The Origin Story
Once considered cinematic junk food, comic book movies are no longer just bite-sized, easily digestible bits of entertainment. Not long ago, comic book movie franchises’ primary objectives were profitable box office runs, generating as many sequels as possible (Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin), and selling ungodly amounts of licensed merchandise. In today’s blockbuster movie landscape, a film can meet box office expectations, spawn a sequel, and still qualify as a failure.
In 2016, studio mandates require that comic book movies hit multiple benchmarks in order to qualify as successful, and wrapping up a satisfying story in roughly 120-minutes is only one of them. Comic book movies must also act as advertisements for upcoming films, and establish deep mythologies that branch off into other movie franchises, video games, comic books, and TV series. Nowadays, producing comic book related entertainment is a complicated process, akin to juggling several knives while walking backward on a tightrope.