties are not exactly “new” ideas, but its way better then a bunch of stupid remakes. Good movies are good movies. If they are done right, I’ll watch them all.

  • Chauncey Navarro

    The barrage of movies, may be to their advantage. Warner Bros. is counting on their DC movies to fill the Harry Potter spots. But they’ve been pretty slow about getting anything out so far, while Marvel is still going strong. Don’t get me wrong I’m looking forward to them doing a good job on Green Lantern. The demand for more good action adventure movies is higher than ever. Nobody hardly knew who Blade was before Wesley Snipes did the movie, and that was only because he got tired of waiting for the Black Panther Movie to come out, which it still hasn’t. Some comics may make better movies than comics if they do them well. But I do agree Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Black widow should carry the shield movie first. But I think they should bring in Spiderwoman and a few other shield agents.

  • American Ritual

    So you’re saying the usual gang of random action movies starring Angelina Jolie, Jason Stratham, Jake Gylen-whatever, unproven stories, drawn up through old-school, borefest Hollywood script writing, is better than a Hawkeye or Iron Fist movie done by a talented team?

    I don’t get it.

  • Anonymous

    Actually Strange came out before Who (only by a few months but still.)

    Anyway my point is that, from the audience’s point of view, they are similar- mysterious, powerful guys (who seem to know everything) who are good (despite occasional appearances) and have adventures on all kind of crazy places (whether in time, space or other dimensions- and Strange has done his share of time travel btw.) Also, the Doctor may not have an official title but we know he’s effectively the protector of his universe (which is what the Sorcerer Supreme is, not just some magic overseer.) And both have cool headquarters that are bigger on the inside than outside. They have also fought similar menaces (The Master = Baron Mordo, Daleks = Mindless Ones, not to mention the wild assortment of abominations with reality-crushing powers both have encountered eg. Shuma Gorath, Sutekh etc.)

    Oh and they can both be dicks at times.

    I’m not saying one has ever ripped the other off, it could be all coincidences. But their basic concepts, from the average viewers POV, aren’t that different. Except one uses magic and the other uses technology that might as well be magic.

    So if Who can work as TV show, so can Strange.

  • Ian Explosivo

    An Iron Fist movie based on the Brubaker / Fraction run would be outrageous!

  • Jacob

    For some reason, I was thinking Doctor Who came out in 1961…

    Hmmm I see your points. I really do. But that also takes analysis. Which is something the average viewer won’t do. (I’m a fan of both, I didn’t put it together, and I consider myself fairly intelligent.) Even if the similarities are present and obvious, they won’t look at Strange and see Who.

    One more thing is Sorcerer Supreme only deals with magical threats. There is a Scientist Supreme (currently Hank Pym) to deal with the science-y stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, the two shows would LOOK very different- Strange has always been more flashy than The Doctor- but it wouldn’t take long for a regular viewer (that has seen Who) to see a live action Dr. Strange show and see strange locales and/or monsters in every episode and go “Hey, this is just like Dr. Who!”

    (And there’s also the titles. ;) )

    Btw the Sorcerer Supreme protects the entire universe from whatever threatens it, magical or not; this was most obvious in the Defenders series where Strange rounded up heroes to help him deal with alien invaders and such. It’s just that most people associate him with magic and so write him dealing only with that. (Besides the other heroes have the rest of the stuff covered most of the time.)

    Oh and the Scientist Supreme is just the rank of A.I.M.’s leader. Or it was the last time I looked.

  • 38yrsold on this planet

    Doctor Strange could be awsome.

    IRON FIST is like punisher… just another Karate movie. ( just as punisher is just another vigilante flick)

    Sam Jackson is TOO OLD to kick any ass in anything so he will just be in the back ground of the AVENGERS films.
    I highly doubt anyone will care to see BLACK WIDOW or HAWKEYE in a solo movie.

    BTW– people are going to HATE Hawkeye in the Avengers movie because they are NOT using the costume AT ALL for him.

  • Jacob

    I can see the logic there, but agree to disagree. We’re getting into psychosis, and I have barely a fleeting familiarity with that.

    Hank Pym was given the title of Scientist Supreme in Dan Slott’s Mighty Avengers run. Eternity gives him the title and said that he’s supposed to deal with the science stuff. Could’ve been (probably was) a retcon, but that’s how it was presented. And The Marvel Universe Wiki defines Sorcerer Supreme as “practitioner of the mystic or magic arts who has greater skills than all others or commands a greater portion of the ambient magical energies than any other organism on a given world or dimension.” But it’s an awful source.

  • ingenuus

    i meant from the “movie making” side of things. it doesnt matter if the consumer sees it as a comic movie, it showed hollywood that there is a demand for this type of story in my mind. that is how the trends go…one studio does something that works and that starts the process of everyone jumping on and making their version (this was more a slow burn for sure).

  • Brian from Canada

    The goofiness of Hackman’s Lex Luthor is hard to deal with now in the post-crisis era. If you go back to the Silver Age material, you’ll see that it’s actually far more accurate to how Superman was at the time. Superman Returns was made to connect to that, rather than the modern version which makes him a “boy scout.”

    (And, that said, Superman: The Movie gives him that scale. Superman Returns showed his power level accurately. The idea that Superman is greater than just one man is going to disappoint anyone who approaches a film version of that.)

