For a while now superhero movies have been a valuable cash cow for the studios, supplying familiar stories with built in brand recognition and a global audience. However, it turns out that audiences can’t be fed entirely on a diet of rehashed comic books, largely because they all start to look the same. And we’ve seen a glut of them this year, with less than spectacular box office results once you factor in production and P&A costs.
Deadline comments on media analyst Vasily Karasyov’s report this morning:
The analyst says that the boom in superhero movies began around 2000 as computer generated imagery (CGI) made it easier for filmmakers to credibly show action that defies the laws of physics. Virtually all of the most popular films of the last decade couldn’t have been made without CGI. Within that group Karasyov counts 16 superhero films, not counting sequels, resulting in four franchises: Fox’s X-Men, Sony’s Spider-Man, Warner Bros’ Batman, and Paramount’s Iron Man. Yet nothing has taken off since Iron Man came out in 2008, he says, largely because studios have already tapped their hottest properties. “As film studios dig deeper into catalogues for characters for new films, we think the chances of finding a break out property are diminishing fast” — even though the films still come with high production costs.
Harry Potter is done. Twilight has the two final instalments already in the can. Where should Hollywood studios look for the next lucrative franchise?