Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

Comic Book Movies: Hollywood's New Westerns


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
226 replies to this topic

#1 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 05 2007 - 08:57 AM

We're now in an era where anything based on a comic book has a shot at becoming a major motion picture and/or mega-bucks franchise. Not since the days of the Hollywood Western has the industry been so obsessed with a certain type of genre entertainment. Comic book and graphic novel writers are now in positions where they have studios battling over their creations to snag the film rights to whatever it is they come up with.

Three movies basically sealed the deal for studio execs in terms of comic book features becoming a viable Hollywood commodity. 1978's "Superman: The Movie" was the first major motion picture to bring legitimacy to the genre, 1989's "Batman" showed how much merchandising money a superhero property could generate (on top of the massive hype), while 2002's "Spider-Man" showed that a movie based on a comic book could become one of the biggest worldwide hits in film history.

Nowadays, every studio is looking for its big comic book feature and/or franchise. The next several years will see film adaptations of "Captain America", "30 Days of Night", "Ronin", "Namor: The Sub-Mariner", "The Flash", "Shazam", "Wonder Woman", "The Spirit", "Iron Man", "Wolverine", "Ant-Man", "Magneto", "The Green Hornet", "Watchmen", "Justice League", "Green Arrow", "Priest", "Green Lantern", "Wanted", and "Y: The Last Man". Most of these properties are hoped to become mega-bucks franchises for their respective studios.

Here is a list of films based on comic books that have done very well for studios since 1978's "Superman: The Movie"...

(earned more than $70 million)
"Spider-Man" (Sony) $403.7 million
"Spider-Man 2" (Sony) $373.6 million
"Batman" (WB) $251.2 million
"Men in Black" (Sony) $250.7 million
"X-Men: The Last Stand" (Fox) $234.4 million
"X2: X-Men United" (Fox) $214.9 million
"300" (WB) $207.5 million
"Batman Begins" (WB) $205.3 million
"Superman Returns" (WB) $200.1 million
"Men in Black II" (Sony) $190.4 million
"Batman Forever" (WB) $184.0 million
"Batman Returns" (WB) $162.8 million
"X-Men" (Fox) $157.3 million
"Fantastic Four" (Fox) $154.7 million
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (New Line) $135.3 million
"Superman: The Movie" (WB) $134.2 million
"Hulk" (Universal) $132.2 million
"The Mask" (New Line) $119.9 million
"Ghost Rider" (Sony) $115.8 million
"Superman II" (WB) $108.2 million
"Batman & Robin" (WB) $107.3 million
"Road to Perdition" (DreamWorks) $104.4 million
"Dick Tracy" (Disney) $103.7 million
"Daredevil" (Fox) $102.5 million
"Casper" (Universal) $100.3 million
"Blade II" (New Line) $82.3 million
"Alien vs. Predator" (Fox) $80.3 million (though both were already separate film franchises, it was the popularity of the comic book title that prompted Fox to make this movie)
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze" (New Line) $78.7 million
"Constantine" (WB) $76.0 million
"Sin City" (Dimention) $74.1 million
"V for Vendetta" (WB) $70.5 million
"Blade" (New Line) $70.1 million

"Spider-Man 3", "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer", and "Transformers" (though it technically began as a toyline before becoming a popular comic title) will be joining this list well before the end of this summer. Next year should also see "The Dark Knight", "Iron Man", "The Incredible Hulk", "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For", and "Watchmen" join this list.

With the studios mining so many comic book properties, is there a chance that they could run this genre into the ground? Or can they continually use comic books as "go to" material because they're all so different? Judging by how many of these things are being green lit every day, I think the studios could mine several years worth of profitable hits/franchises off of comics as long as the films themselves do more right than wrong.

With the big boom of comic titles turning into profitable studio franchises, we're also going to see sequels and/or "re-imaginings" of comic book films that weren't big hits upon their initial releases. These titles include a sequel to the 2004 film "Hellboy" ($59.6 million), a long-in-development new version of "Spawn" (the initial film earned $54.9 million back in 1997), an updated version of "Flash Gordon" (the campy 1980 version earned only $27 million upon its release), and a sequel to 2004's "The Punisher" ($33.8 million).

For more than 50 years the Hollywood Western was a staple of the film industry. I don't know if comic book movies will last nearly as long, but this is a genre that isn't going away anytime soon. Besides, for all his popularity, The Duke didn't sell nearly as many toys as Batman does. Posted Image
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#2 of 227 OFFLINE   Cory S.

