Is superhero fatigue setting in?! Some may feel exhausted from superheroes or that the intricacies and connectivity of 32 MCU films (and counting) are doing so much that storylines are starting to crumble under the pressures. It could be the latter but seeing how Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 grossed high at the box office, I’ll jump out on a limb and say we’re not tired of superheroes. Superheroes are the perfect escapism from our day to day. We want dynamic storylines, great casting, and epic cgi to bring it all together to create this nirvana. We want quality. But if they’re juggling 14 projects from phase 5, can they all be perfect 10s? Is the endgame near for superhero films?
I’m not confident it’s the endgame, but it will definitely be a new game plan. Disney CEO Robert Iger, who recently stepped back into that position, announced that they would reduce some of their films and series to reduce cost and avoid superhero fatigue. In an interview, while discussing Marvel, he told CNBC
“Marvel is a great example of that, It had not been in the television business at any significant level, and not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of TV series. Frankly, it diluted focus and attention.”
SN: You really should know this at this point, but if you don’t, Disney owns Marvel, and that’s why a lot of these announcements involve Robert Iger. He’s also not the most popular man right now for some brash things he said about the writer’s strike.
Anywho, to help regain focus, Disney plans to do some restructuring by cutting 5.5 billion in cost. The goal is to cut back on franchise-driven content.
“You pull back not just to focus, but also as part of our cost containment initiative,” he explained. “Spending less on what we make, and making less.”
When Disney decided to take on this Marvel escapade, it became an incredible investment. Disney paid $4 billion for the rights to the comic book franchise in 2009 and earned more than $22.5 billion from the acquisition by the end of 2022.
Avengers: Endgame, the 2019 Marvel smash hit that remains the second-highest-grossing movie of all time, raked in $2.8 billion at the global box office and is just one of 10 Marvel movies to have crossed the billion-dollar milestone.
But in all this glory, some of the most recent releases have not been met with the same energy.
Despite a solid opening weekend, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s global ticket sales slumped, making the film $476 million worldwide. This still looks like a lot of money to me, but It’s a far cry from many of the studio’s earlier heavyweights, including the earlier films in the Ant-Man trilogy, which both earned more than half a billion dollars in ticket sales.
Critics received She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel poorly, as the new superheroes faced challenges in attracting viewers to Disney’s streaming platform, unlike big-name characters.
It’s not just unfamiliar faces that have come up short for Marvel in recent years. Secret Invasion, a series that has our favorite MF’er Samuel L. Jackson reprise the role of Nick Fury, reportedly had the second lowest viewed premieres of all Marvel Disney+ shows. 1st place goes to Ms. Marvel.
Of course, we don’t know exactly how phase 5 and future phases will play out. Still, they’re moving into a different experience because we’re getting new characters that many people know nothing about, so fandom is not the draw here. They’re working to make us fall in love with these new heroes, which takes time because we have to care about them to want to see them or be curious enough. Not to mention they have big shoes to fill.
But you know who isn’t fazed? Kevin Feige. Growing tired of the superhero seems very out of reach. In his Variety interview, he said.
“There’s 80 years of the most interesting, emotional, groundbreaking stories that have been told in the Marvel comics, and it is our great privilege to be able to take what we have and adapt them,
I partly agree. Superheroes aren’t disappearing, but it’s about prioritizing quality over quantity. The game-changer came 15 years ago when the MCU kicked off with Iron Man (2008). We glimpsed Marvel’s potential, and suddenly a once-hushed entrance burst open. Our wildest dreams turned real with fresh life injected into characters like Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk, and the roster goes on. Disney ignited a trend by extending these superhero tales onto Disney+, a model the DCU also pursued. The key is distinction doesn’t come without risks. Those risks paid off, but in this journey, you also need the courage to adapt to the evolving landscape. And that landscape calls for high-quality Marvel content. They’ve also been hinting at X-Men, so superheroes can not disappear!
We’ll see what the future holds, but as of right now, the industry is locked down.