Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be the biggest film franchise ever.

Posted: May 6, 2012 in Marvel Cinematic Universe

In 2008 Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were released by Marvel Studios, and introduced the idea of a shared film universe, with Tony Stark from the Iron Man movie appearing at the end of Hulk. In the following years Captain America and Thor films were released, leading to 2012’s Avengers, which has become a box office hit.  It is not the first time characters from different films have met. Japan’s Godzilla films had monsters from other movies, and the Universal Monster movies of the 1930s/40s mark early examples of film crossovers. However, Marvel’s series of films is the first time this was planned from the ground up. Some have named this series of films the Avengers Franchise, which of course is not entirely wrong. However Marvel Comics themselves have another name for it, and a bigger idea, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has the potential to be the biggest film franchise ever.

What Marvel has that is the key to the MCU’s success and potential longevity is diversity. Iron Man was played like James Bond, the Hulk film was a man on the run, Thor was a fantasy epic, and Captain America was a WWII period piece. Various yet untapped characters in the Marvel vault cover all variety of genres, space operas, martial arts, horror, jungle adventure, etc. It is like a tree with thousands of branches. If a new hero is introduced and their film flops, it does not end the MCU, it simply means they won’t make another film of that character.

One issue they will face eventually is having to replace key actors, but this has already happened in Hulk and Iron Man. Plus a change in the lead actor did not stop James Bond, nor did it stop the Batman film series of the 90s.

There are some Marvel Characters whose film rights are still held by other studios.  Sony has the rights to Spiderman, and Fox has the X-men, Fantastic Four and Daredevil. Those are huge pieces of the Marvel Universe. Some fans believe that Marvel/Disney should pay up to Sony and Fox to immediately get these rights back so that Spidey and Wolverine can be in the Avengers and so forth. I think that as fans we need to show some patience about this. There’s no reason that Marvel should pay out and not let those series run their course.  We must remember that Marvel is only making 2 films a year, they hope to make 3 at some point, but still that’s only 3. Two to three films a year is plenty for the characters they have already.

In fact it’s probably a good thing Marvel didn’t have those characters. I think it helped creatively to start with the Avengers, it helped them focus. When you look at Cap, Hulk, and Iron Man, although they’re different kinds of heroes, they’re all military/government projects. That made it easier for their films to tie together.

Marvel will eventually get Spiderman, X-men, etc back. It will be a while, it might be 10 or 20 years from now, but in the meantime Marvel has plenty to work with. This film series could potentially go on forever. 50 years from now there could be new movies coming out that still tie back to the first Iron Man.

Not only could this go on forever, but I predict that within 6 years, by 2018 at the latest, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be the most successful film franchise ever.  (Currently Harry Potter is number 1, at 7.7 billion dollars) Not only that, but once it becomes number one, it may never get beaten.  No other film franchise moves this fast with one or two entries a year. Most film franchises have one entry every 3-4 years, sometimes even longer (Like Terminator for instance).

There is only one potential film franchise that has the depth, diversity, and capability of having enough entries to compete. I’ve been wondering for years why this potential franchise isn’t in the works. Never mind why it wasn’t made 10, 20, even 30 years ago.  That potential film franchise is the DC Cinematic Universe.

  1. […] Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be the biggest film franchise ever. […]

  2. […] Universe continues to go strong with this entry. That’s the thing about this franchise, as I’ve said before, it’s not linear as other film franchises are. It’s like a tree with many branches, and […]

  3. […] America: The Winter Soldier is perhaps the perfect example of why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is and will continue to be a successful franchise. It is distinct from other branches of the MCU in that it is a political thriller. It does not […]

  4. […] last Avengers made 1.5 billion. So the MCU could take the top spot less than 12 months from now, and a good three years from when I initially predicted. And as I said before, once it takes the number one spot, it may never […]

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