Cory S.

    Supporting Actor



  • 983 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 07 2004

Posted May 05 2007 - 09:06 AM

Terry,

Marvel's last few films have almost run this genre into the ground, if you ask me. I mean, if you really look at it, Marvel hasn't a great film released since Spider-Man 2...that was three years ago.
"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves.  But, not the one it needs right now.  So, we'll hunt.  Because he can take.  Because, he's not a hero.  He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector.  A DARK KNIGHT."

#3 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 05 2007 - 09:18 AM

Cory, believe me when I say that I get where you're coming from, but the only thing studio execs are looking at is all the money they're making from these movies. While many bemoan how X3 turned out, it remains the biggest hit of the X-Men franchise. Both "Daredevil" and "Ghost Rider" were crucified by fans and critics alike, yet both did extremely well at the box office. "Daredevil" even had stronger-than-expected DVD sales prompting the studio to talk about doing another one (with a new leading man). Nicolas Cage is said to be close to inking a deal to do a "Ghost Rider" sequel tentatively set for a '09 release.

The studios aren't looking at these properties for their creative challenges, they're only interested in the billions of revenue these things generate. As fans of these films, all we can do is hope that the studio hires the right people to do them. I do think the studios hire more good people to helm these things than bad. For every Joel Schumacher there are guys like Chris Nolan, Sam Raimi, and Bryan Singer.
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#4 of 227 OFFLINE   Cory S.

Cory S.

    Supporting Actor



  • 983 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 07 2004

Posted May 05 2007 - 09:41 AM

Terry,

I know. It's just frustrating that it goes like this (apart of my post has alot to do with the fact that I just came from seeing Spider-Man 3.).

It's always about the bottom dollar and it'll remain that way. I guess it gets most frustrating because the studios, who only look at the dollar signs, will think it's okay to have crappy scripting and lazy filmmaking...just as long as it makes the dough. And, to me, that's just sad.

But, as you said, there are good people trying to tell good stories. A lot of them just seem to get railroaded by the suits. A few have broken the mold and continue to do so....
"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves.  But, not the one it needs right now.  So, we'll hunt.  Because he can take.  Because, he's not a hero.  He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector.  A DARK KNIGHT."

#5 of 227 OFFLINE   Andy Sheets

Andy Sheets

    Screenwriter



  • 2,371 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2000

Posted May 05 2007 - 09:46 AM

Quote:
With the studios mining so many comic book properties, is there a chance that they could run this genre into the ground? Or can they continually use comic books as "go to" material because they're all so different?

I would say that's pretty much it - "comic book movie" is a genre that's comprised of whatever genres happen to be present in comics, so as long they're looking at a variety of source material it shouldn't disappear. It's not like producers stop looking to adapt novels because one or two flop.

I can see superhero movies getting played out (already on its way, I think), but something like 30 Days of Night could spawn a horror franchise if it's handled right.

#6 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 05 2007 - 10:13 AM

Andy, I see what you're saying, but most comic book movies as a genre are seen differently to execs than films based on a regular novel or former television show. Comic titles, for the most part, have some sort of a fantasy element to them that locks them into their genre, again as far as most execs are concerned. There are exceptions like "Road to Perdition" and "A History of Violence", but with most comic properties the studios see them as an opportunity to load it with cool CG FX based on the respective book's source material.

In a studio exec's mind, lots of action/CG and being based on a popular comic title is basically a license to print money. I don't think superhero flicks are in any danger of being run into the ground just yet because we as movie-goers generally love seeing a costumed hero doing the fantastic on the big screen.

Cory, judging from your review I take it your Spidey 3 experience wasn't a pleasant one. As you said though, the "suits" can really destroy a project, but that often is the case when a movie is made by committee. For example, with "Batman & Robin" the studio (WB) was far more interested in selling merchandise than making a good movie.

While Spidey 3 isn't the train wreck that B&R was, you can tell that it became a "committee" made movie because so many execs and producers wanted so many things to be inserted into the plot. Sony will get away with it this time because Spidey 3, even if it has really short legs, is going to be hugely successful. You just hope that with the next trilogy of movies the execs at Sony, as well as producer Avi Arad, show a little more restraint.
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#7 of 227 OFFLINE   Holadem

Holadem

    Lead Actor



  • 8,972 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2000

Posted May 05 2007 - 11:33 AM

Wow, pretty surprised to see Spiderman at the top of the box office in this genre. With the plethora of these flicks getting released every year (or so it seems), I wouldn't have thought the current record holder would be 5 years old.

