With Marvel’s heroes filling up Hollywood, is their room for DC?
Pop Quiz: What were the last five comic book superhero movies released in theaters? The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Captain America. Four of those are Marvel films, and one is DC. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say Marvel is winning the comic book movie war by a landslide. All that DC has really had to show in the past decade is The Dark Knight trilogy, an unsuccessful reboot of Superman in the form of Superman Returns, Green Lantern, and RED (which is a bit of a stretch since most people probably didn’t even know that it was a DC comic) while Marvel has finished trilogies and even rebooted them in that time period.
DC and Warner Bros. next big venture is the next reboot of Superman in Man of Steel, helmed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan. While that may breath life into the last son of Krypton’s cape, it begs the question as to whether people really care about DC movies, and will they care about the Justice League movie? Personally, it’s hard to really see it working out for DC. They saw what Marvel and Disney did with The Avengers and they wanted a piece of the pie, but the web that connected all of those characters together had been seeded over many films. Now Warner Bros. and DC hope to pull it off with possibly three (maybe four) tie in films, of which only two have been officially tagged for predecessors to the Justice League (Man of Steel and Green Lantern).
Sure, they might pull Joseph Gordon-Levitt out of The Dark Knight Rises and use him for the new Batman, but that is still a bit of a reach. And there is rumor that a Wonder Woman movie might actually come out ahead of the Justice League. Mind you the year just turned over to 2013, and the Justice League film is due out in 2015. That’s not a lot of time to sort this out. Meanwhile, Marvel is working on Phase Two, releasing both Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 this year, followed by Captain America 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, and ultimately The Avengers 2 in 2015. How can DC and Warner Bros. hope to keep up?
The one advantage that DC has over Marvel is the fact that they have had thriving television series for a long time, which does mean that there are many non-comic book reading people who are familiar with the characters. There was Smallville, now Arrow, and a plethora of cartoons from Superman and Batman animated series, to the Justice League. But is that fan base clamoring for a movie? In total, DC probably has more television programming hours than Marvel has in its movies, so why force something that no one was really asking for?