Is Hollywood currently reveling in the Golden Age of Superhero Movies?
It’s a timely and potentially troubling question, as it infers that this ‘age’ has an endpoint – or, as Fox boss Stacey Snider tells Variety (h/t Screen Rant), a saturation point. One that may be a lot closer than many realize.
Right now, major Hollywood studios are pumping out anywhere between two and three superhero movies per year, resulting in a deluge of comic book action that is, at times, a little overwhelming. So when Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 release within three weeks of one another, and Marvel Studios operates to a quota of three-movies-per-annum, it’s small wonder why executives like Snider, whose company may soon ship the X-Men over to Marvel, are beginning to caution against superhero saturation.
If we don’t continue to reach out to the folks that come more than just to see The Avengers, we are going to have just the weekend business. … For the studios that expect that more of the same will always bring a result, there is folly in that. We want to continue, for example, with our X-Men movies and our Deadpool movies, but at the same time we have great success with a movie like Murder on the Orient Express or The Greatest Showman, where we are very mindful of speaking to this global audience, but not doing it in a way that in the past has homogenized all of the product. Where things fall off the cliff is when that bright consumer says, ‘I have seen this movie.’
Prior to Infinity War and Black Panther, Marvel films were beginning to draw flak for their generic finales, while the DCEU is still reeling from the ill-fated Justice League. The answer? To avoid relying on “caped crusaders” as much, as Snider went on to highlight the ways in which diversity can help expand a film’s horizons – culturally, politically and commercially.
There are plenty of examples out there that signal that including diversity and including a local perspective in these larger movies is great business. When you look at a movie like Black Panther or Coco, or in the case of Deadpool – it is led by Ryan Reynolds, an American Caucasian, but we have a diverse cast that surrounds him – I would venture to say that Zazie Beetz is as popular in the film as he is. We are mindful that these big franchise films need to be original, need to respond to local cultures, and local diverse casts.
No mention of the proposed Disney-Fox merger, though we understand Comcast is circling with a “superior” deal of its own. Exactly what this means for the future of X-Men is still up for debate, mind you, but we fully expect to learn more of Fox’s future after the planned shareholder meeting takes place next month.