--
H

#8 of 227 OFFLINE   Cory S.

Cory S.

    Supporting Actor



  • 983 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 07 2004

Posted May 05 2007 - 11:39 AM

Terry,

Yeah, my Spider-Man 3 viewing was extremely unpleasant. I mean, it just didn't have the grace and heart of Spider-Man 2, although, it tried really, really hard to have the heart when you get to the specifics of the Mary Jane storyline.

But, yes, the producers and suits had their hands in the pot with this film. I mean, you can just feel it compared to film two. And as you said, they'll get away with it because of the popularity of the character.

I still think that Sony shouldn't expect a 400 million dollar hit with this film just based on word of mouth.

The genre is still not dead yet. We still have another Singer Superman film, at least two Nolan Batman films left, Iron Man, the possibility of the Fantastic Four becoming a quality franchise if the second (based on the trailer) is a hit, and not to mention that at least one of these studios is going to at least attempt a "team-up" feature film. That's the next step in this genre.

Now, will the studios come together and work out a deal to where you can have a "team up"situation happen? That's the question because we all know egos will get involved during those negotiations.
"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves.  But, not the one it needs right now.  So, we'll hunt.  Because he can take.  Because, he's not a hero.  He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector.  A DARK KNIGHT."

#9 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 05 2007 - 12:17 PM

Cory, based on the word of mouth Spidey 3 has received thus far, Sony should not expect a $400 million-plus domestic performance. Anything over $300 mil will be considered a big "win". I think the execs will end up being pleased with the movie's performance because Spidey 3 will likely pull in between $325 and $350 mil before its all said and done.

As for a "team up", outside of the DC universe, the only movie I can see it happening with is "The Avengers", largely because Paramount has the most distribution deals with Marvel. Outside of these instances, I can't see it happening. As you said, too many egos and way too much money would be involved. This is where DC has a slight advantage over Marvel. DC's entire library is owned by WB, hence why they can develop projects like "Batman vs. Superman" (which will still happen one day), "Justice League", and "Super Max" (which will feature Green Arrow and many second-tier villains from the DC universe).

Fox, Lionsgate, New Line, Paramount, Sony, and Universal all have properties from the Marvel library so a team-up in that universe would be extremely tough to put together. Fox did do the smart thing by using FF2 as a launching pad for their Silver Surfer series, something Paramount may opt to do in the future. Fox also used the massive success of the X-Men franchise as a starting point for future film series focusing on Wolverine and Magneto. Other than that example, I don't see too many more team-up flicks on the horizon.

As I stated before, it could happen at Paramount since they easily have the most Marvel heroes in their stable. Paramount has distribution deals for "Ant-Man", "Black Panther", "Captain America", "Deathlock", "Iron Man", and "Nick Fury" to name a handful. There has been talk that Paramount wants to launch franchises for "Captain America", "Ant-Man", and "Nick Fury" via "The Avengers" as a starting point (much like the direct-to-video series Lionsgate did to launch a separate "Iron Man" movie). Paramount is obviously using Fox as their example.
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#10 of 227 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

Sam Favate

    Producer



  • 4,908 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 03 2004
  • Real Name:Sam Favate

Posted May 06 2007 - 12:10 AM

Like all movie trends, this one is bound to be over someday, and unless good films start being made soon, that's going to happen quickly. The critical drubbing Spiderman 3 is getting could be the beginning of the end. Unless Dark Knight and Man of Steel are great movies (in addition to being big box office), the trend could be finished in the next few years.

#11 of 227 OFFLINE   Quentin

Quentin

    Screenwriter



  • 2,507 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 04 2002
  • Real Name:Quentin H
  • LocationLos Angeles

Posted May 06 2007 - 04:42 PM

Good observation, Terry. And, totally true.

And, like the western, comic book movies (stories) are modern mythos. Heros, villains, all the trappings. They aren't as uniquely American, but close.

I think as long as enough inventive thought continues (The Matrix, Sin City, 300, V for Vendetta, Watchmen - all comic book movies that are different from the basic superhero movies), the trend will continue. Even when we get duds like Ghost Rider and Spider-Man 3.

BTW, FF2 looks like fun. Posted Image

#12 of 227 OFFLINE   Holadem

Holadem

    Lead Actor



  • 8,972 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2000

Posted May 07 2007 - 01:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Favate
Like all movie trends, this one is bound to be over someday, and unless good films start being made soon, that's going to happen quickly. The critical drubbing Spiderman 3 is getting could be the beginning of the end.
Yeah, a movie which is destroying all kinds of box office records is gonna signal the death knell of the genre due to "critical drubbing" -- which we all knwo is what keeps studio execs up at night Posted Image.

