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    1. On the superhero question

      The year is over. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was released, marking the official end of the DCEU. It goes out with a whimper. Aquaman won't be profitable, but it won't lose as much as The Marvels...

      The year is over. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was released, marking the official end of the DCEU. It goes out with a whimper. Aquaman won't be profitable, but it won't lose as much as The Marvels of The Flash did this year, which I suppose is some consolation prize.

      As I said in my summer of busts post only two superhero movies this year made a profit theatrically. In certain corners of the box office community, there was a belief that The Marvels would beat Spider-Verse, but that never seemed realistic. It even came up short of the most conservative initial predictions for it. It did so poorly that it made The Flash's performance look decent.

      So what happened? Last year Superhero movies dominated the box office. Although, Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water were the top 2 grossing movies. Both domestic and worldwide. But still, all three Marvel films opened to over 100M. Two made over 400M DOM, although, one had poor word of mouth. Even Thor: Love and Thunder, with some horrendous word of mouth, almost grossed 350M DOM. And all three were some of the most profitable blockbusters of the year.

      I think 2022 laid the groundwork for what happened this year. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder were received poorly among general audiences. I would also say even though Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was well received, its reception was still pretty tepid, especially compared to the first. And people started enjoying blockbusters with a different look and flavor with Top Gun and Avatar, which made audiences reconsider what types of movies they should watch. Something I think falls in between here is The Batman, which, of course, is a superhero movie, but one that has a distinct look and feel. So, I would place that next to the blockbusters that offered something different than the MCU formula audiences had gotten used to consuming.

      Going into 2023, audiences were still interested in superhero movies and, specifically, the MCU. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opened to over 100M, a franchise high. The poor reception of the film was, apparently, the straw that broke the camel's back for audiences.

      This wasn't evident right away since the two superhero movies that were released right after (Guardians 3 and Across the Spider-Verse) were well-received and were some of the biggest hits of the year. Even with a softer opening, Guardians 3 managed to leg out incredibly well to outgross the first installment of the franchise. The post I made directly after Guardians 3 opened was perhaps premature in this regard. But I think the superhero films to come out after Spider-Verse proved that point right. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse required fantastic word of mouth to be the hits that they were. If they were received as poorly as the 2022 MCU films, they wouldn't have become the hits they are.

      This might seem obvious, you need a good movie that audiences like to be a hit at the box office. But, this was not the case in the prime era of superhero movies. In 2016, Suicide Squad was released with poor critical and audience reception. Yet it grossed 325M DOM and 745M WW. That same year X-Men: Apocalypse still managed to make over 500M WW also with poor reception. Venom would make over 800M WW two years later. Even as recently as 2021, the poorly received Eternals (while the pandemic was still ongoing) made over 400M WW which is double The Marvel's gross.

      Quantumania was the start of it but The Flash, Blue Beetle, The Marvels, and Aquaman cemented it. This is a dead genre, and it had an explosive death this year. The top three grossing movies this year worldwide are Barbie, The Super Mario Bros Movies, and Oppenheimer. All three are quite different. And I think they show that audiences are ready for something else, and are shopping around. What used to excite audiences in the 2010s simply isn't exciting them anymore. As GenZ becomes the same age Millennials were ten years ago, they're simply not into superhero movies. The demographic for superhero movies will continue to get older as they continue to fall out of fashion. GenZ is finding interest elsewhere as they made Hunger Games and Wonka hits that outgrossed the majority of superhero movies released this year.

      So what of the future?

      2024 is barren in Superhero movies. There are technically five comic book movies coming out. However, three of those are from the Sonyverse; Madame Web, Kraven the Hunter, and Venom 3. Two of those seem to be guaranteed bombs and I don't think anyone expects Venom 3 to hit the same numbers as the first Venom. The only two major comic book movies to come out in 2024 are Deadpool 3 and Joker Folie à Deux.

      Deadpool 3 is going to be heavily connected to the MCU. With all the plot leaks available, it's looking to be a multiverse cameo fest. This seems exactly the wrong time to be doing this type of film. Cameo porn, as coined by James Gunn, is not a guaranteed money maker as The Flash made it evident earlier this year. Mix that in with the fact that Deadpool 2 was released now almost six years ago, when the market was friendlier to superhero movies, and how heavily connected it is to a Disney+ show, I don't believe this is going to right the MCU ship the way Disney is hoping.

      Joker Folie à Deux, however, should benefit from not being a typical comic book film the way something like Deadpool 3 is going to be. And the first Joker has had a long shelf life in the minds of audiences. It should be able to rise above the fatigue of the genre to interest audiences in it.

      Still, I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with another top 3 without superhero films. Audiences could potentially gravitate towards other blockbusters like The Garfield Movie, Beetlejuice 2, and Dune: Part Two, or some other variation of films, to make those the three highest-grossing films of the year.

