Let's take a look at upcoming superhero release dates. From now until 2020, there are about 30 new superhero movies from Marvel, DC, Fox, and Sony coming out in theaters. In 2017, we'll see nine superhero movies coming out in 2017, alone, with three untitled Marvel movies, two untitled DC movies, Fantastic Four 2, Wolverine 3, Venom, and a female led superhero movie that takes place in the Spider-Man cinematic universe (Black Cat or Spider-Woman). That's a lot of movies to be excited for in one calendar year, so are we getting too many superhero movies in the future?
Let's not be silly. Of course not! Would anyone say that we're getting too many horror or science fiction movies in one year? Are we getting too many dramas or comedies? How about documentaries or indie films? I'm a fan of movies, so the more, the better! At this point in cinema history, the superhero genre has become as legitimate a sub-genre as the buddy cop action movie or the romantic comedy. It's here to stay. The question we should be asking ourselves is not "are there too many superhero movies," but rather "are we getting any *good* ones."
While a majority of superhero film franchises are successful, they're not fully fool proof. We've seen over the years that some superhero movies underperform at the box office, but Hollywood doesn't think about these movies being received poorly because they were bad (I'm looking at you The Amazing Spider-Man 2), they think about how much money they will make. The movie business, after all, is a business. Superhero movies need to be as profitable as any other movie. Although The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn't win over audiences and critics, it did gross a little bit over $700 million worldwide. Despite this number being low when compared to the other superhero movies that came out in 2014 (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073)), $700 million is still $700 million.
The fact of the matter is, no matter how many superhero movies we're getting over the next six years, we're going to see them come and go when it comes to opening weekend box office numbers and worldwide grosses. Will Sony be just as enthusiastic about The Amazing Spider-Man in 2018, if [Sinister Six](movie:1274281), [Venom](movie:372411), and female-led superhero movie that takes place in the Spider-Man cinematic universe underperform with less and less money as each movie is released?
What should concern is whether or not Fox's [The Fantastic Four](movie:34667) franchise will successful reboot. What if audiences don't show up to theaters when the first of two planned Fantastic Four movies underperform? Would Fox still plan to release a second knowing that it probably won't do as well as the first? It's really hard to tell if Fantastic Four will be any good, but just telling from the cast and how the first two movies were received, there's a very good chance that Josh Trank might right the ship when it comes to Fantastic Four. We'll know more about audience excitement once Fox releases the film's first trailer.
Until then, it seems that Hollywood executives are getting confused with today's superhero phenomenon. It's not that audiences want more superhero movies, it seems that they want more superhero movies from Marvel Studios. The comic book movie studio is making more and more money, where other studios seem to fall flat when it comes to catering to fan wants. While Marvel movies play in the same cinematic universe, they do so in different film genres. This seems like a good reason why people are excited about Marvel movies and why the franchise doesn't seem overplayed. This is an important direction that no other movie studio seems to understand and why most of their superhero movies feel the same, while Marvel keeps playing with expectations.
As a movie fan, I firmly believe that a good movie will make money or find an audience somewhere down the line. It's not that we're getting too many superhero movies, it's just that we might not be getting any good ones. Between now and 2020, we're going to see more than 30 superhero movies open in theaters. There's a very good chance that some (or even most) of them might not be very good. We might be seeing a lot of movie studio announce release dates for untitled superhero movies now, but will they also announce a lot of cancellations if the film franchise fails?