Written By: Brendan Nienhaus
The trend of movies based on comic books appears to be gaining momentum recently after several highly successful film adaptations, with more still to come. “Marvel’s The Avengers” (just recently released on May 4th), has generated nearly $1.38 Billion in sales worldwide (as of June 9), apparently signaling that the trend of comic book based movies is thriving. Besides the high expected sales from the Spider-Man reboot, “The Amazing Spider-Man” (arriving in July), the upcoming Batman sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises”(July), is expected to surpass the box office sales of the previous Christopher Nolan directed Batman movie, “The Dark Knight” (which grossed over a billion dollars worldwide), which gives further support that this is a trend that will continue, at least as long as there is strong box-office sales to support them.
Although these are extreme examples of box-office success for movies based on comic books, there are also many other recent examples of other successful comic-book movies. Just last year, films like “Thor” (over $449 Million worldwide), “X-Men:First Class”(over $352 Million), “Captain America: The First Avenger”(over $368 Million) and even the critically and viewer panned “Green Lantern”(over $219 Million) have met with some level of box-office success. With sequels already announced or expected for all of these pictures, even “Green Lantern,” few could argue that this trend in movies is coming to an end, or even slowing down. Though there are some who do.
Mark Millar, an award-winning writer of both comic books and other media including the comic series “Wanted” (made into a feature film in 2008) and “Kick-Ass” (made into a feature film in 2010) had this to say, in an interview last year, on why he thought that the comic book movie trend would fade:
“I’ve always said 2015 is when it’ll start to fizzle out, because the biggest ones are yet to come. Next year you have all the Marvel franchises coming together in one movie, called The Avengers, and it’s directed by a great guy, Joss Whedon. You’re going to have Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, all in one film.”
“Where I think it’s going to be difficult is once you’ve done that thing of putting all those characters in one film…you know, it’s like having Harry Potter, James Bond and Spider-Man all in one movie. I think what’ll be difficult then is to try and top that because people want to see it get bigger.”
“So I anticipate things starting to slow down round about 2014 and 2015. I think that’s when it will really start to flat line a bit and we’re going to see our first failures.”
Even with someone like Millar’s insight, its hard to foresee a future without at least a couple of comic-book movies dotting the cinema landscape every year. Indeed, with the sequels to “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Iron Man,” and “Green Lantern” as well as other announced movies with comic tie-ins like “The Wolverine,” “Superman: Man of Steel” and even Millar’s “Kick-Ass 2” expected to be released in the next two years, there will be no shortage of comic-book based movies for the movie-going audience. At least not for the foreseeable future.