It feels like every other month this year, a new superhero film is releasing. The final two comic book superhero movies of 2017 will both come out in November, and will spark another Marvel/DC box office war.
While the #JusticeLeague unite on the big screen on November 17th, Thor: Ragnarok will hammer its way into theaters on November 3rd.
Based on their trailers, which both came out over the past couple weeks, these two films look and feel vastly different, both in cinematic style and story. While Justice League will feature many of the world’s most recognizable heroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other super friends), I believe the god of thunder and his buddy Hulk will have a better story to tell and a better film to present, ultimately landing Thor: Ragnarok more box office success.
And it's all thanks to the #Deadpool effect.
Thor Already Has Word Of Mouth On His Side
What made Deadpool so successful, other than being a fantastic film, was its marketing. It even won the Clio Award for Best Integrated Campaign. But let’s bring it one step back. A campaign is only successful if it draws an audience, and word of mouth made Deadpool a box office champion. After seeing the movie I immediately told my friends they had to see it; when they saw it they followed suit, telling their friends to see it. Thor: Ragnarok is looking to share the same fate as Deadpool.
Thor: Ragnarok is mixing together fun, action and a colorful palette of visual imagery. Based on the first trailer, it will have eccentric and satirical characteristics — and a dynamic set of characters — while differentiating itself from previous #MCU films.
Audiences will be seeing a completely different approach to Thor. His previous solo movies are perhaps the MCU's least fondly remembered, but Ragnarok immediately feels different and more in line with Guardian of the Galaxy. The teaser's spontaneity and fresh feel made it Marvel and Disney’s most watched trailer ever, surpassing even Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
What Deadpool managed to do with its marketing, Thor: Ragnarok is already doing with its Taika Waititi-directional style and phenomenal female villain. People will be packing into theaters for this one, including non-comic book fans.
Justice League Should Have This Level Of Buzz — But Does It?
While the Justice League trailer received 25 million views in two weeks, the Thor: Ragnarok teaser trailer hit 20 million in less than a single day. It’s not that Justice League can't have a massive appeal; it's that the DCEU is sticking with Batman V. Superman's aesthetic and overall feel.
Justice League is more than likely to bring in the same box office profit as Batman V. Superman on character recognition alone — but are many of those viewers truly excited for the story and its 20-minute longer runtime?
Marvel likely knows the previous two Thor movies weren't its best, so it drastically changed approaches and the result looks truly captivating. But Justice League already looks familiar due to Zack Snyder's bleak vision, which has been dividing audiences for years now. Let us hope the upcoming #WonderWoman movie is able to stop the commotion!
Justice League Can Win The Box Office Battle And Still Lose The War
Will Justice League sell more tickets than Thor: Ragnarok? It’s a high possibility. But keeping to a financial perspective, based on a production budget-to-box office returns ratio, I don’t think that will make it the winner.
Thor: Ragnarok is piggybacking off the success of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Subtract GOTG's production budget from its box office returns and the total results to a spectacular $603 million profit. Justice League is piggybacking off Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’s success, with a budget-to-box office returns difference of $623 million. An astonishing number indeed.
But it’s remarkable that an unknown group of superheroes like the Guardians were able to bring in a nearly equal amount to the two most famous superheroes ever, plus a cameo from Wonder Woman. With a known name like Thor and a well-promoted appearance from the Hulk, the probability that Ragnarok will have a higher budget-to-box office return difference than Justice League is exceptionally high.
Even Deadpool, a movie based on a character previously unknown to people who don't read comics, managed to earn even higher returns than Dawn of Justice — with a production budget-to-box office returns difference of $723 million dollars. The point is that though Justice League might earn more money than Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel could earn a greater profit — especially if Thor: Ragnarok gets audiences pumped for Avengers: Infinity War.
It All Comes Down To Which Movie Audiences Enjoy More
November will place Thor and the Justice League against each other in the cinematic ring, but the ultimate test will come down to quality. If Warner Bros. surprises audiences and critics with a truly solid team-up — and if Thor: Ragnarok doesn't live up to its trailer, which made the hype spark like wildfire — then DC could land a crushing blow to Marvel. A well-marketed Deadpool wouldn't have been propelled to greatness if it weren't a great film.
Even if Justice League manages to earn a little bit more than Thor: Ragnarok at the box office, though, I personally still believe Thor: Ragnarok will come out on top in relative profit and audience goodwill. The Thorevolution has already begun.
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3rd. Justice League will be released on November 17th.
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