--
H - edited to rephrase.

#13 of 227 OFFLINE   JonZ

JonZ

    Lead Actor



  • 7,793 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 28 1998

Posted May 07 2007 - 01:41 AM

"Yeah, a movie which is destroying all kinds of box office records is gonna signal the death knell of the genre due to "critical drubbing"


According to box office mojo, Spidey cost 256mil, domestic is 148 and foreign 227 = 375mil, in just 3 days!


Well Spiderman has been dependable, until now. People can start seeing the whole thing as oversaturated with so many superhero films out there.Spiderman appeals to the very young, which isnt the case with some like Ghost Rider or even Fantastic Four.While I think they will get away with SM3, Sony better put some serious thought into the next one if they want to make 3 more of these and please the older crowd. Becuase IMHO Spiderman or not, while parents will go with children the older crowd will abandon the franchise if they make lacking films.

Are kids going to come in droves for a Antman, Namor, Black Panther, Deathlok or Nick Fury movie? I dont think so. But a strong film may bring in adults.

While Spiderman may have some immunity to the genre dying out, others wont be so lucky. The X2 and Spiderman 2's are becoming more rare as Marvel has put out some stuff really lacking lately.

Hulk should have done huge business, but it didnt. Why? Bad word of mouth IMHO.

Batman Begins started very slowly but lingered for a long time. I think people were avoiding it because of B&R but as word circulated about how good it was, people began showing up. I think the Batman sequel will do very well based on the strength of BB. A bad sequel will prob kill the franchise again.

The next Superman sequel really needs to get good reviews and word of mouth - since people were so love/hate about SR.

So I do thing bad or good reviews, word of mouth matter as theyve affected the 3 examples above for instance.

#14 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 07 2007 - 03:57 AM

Jon is dead on. Word of mouth is everything.

"Batman Begins" not only had to get over the hangover of B&R, but also a pretty poor marketing job on WB's part in promoting the movie, resulting in BB having a solid (but far from earth-shattering) opening weekend. The movie became a big hit primarily because of great word of mouth. WOM carried the movie to its $205 million domestic tally, which makes it the second biggest hit of the franchise thus far. The movie eventually became one of the best DVD sellers in WB's history, as well as their top selling HD title.

With all the hype surrounding "The Dark Knight", WB will do a much better job marketing the movie now that they know that people really want a new Batman franchise (there were many WB execs that didn't think a new Batman would fly and all of the studio's attention should be focused on getting Superman off the ground). From what I understand regarding Nolan's script, "The Dark Knight" has a legit shot at not only becoming the best Batman flick we've seen to date, but also the best comic book/superhero movie ever made. Those involved are that confident in Nolan's vision.

"Superman Returns" had ten times the hype of BB, had a stronger opening, but had tepid word of mouth and the movie earned considerably less than WB thought it would. It pulled in $200 million domestically, but the studio had hoped it would make at least $300 mil. With 'The Man of Steel' they're hoping Singer will work the same sequel magic that produced X2. Singer has promised that the movie will be the most action packed Superman flick fans have ever seen. I do hope the movie ends up being the X2 of the Superman franchise.

I still believe that more good movies based on comics are made as opposed to bad ones. The last few years have produced "Batman Begins", "Spider-Man 2", "300", "V for Vendetta", and "Sin City". This summer's "Transformers" looks like its going to be a helluva ride, while FF2 is said to be MUCH better than the first movie.

At the end of the day, all that matters is if the studio puts the best possible people on these projects. That's all we as movie-goers can really hope for.
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#15 of 227 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

Tim Glover

    Lead Actor



  • 7,670 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 12 1999
  • Real Name:Tim Glover

Posted May 07 2007 - 04:11 AM

Great thread Terry. Interesting stuff. I think the most intriguing entry on that list is 300. Not my favorite on that list but for what it cost and how much it made....was astounding. Pretty solid reviews and had a cool factor that made it's earnings over 207 million. For me at least, 300 had a solid story and that surprised me. Solid story is vital as is effective and meaningful action...300 made more than Batman Begins & Superman Returns. Both of those were long standing franchises despite there having to overcome sequel failures that came before.

With the right mix and certainly the right marketing (insert 300 here)... these kinds of films have the potential to make huge amounts of money and then get a re-birth on DVD and the High Def formats too.

