Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Batman vs. Superman vs. Captain America; Good, Bad, or Ugly?

A few months back, we received news from the world of superheroes that Disney/Marvel’s third CAPTAIN AMERICA film and Warners/DC’s as-yet-untitled BATMAN/SUPERMAN team-up film were slated to open on the same weekend; May 6th, 2016.
Speculation has been running wild over which camp would blink first and move their movie away from that date. However, last month the top brass at Warner Bros. said that they had no intention of sliding BAT/SUPES off that date. And just this week, the masters of Disney said that they weren’t backing down either. So what we’ve got here is a potential epic showdown with three of the most popular and heralded superhero characters of all time. Movie geeks and comic-book guys are certainly salivating at the thought of spending an entire day at the theatre, while others will show their support and allegiance to whatever side (Marvel or DC) they swear to.

But is all this really good for the industry? There is no doubt that both films will make a ton of money and give the overall box office a nice boost for the year. Mr. Walt Disney had that famous quote that (paraphrase) they don’t make movies to make money, they make money so they could make more movies. Movies are certainly an art, but they are also a business. A business that makes money is a healthy one.
Aside from that, there is the possibility of a backlash. The genre of superheroes on the big screen has been very successful in the past decade; their super-charged films have broken box office records, won Oscars, and made relatively unknown actors household names overnight. Many in the press have taken to calling this the Golden Age of superhero movies. But despite all of this success, people have been wondering if and/or when the bottom may fall out. The Golden Age of cinema once came to end, as did the Golden Age of comics (1930’s through the 1940’s). This mega-matchup of Captain America vs. Batman vs. Superman could very well be too much, and the world could very well say enough already. After all, the battle between the two studios for your ticket(s) is sure to be an intense one with a flood of marketing ranging from print, TV, internet, and fast-food cups and bags. There is such a thing as oversaturating the market, and maybe the real movie to keep an eye on is the third film to have a release that weekend…as people look for an alternative to all the super-fights.

There seems to be a lot of ego powering this showdown. Marvel, with all of their mighty success with their ever-growing shared universe on the big and small screen, has all the momentum and the right to do what they want when they want; in fact, it doesn’t seem like they care what DC does. DC on the other hand, may have been sputtering around recently (their last Superman flick, MAN OF STEEL in 2013 was not warmly embraced), but they do have the right to claim ownership of the top two most-popular and well-known superheroes in all history…Batman and Superman. Both Marvel and DC are puffing out their chests and holding firm (for now), and fans of cinema have to hope that the showdown doesn’t bring the roof crashing down over everyone’s heads.

Marvel’s third CAPTAIN AMERICA solo-film (as yet no sub-title) will once again star Chris Evans in the title role, and will again be directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. DC’s untitled BATMAN/SUPERMAN flick is directed by Zack Snyder (MAN OF STEEL), and will star Ben Affleck as Batman, and Henry Cavill as Superman.



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