Friday, June 21, 2013

Is DC Back in the Movie Game?

Over the last few years Marvel has dominated the movie game.  Marvel films have succeeded even though they are produced through three different film companies 20th Century Fox (X-Men), Disney (Iron Man, Avengers), and Sony (Spider-Man).  Over the last decade or more films from the comic book company have been the mainstays.  Batman is the only DC hero, which has cashed in for DC within the last decade.  In 2006, they attempted a reboot/reinvention, of Superman, but it failed.  Cut to seven years later with the release of Man of Steel, as DC attempts to get back in the Superman game it looks like they also want to get back in the film game and challenge the Marvel dominated comic book film bastion.

Let's start by doing a cross comparison between Superman Returns (2006) and this year's Man of Steel (although just going into the film's second weekend).

In 2006 Superman Returns opened to with a modestly high opening weekend of 52 million.  Superman had the 6th biggest opening weekend with 52 million dollars (domestic), grossed 200 million domestically, and 191 million in foreign markets, amounting to 391 million dollars.  For a film about the most infamous super hero of all time the combined gross was a weak number, for even 2006.  The reviews were not bad, but in a world post Batman Begins, and a growing darkness in super hero flicks Superman Returns felt out of place.  People hated Brandon Routh, but that should not have kept people away.

In an interview with, Superman Returns director Bryan Singer stated "I think that Superman Returns was a bit nostalgic and romantic, and I don't think that was what people were expecting, especially in the summer.  What I had noticed is that there weren't a lot of women lining up to see a comic book movie, but they were going to line up to see The Devil Wears Prada, which may have been something I wanted to address. But when you're making a movie, you're not thinking about that stuff, you're thinking, 'Wow, I want to make a romantic movie that harkens back to the Richard Donner movie that I loved so much.' And that's what I did."

Is Bryan Singer right?  In a day and age where folks worship nostalgia this movie should have done great, and Brandon Routh's terribly wooden performance could not have ruined this film that much.  At the end of the interview Singer stated he would make a film that was more "balls to the wall."  That's what Snyder, Goyer, and Nolan did!

At the moment Man of Steels opened to a 116 million dollar opening weekend, including about 12 million on Thursday, amassing 128 million dollars, almost triple Superman Returns.  At the end of the first week Steel gained 40 million dollars more, bringing the domestic total to 168 million.  The film has not opened up in all foreign markets, and has total box office of 73 million overseas.  With an estimated haul of 50 million dollars this upcoming weekend, Man of Steel looks to have 218 domestically, more than Superman Returns had in it's entire domestic run, and still going.  My prediction is that this film will easily top 800 million, or more world wide, almost double Superman Returns.  Did going Michael Bay or balls to the wall bring DC comic book films back, or is DC stuck in a constant cycle of just making Superman and Batman films?

In a year where DC (the comics) have re-branded with "The New 52" one would think its time to for the films to step out on a ledge.  Sure Catwoman with Halle Berry was fail, and Green Lantern was an abysmal bomb, but it's time for DC to lick their wounds and move forward.  According to the DC films in the works include Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, a reboot, or sequel to Green Lantern, and a Justice League film, which would be smart to include the character from the successful television series Arrow, the Green Arrow.

With the Man of Steel doing well, finally getting Superman back on top,  time to strike while the iron is hot.  DC needs to enter the game.  Super hero flicks are hotter than ever, especially a dark origin story, which sets up the game.  While I am not sure the most recent chapter in the Superman film cannon is worthy of getting this reboot going, things are in motion, and I would say DC is back in the movie business.

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