#16 of 227 OFFLINE   Holadem

Holadem

    Lead Actor



  • 8,972 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2000

Posted May 07 2007 - 04:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryRL
"Batman Begins" not only had to get over the hangover of B&R, but also a pretty poor marketing job on WB's part in promoting the movie, resulting in BB having a solid (but far from earth-shattering) opening weekend. The movie became a big hit primarily because of great word of mouth. WOM carried the movie to its $205 million domestic tally, which makes it the second biggest hit of the franchise thus far.

[...]

"Superman Returns" had ten times the hype of BB, had a stronger opening, but had tepid word of mouth and the movie earned considerably less than WB thought it would. It pulled in $200 million domestically, but the studio had hoped it would make at least $300 mil.
Basically, you're a saying that Batman Begins made $200M while Superman limped to the same Posted Image

--
H

#17 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 07 2007 - 04:23 AM

WB is hopeful that next year will see "Watchmen" repeat the same sort of success "300" had. I'm still blown away by how well the movie performed. I thought it would be a success with a $100 million bow, but it opened with damn near $71 mil. Very few within the industry saw that coming. Plus the movie had a hard R and still made over $200 mil.

The overwhelming success of "300" is what convinced WB to let Snyder do "Watchmen" his way. The movie will be a hard R and will also have a run time of close to three hours. I don't know if it'll be as successful as "300", but I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Holadem, yep. That's what I'm saying. BB wasn't expected to make more than $200 mil, while SR was expected to pull in $300 million-plus. WB really thought that Superman would give Pirates a serious run for the top spot at the box office that summer.
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#18 of 227 OFFLINE   JonZ

JonZ

    Lead Actor



  • 7,793 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 28 1998

Posted May 07 2007 - 04:32 AM

"and not to mention that at least one of these studios is going to at least attempt a "team-up" feature film."

As mentioned above, supposedly theres serious talk of trying to get a Avengers movie going. While I wouldnt expect a full roster - its always possible to get maybe a few characters together.

How cool would it be to see Capt America, Ant Man, Wasp and Iron Man go up against Ultron on filmPosted Image

The teamup idea may also be a way to renew interest should some of these films not meet expectations,or people get tired of them. There was talk early on of having a Kelsey Grammer cameo Beast in FF2.

Some movies which I thought were NEVER see the light of day have and are becoming reality - like Iron Man and Watchmen(which I remember them talking about making as far back as 1989 when Gilliam was attached)

The teamups, while theyre a nice idea I really see as a problem. Theyd have ridiculous budgets and then you have to worry about locking down actors for long periods of time.

Will Routh still want to play Superman for the Superman vs Batman film in 2012? How much will you have to pay Routh,Bale, Spacey, Bosworth, Caine,Oldman,Ledger,etc to return?

#19 of 227 OFFLINE   TerryRL

TerryRL

    Producer



  • 3,977 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 12 2001

Posted May 07 2007 - 04:45 AM

With Captain America being the "star" of a movie based on "The Avengers", you could load the movie with characters that probably wouldn't work in films on their own. If they do an Avengers flick, do not expect to see Iron Man in it. Paramount is very interesting in doing with Captain American what Fox did with Wolverine. He was clearly the star of the three X-Men movies and now he has his own franchise, which pretty much everyone wants to see.

If an Avengers movie is made, you really have to have Cap in it. Maybe instead of launching his own franchise right off, showcase him in "The Avengers" and maybe get more than one franchise out of him. A "Nick Fury" feature might work better if he turns out to be a popular character in Avengers.

It will be interesting to see what Paramount does.
"Quite an experience to live in fear isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

#20 of 227 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

TheLongshot

    Producer



  • 4,119 posts
  • Join Date: May 12 2000

Posted May 07 2007 - 04:45 AM

Quote:
Spiderman appeals to the very young, which isnt the case with some like Ghost Rider or even Fantastic Four.

I'll very much disagree with F4. The showing I went to was full of little kids, and they dug the hell out of it. I'd say that young kids enjoyed it more than us adults who know that it could have been done better.

Comic Book movies seem to be something that comes in cycles. It started in the late 70s with Superman, got resurected again in the late 80s with Batman, then got revived again with Blade in the late 90s. Now, DC's line has been revived with BB and SR, while Marvel seems to be on the wane after 8 years.

There have been plenty of mediocre and bad comic book movies. It is just that most of them get forgotten in the mists of time.

Jason


Back to Movies (Theatrical)



Forum Nav Content I Follow