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Lets go “Avengers” on everything: An Open and Mostly Sarcastic Letter to the Film Industry   3 comments

The Avengers, the team-up movie based on the Marvel Comics line of superheroes, had the biggest opening weekend in box office history. Just over a month from its release, it sits at third place for highest grossing movie of all time.  The model for this success was releasing movies for the major characters first and seeding the idea that they would all need to come together later on.  The bigger story was weaved into every plot line, bringing the audience back as the story built to the big team-up.  It was a $1 Billion investment over six films that returned more than 3.5x that amount.  And that number isn’t including the profit generated by the sales of the DVDs, action figures, fast food collector’s cups, or little kid underpants that all carried Marvel’s branding.  It was the first time the idea of bringing a shared universe to life on-screen has been attempted.  At least successfully, I’m looking at you Alien vs. Predator and Freddy vs. Jason. (Alien vs Jason is a movie I’d watch.  Just sayin’.)

DC, Marvel’s primary competitor in the funny-book market should be the first to learn from this.  DC counts Superman and Batman among its roster of super heroes, along with the climatically challenged Green Lantern.  The combined total cost (I used math!) of the two recent Batman films, Superman Returns and Green Lantern is around $763M with a $1.987B return, $1B of which came from the success of a single film, The Dark Knight.  This is nothing to sneeze at, but other than the Batman movies DC’s film projects have been commercial failures. Batman will surely come to DC’s rescue again later this summer with the release of The Dark Knight Rises, which will likely make more money in its first weekend than most third world countries make in a year.

DC could easily adopt Marvel’s model and see bigger returns than they are now.  They have the shared-universe comic book continuity like the Avengers, and their characters are cultural icons. The new Superman reboot, Man of Steel, is getting released next year, and this would be a great opportunity to get into the combined continuity game.  Maybe Lex Luther gets a mysterious new weapon just before the credits roll, and it is a Themysciran artifact and that leads into a Wonder Woman story.  Or the destruction of Krypton can include a Toma-Re cameo, the Green Lantern corps member that was assigned to the doomed world.   I think it could make for some major profit margins… I mean good story telling! Haha, yeah but probably more the money thing.

The fate of Superman’s home world was put in the hands of an alien fish-bird and he totally blew it. Amateur.

This could work for other ailing properties too.  The release of GI Joe: Retaliation, sequel to GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra which made some money but was a critical failure, was recently pushed back from its early summer 2012 released date to March 2013, a whopping nine months later than intended.  The delay has officially been attributed to a last-minute decision to do a 3D conversion.  The studio is also using the time to add more screen time for Channing Tatum and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson after finding those scenes tested well.  What could have made the studio decide the movie needed more work in order to be profitable?

Battleship.

Battleship sank (ha, pun!) at the box office in the wake of Avengers, and likely scared the pants off of Hasbro, the toy company who owns the rights to the Battleship and GI Joe names.  They have not yet recreated the commercial success they had with their other attempt at getting into the movie business, Transformers.  The $2.5B+ Michael Bay helmed franchise is currently in preproduction for its fourth film, which will have a new cast, redesigns on the robots and seed elements for the anticipated fifth movie.  And no amount of bad reviews or racially insensitive robots will be able to effect its box office take.

These guys earned Transformers 2 $836,000,000. $15 of which was mine.

I would say this is a prime (more puns!) opportunity to pull an Avengers!  GI Joe and the Transformers have been teaming up since 1986 when Marvel comics (Marvel you’re freaking money and you know it!) published a four issue crossover mini series.  They have since shared the spot-light in nine other comic book titles, and Cobra Commander even popped up in an episode of original The Transformers series.

Hasbro can use the opportunity of the reshoots to add a few a scenes implying that Cobra stole their amazing technology from the invading Decepticons.  Then, instead of recasting the humans in Trans4mers (yeah that’s how the internet is spelling it) with unfamiliar faces, just make the human element the Joes.  BAM! Then when GI Joe 3 comes out it will be flying off the bankable success of the team up.

But hey, why stop there?

Die Hard 5: A Good Day to Die Hard is in the works.  What if during the course of that plot John McClane discovers that the thieves-masquerading-as-terrorists accidentally stumbled onto a secret government experiment that had monstrous results?  This leads into the Godzilla reboot, and we get John McClane as the human lead in that film.

John McLane vs. Godzilla = $700M Box Office.  Easy.

How about the Independence Day aliens come back to Earth.  To stop the new invasion Steve and David have to team up with the world’s for most secret organization, The Men in Black.

Will Smith x 2 = ID4MIB = $4.5B after worldwide release.

Or, the Enterprise is perusing a fleet of Klingon space pirates who are after a lost treasure from ancient Earth.  They all get knocked back it time and find themselves stranded in the colonial era Caribbean, where Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew have to team up with an eccentric captain named Jack Sparrow in order to stop the Klingons.

Trekkers of the Caribbean = All of the Money. ALL OF IT!

What shared universe would you like to see? What team ups would make the most money?  Tell me in the comments down below!

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3 responses to “Lets go “Avengers” on everything: An Open and Mostly Sarcastic Letter to the Film Industry

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  1. Hey, give Tomar Re a break. What was he gonna do, hold the planet together with the power of his ring? Punch the sun with a big green boxing glove until it stopped expanding? As far as he knew, Jor-El was a crackpot seismologist looking for his 15 minutes of fame!

    BTW, DC is now reexamining the idea of pulling a reverse-Avengers and making a Justice League movie that they can spin off into other superhero films. They may not be able to get Armie Hammer for Batman anymore, though, since he was so successful as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.

    As for Die Hard, A) Godzilla should always win and McClane can never lose, so the only way it’ll work is if it’s a fish-out-of-water (almost literally!) buddy cop movie a la Rush Hour. That’s hilarious and all, but how could you miss the opportunity to cross over Die Hard and Star Trek? As the Klingons say, “today is A Good Day to Die” Hard! Elevator pitch: It’s Die Hard on a Klingon Bird of Prey!

  2. Jor-El was Krypton’s leading scientist and Tomar Re’s job was “don’t let planets explode.” I’m just saying…

  3. Pingback: Tonka Trucks is getting a movie. Adam Sandler making it. Why? No one knows. « AtomicSam

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