      As we look even further beyond, we have Captain America 4 (which was originally set to release in 2024 but got delayed due to them doing massive reshoots), Fantastic Four, Thunderbolts, and Blade for the MCU in 2025. I doubt most of these are even gonna come out in 2025 since some of them don't even have completed scripts! From here on out I think the MCU is just too messy to predict. I suppose if something like Thunderbolts is good (which is being rewritten and directed by the duo that did Beef) that could help them start rebuilding their reputation. I'm not sure if there is gonna be any immediate fix available to jump-start the box office for this universe again though. I think it's gonna take some time. And I don't see the Avengers films currently planned to be massive money-makers either. I think it's time for Disney to reconsider their continuity, start over, and move on. They got too big too fast, and it's over.

      Luckily for WB, well maybe not so lucky, the DCEU was already a disaster. So they got a headstart on rebooting and starting fresh with Superman: Legacy in 2025 (they should have rebooted after Justice League but Aquaman making a billion gave them false confidence that they could right the ship). Given Gunn's track record, this should be good. It should be well-reviewed, and it should get a strong audience reception. I think it can easily gross the same amount as The Batman given how much it has going for it. There has not been a good Superman movie since the 80s, I think it's about time a Superman movie breaks out with a 21st-century audience.

      Also in 2025; The Batman Part II. Much like Joker, The Batman has kept a long shelf life. It resonated with the primary target audience for superhero films, that being white guys 25-35. It's dark and mature in a way that the audience wants these movies to be. People still talk about it and I don't see its relevancy dying down in another year. I think WB struck gold with The Batman, the way they did with Joker, and I think The Batman Part II could be another billion-dollar hit for WB.

      It is weird to talk about a genre this way when it was dominant for most of my life. Writing a post-mortem for Superhero movies was not something I expected to do at the beginning of the year. It felt like something that was always going to be culturally dominant. But trends change and Hollywood is in an interesting place right now.

      35 votes
    2. Megathread for news & discussion about the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in Hollywood

      topics about the strike are becoming one of the most common things in ~movies. for example, compare: https://tildes.net/~movies?order=new https://tildes.net/~movies?tag=strikes&order=new as we do...

      topics about the strike are becoming one of the most common things in ~movies. for example, compare:



      as we do with other frequent topics, a megathread helps consolidate the discussion, making it easier for people interested in the topic to talk about it, and easier to discuss small or minor updates that may not warrant a full topic of their own.

      (it also makes it easier for people not interested in the topic to ignore it - because they only need to ignore a single post, rather than a topic tag)

      37 votes
    3. OK but what do we really think about the Spider-Verse Vulture article?

      A post for this exists. I checked, I searched for it first thing and skimmed through the comments. So this should be the end of it. I know you shouldn't make a duplicate post, lest make any kind...

      A post for this exists.

      I checked, I searched for it first thing and skimmed through the comments. So this should be the end of it. I know you shouldn't make a duplicate post, lest make any kind of post in a different group.

      (if you don't know what I'm talking about, click the link at the top, open the article in incognito mode, read.)

      As young folk say, idc. I feel this is beyond the scope of the original post as industry talk deserves serious, dedicated discourse. ~talk seems to be the place for this, anything here barely gets the same engagement like ~talk posts; they garner lots and lots... I mean, LOTS of comments. Plus, the WGA writer's strike is still goin on — they been doin this shit for 2 months with tedious media coverage, and have made their presence known. If they can do that, I think I can take a page from their book and post here.

      This is not a retread on the Vulture article, not necessarily about your opinions on the work culture Phil Lord creates, etc. If you feel like this post is a duplicate: Don't vote, don't comment! Ignore this post! Revive the original post — you can do it as long as it's on-topic and thoughtful.

      This post is about the ripple effects of what that article says, and how it may reflect industry-wide treatment of animators, and even adjacent subcultures and sectors. Take VFX, for instance: Lots of ppl seem to criticise Marvel Studios for their overuse of CGI in their productions, blissfully unaware that Marvel Studios is a bad client to work with.

      In other words; this post is meant to discuss Phil Lords in the industry that cause over 100 animators to quit (which I think is too much to ignore). This post is a launching pad for industry awareness, and should hopefully give you the idea to protest in your own way. Don't believe skipping movies will work? It doooooeeeeeeessss~~

      So.... what do we REALLY think about the Spider-Verse article on Vulture? What does this truly reveal about the broader treatment of animation in Hollywood? Does Sony raise good points? What are some other instances where a producer or executive caused such upset during the production of an animated movie? What are other reasons or work culture tidbits outside people or moviegoers don't know about? What's it like being an animator working in Hollywood?? What are some labour unions or orgs to look into? What are some novel solutions or fixes that should be pushed by everyone as much as possible?

      I was gonna post this on ~talk, but decided last minute not to. If you have read this far (and think this is not a duplicate post), I implore you to vote a/o comment! If this gets to at least like... 40 or 50 comments, that would be so amazing. If not, oh well. But I think it would be a disservice since no matter how small or insignificant this post is, it will help. It may inspire someone here to do something out there, and I think that's more than enough reason.

      7 votes