    As for Nolan and “the masses,” keep in mind the masses said Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen was a fantastic movie too. Batman Begins borrowed heavily from Gaiman’s Year One, and Heath Ledger’s performance was excellent in Dark Knight, but the rest of it relies on a technical bag of tricks that the Academy — thankfully — noticed with Inception: just like M. Night Shamalan, McG and Superman director Zack Snider, he’s got tricks for hiding the fact that he’s not an ACTOR’S director or much of a story director overall.

    And I think that the critics’ revisiting of Dark Knight when it was released on DVD (with the realization they read far too much into it), coupled with the fact that Warner’s can’t seem to make the formula work elsewhere, says a lot too. Not that it’s a bad movie and doesn’t deserve to be noticed, but it’s not the greatest superhero movie either nor one of the best cinematic achievements as many present it to be.

    Personally, I think this whole “Batman has to be dark” has hurt the character far more than it helped. The Adam West Batman was the closest it’s ever matched the comics of the day (no matter how much WB and DC claim it shouldn’t be) and all of the darkness has taken away from the fact that he’s a man who relies on legend more than brooding and darkness to be effective. Criminals got off the street because Batman might be out there, not because Batman’s gonna hit you with technical toys you can’t imagine. (Plus, for the “World’s Greatest Detective,” Dark Knight showed little detecting and an almost deus ex machina ending with the computer.)

  • Brian from Canada

    Minor correction: Harry Potter’s spots are going to Oz, which is going to be revisited to the books rather than the musical that’s very loosely based on the first of over thirty of them — books which Disney, incidentally, learned are much darker when they became the only studio to actually did one of the sequels decades back.

    WB is seeing DC as the best competition for Marvel, and it’s really not surprising that their enthusiasm for a JLA movie comes right before Green Lantern just as Marvel’s for Avengers came with Iron Man.

    The two key differences are, unlike Marvel, DC’s two biggest properties have to be rebooted to fit INTO that group dynamic, which is why Nolan will be following his third Batman movie with a search for a director who will reboot the Dark Knight into a JLA-compatible character. And, unlike Marvel, they’re not dripping in subsidiary characters to augment the big guns, they’re going to use Batman, Superman, Green Lantern (and possibly Flash if they can find a dark twist to him that fits Nolan’s vision) to launch post-JLA films for Wonder Woman, Aquaman and *cough* *cough* Martian Manhunter.

  • Brian from Canada

    Agreed on Dr. Strange — if written right, this would work. And, personally, I think the lack of complaint that Patrick Dempsey’s name is being circulated indicates they may be on the right path for that one.

    Iron Fist is not like Punisher. If anything, it’s more like the Hong Kong action movies of the past, mixing mysticism and action together. It could work, though I think the Enter The Dragon-inspired Master Of Kung-Fu would be a lot better, especially since you could get an Asian action star, a decent Brit for his controller, a top-flight martial arts director, and make the film stand out.

    You do know that Fury is a string-puller, don’t you? Expect Jackson to have his moments, but otherwise be the one setting up the rest of The Avengers. Black Widow and Hawkeye may be harder sells — but as for Hawkeye’s costume: dude, it’s the ULTIMATE version of the costume, not the classic Marvel one, without the sleeves and with the high-tech goggles. That matches the more soldier-based uniform for Cap as well, rather than the spandex. In that context, it works, and only the die-hard, anti-Ultimates fans will hate it.

  • Ian33407

    I can assure you I ain’t bashing for free. All the specialized press and long time readers would say it : NOVA had been created to concur with GL (the point was to end with a similitary space corps, and see the similataries between the origins) as MOONKNIGHT was supposed to be a rival for BATMAN…

  • Ian33407

    I’d be all for a Richard Stanley’ KILLRAVEN..

  • Ian33407

    are u sure ? The rumors I had were about CAPTAIN MARVEL..

  • Anonymous

    That’s definitely a retcon. Strange has protected the universe from foes such a Yandroth, a scientist from another dimension. Admittedly, nearly every menace he faced was supernatural in some way, and most heroes seek his help only when dealing with the supernatural, but (going by the comics) the Sorcerer Supreme, a position (apparently) created by the benevolent trinity The Vishanti, is to protect the universe, period. The idea of a ‘Scientist Supreme’ seems redundant (and why is Hank getting THAT job and not Reed Richards? That’s like replacing Strange with Brother Voodoo- oh wait.)

  • Jacob

    Hank asked why it was him and not Reed and Eternity said that Reed was “The Explorer.” But yea, makes sense that it was a retcon. Felt like one. Still though, would love a Doctor Strange show. (for shits and giggles, Tennant should play Strange)

  • Anonymous

    Martian Manhunter could work in live action. The idea of an alien (who doesn’t look human, nor was raised by one) living among us in disguise but only to hunt criminals is offbeat and could be used in a sort of “Science Fiction Noir” movie, focusing on J’onn learning about humanity as he tries to adapt to his role as Detective Jones. Maybe even a TV series. Add the fact that he’s the last of his species (not true in all versions) for added pathos as he wonders if humanity could ever replace them.

  • Daniel Elkin

    Like “Man from Atlantis”!

  • Lex

    Perhaps for this, it’s a good thing that Marvel is part of Disney. That way when people get sick of the comic book movies, they will be better off. Hey, people get sick of things. It happens.

  • T.

    I thought the same thing! Haha. In fact I only clicked on it to check if it was him.