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Would the Marvel Cinematic Universe Still Have Happened if 1998's "Blade" Flopped?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Colin Jacobson, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Over on Twitter, someone posted that without "Blade", the MCU never would've happened.

    I disagreed. "Blade" made decent money and was the 1st movie based on a Marvel character to do well, but I'm sure that its outcome had no impact on other plans.

    "X-Men" was still gonna happen in 2000 even if "Blade" flopped, I think.

    Opinions?
     
  2. Chip_HT

    Chip_HT Second Unit

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    Yeah, the one-two punch of X-Men and Spider-Man, which had been rumored for the entire 90s, would have still kick started the comic book/superhero movie trend leading up to the MCU.

    As a character, Blade was so under the radar that it wouldn't have made a blip if it had flopped. As it is, it cemented its spot as a bit of trivia to remind folks that X-Men wasn't the first Marvel movie.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, if Blade had flopped, it wouldn't have had any impact on the current Marvel movies. Blade got made because it was basically a horror movie that, unlike many other Marvel properties, could be produced at the time and for a smallish budget.
     
  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Yes
     
  5. AshJW

    AshJW Supporting Actor

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    If X-Men and/or Spider-Man had flopped, that would have had impact on future plans, not only for the MCU but also for any comic book films like the ones we had in the first century (like Cat-Woman, Daredevil, Elektra etc.). Maybe not so much for the Batman trilogy.
     
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  6. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    I think it would've taken failure from both Spidey and X-Men to harpoon a potential MCU.

    If one or the other is a hit, they could've kept going, but both would've been crippling.

    No one would've looked back and said "well, 'Blade' made some money so let's plow ahead with super-expensive movies based on other characters!"
     
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  7. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    The success of the Spidey and X-movies certainly helped but I think that even if they had failed, that wouldn't have stopped superheroes movies entirely either. Once the Nolan Bat movies made a ton of dough, I think some studio would have tried a few more Marvel movies/characters before giving up.
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Oh, I don't contend Marvel flops would've killed superhero movies entirely. DC pursued their characters even when Marvel had no footprint in cinemas.

    I do think that if X-Men and Spidey flopped, though, it would've been much tougher for them to proceed. If Marvel couldn't have hits with their most popular characters, what hope would other movies have?
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    But would Batman Begins ever have been greenlit if the Fox X-movies and the Sony Spidey movies had failed?
     
  10. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    I think Robert Downey Jr.'s personal (and professional) problems had more to do with the MCU's success than the relative success/failure of any other superhero franchise. There are a lot of elements at work (Feige, Arad, Quesada) but without Downey and Favreau the MCU just doesn't happen. Those two are the flapping of a butterfly's wings.
     
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  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think so. That the '89 Batman did so well, and that the sequels continued to do well financially even as the quality declined, meant that there was something there. I'm not sure that Warner would have done it as quickly, but I think if those had failed, at most Warner would have thought, "This proves that there isn't much of a superhero market, and aren't we lucky to have Batman and Superman, the only two that have done well so far?"

    I think Downey's involvement was huge - he's a fantastic actor who brought credibility to the role, and never one played it like he was slumming it for a paycheck. It was a character that Downey had the life experience to play, and because the fusion of actor and role was so believable, it made the suspension of disbelief needed for the more outrageous things easier to do.

    I think the first Iron Man movie was also helped tremendously by the ethos established by Nolan in Batman Begins - that the idea was to tell something fantastical in a way that was nearly plausible. By the end of Phase 1 of the MCU, the "plausibility" ship had sailed, but because the very first movie was grounded in enough of what Walt Disney used to call the "plausible impossible," it was enough for the audience to follow along. I can buy that Tony Stark helps defend Earth from alien invaders in "The Avengers" because "Iron Man" made me believe that Tony Stark was plausible.
     
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  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    As long as we're indulging in "What If"s...

    Would Marvel Studios have ever cast RDJ as Tony Stark if Disney had owned it from the beginning?
     
  13. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Agree that "Iron Man" launched the MCU on a positive note.

    This discussion is about whether or not Marvel would've made it to the MCU in 2008 without "Blade", though.

    That's the contention I dealt with on Twitter: the notion that if "Blade" flopped, we never would've gotten an MCU!
     
  14. AshJW

    AshJW Supporting Actor

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    Maybe not, who knows.



    RE Batman: I think this character is the strongest of all DC characters, with the audience I mean. So even the Marvel films before the MCU had failed, i’m pretty sure Batman would have worked nonetheless.
     
  15. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    More Batman/Superman films were inevitable, even if Marvel's efforts flopped.

    The question is whether "Begins" would've come out so soon without the success of the early 2000s Marvel flicks.

    "B&R" left an awful stench around the franchise!
     
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  16. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    From the bonus features on the Begins disc, it sounds like Warner had been working on something after Batman & Robin - they just didn't know what form it would take until Christopher Nolan brought his pitch in. But I don't think it ever left their radar; they just didn't know what approach to take on their next Batman film.
     
  17. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    It's been too long since I watched that stuff for me to remember the comments you mention, but I'm sure WB feel the need to let the stench of "B&R" subside before they went with another Batman movie.

    It was clear they needed to take another path, but I think it would've been tough for them to reboot Batman 2-3 years after "B&R"...
     

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