My eyes are beginning to glaze over from the Hype-a-Thon that is the interwebs around Comic Con time. The Earth is so overrun with superheroes that it's remarkable that crime still exists at all. I went to get coffee this morning and the street in front of my favorite deli was cordoned off as a crime scene. Not joking. The heroes are all trapped in airconditioned movie theaters our moviegoing fates having been long since sealed.
See, the grosses for every superhero movie that's arrived, yes even notorious "flops" like Green Lantern, divisive films like Watchmen, or the ones that would've been 'Straight to Video' in other decades like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, have had little trouble breaking $100-200 million globally so the only logical thing is to greenlight as many as possible with tighter budgets. Superheroes are the new Horror Flicks -- you'll always make a profit if you control your budgets.
If Hollywood had any cold feet at all about greenlighting every superhero they own the rights to, this summer's one-two-three KO that is Avengers + Spidey + Batman (a trio that will obviously clear $3 billion globally) will surely doom us to one superhero movie a month or more by 2015. Soon superhero movies will be as ubiquitous as horror flicks. Especially if Warner Bros ever gets its act together. They own ALL DC characters -- unlike Marvel Studios/Disney which has to work from a deck with several key cards missing -- and yet, apart from Batman regularly and Superman every once in awhile they can't seem to get anything working properly.
So, what's next?
The Dark Knight Rises - this is the last we'll see of Bruce Wayne for awhile though Nolan is already suggesting that Anne Hathaway deserves a Catwoman movie. Careful what you wish for *cough* Halle Berry
The massively spandexed release schedule as it currently stands after the jump...
May 3rd, 2013
Iron Man 3
June 14th, 2013
Man of Steel
July 26th, 2013
After a rough start when it lost Darren Aronofsky from the director's chair - sniffle - Hugh Jackman's 5th trip into Mutant land starts filming any minute. They've been dropping lots of casting announcements for the Japan-set story: Hiroyuki Sanada will play Shingen; Hal Yamanouchi will play Yashida; Jessica Biel will play The Viper; fresh faces Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima will play the key roles of Mariko and Yukio (a great role in the comics); and Will Yun Lee -- who you might remember from the shortlived Bionic Woman series or 007's Die Another Day -- has the Big Bad duties as the Silver Samurai.
November 8th, 2013
Thor: The Dark World
This one's having some production trouble already. It lost its initial director Patty Jenkins and now it's lost its villain Mads Mikkelsen.
April 4th, 2014
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Supposedly this title implies that Sebastian Stan's Bucky didn't die in that fall but will reemerge as a brainwashed Russian baddie.
May 2nd, 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
July 18th, 2014
Untitled X-Men First Class Sequel
Fassy & Co are back. Rumor has it that Fox may be looking at the classic "Days of Future Past" arc (yay!) for this franchise.
August 1st, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
This is the riskiest title of the next couple of years as the Guardians are not household names and the outerspace story and heavy CGI component (they're led by a talking racoon) will have to stave off -- honest, it's going to be better than Green Lantern -- negativity.
also in active development
Ant-Man which debuted Edgar Wright test footage to fans at Comic Con
The Black Panther
Also in very active Reboot mood
The Fantastic Four
In both cases if they don't move quickly into production the rights will revert back to Marvel... so you know they're going to act quickly. Given how truly terrible these films were the first go round, it'd be better for moviegoers if Marvel got back the rights but corporate profits care not for "better for moviegoers"
I can't imagine how many... can you?
But if anything can break Dr. Strange, Aquaman, The Flash, Deadpool, Venom, and the Justice League out of their lengthly prison sentences in development hell, it's gotta be this summer's grosses. I wouldn't hold my breath for any female heroes though. Sigh. If there's one thing that characterizes the superhero craze of the past decade its testosterone. The Marvel/Disney combo that's proved so successful and speedy with fan-pleasing adaptations does not, unfortunately, own very many of the best female characters. The saddest thing for me about all of this is that I like superheroes a lot but I prefer them in small doses. They're like desserts, not main courses. But then I like everything in small doses (actresses excluded) since a moviegoing diet with variety is the only nutritional kind. In my ideal world there'd be only two spandex movies a year to compliment a great superheroic weekly television series.
Superheroes are meant to save us from evil but who will save us from Superhero Movies?