I have to start off by saying how grateful I am for growing up in this time. Movies have gone through a lot, and they have finally reached an incredible point where they can bring our fantasies to life. And the most important part is that it looks believable and the quality of the work is impeccable! Batman and Superman are fighting! The Avengers are teaming up! We put behind the dark ages of terrible blockbusters and superhero movies. This is awesome! And there is no sign of slowing down!
Wait a minute.....What was that last statement? No sign of slowing down. I read articles about "Will we ever get tired of Superhero Movies?" And I think the answer is an obvious yes. There will be a time when we just had enough, but it won't be for a while. What I'm talking about is how movies are spinning off and being tied together.
There is no such thing as a franchise anymore. Now it's a universe. Studios are looking to expand beyond the borders of the conventional three movie structure. The superhero genre seems the most logical to start off with. They're based off of comic books that focus on a ton of characters that are always crossing over, and are effected by the events of other superheroes/villains in their shared worlds. This seems right. Now every studio is trying that same thing with different properties.
21 Jump Street is crossing over with Men in Black, Django and Zorro are teaming up, and Star Wars is getting solo movies that might not matter in the overall story of episodes seven to nine, but just expand the universe more. This is crazy! Really stop and think about how much we are getting. And with every year we are getting movies out quicker and quicker. There is no break in between.
I was talking to a friend of mine about the Marvel movies. He's a fan, but he doesn't watch all them. He told me that he didn't understand what was going on in the newer films, because he didn't see one or two of them. Other people I have talked to who are casual movie going fans have expressed the same complaint. I fear this can become a huge problem in the future for both Marvel and DC. Like the comic books, the movies create events that change the landscape of the future for certain characters, and other movies. And because of that you alienate your larger audience, because they don't know what's going on. They don't get everything that's being presented in the movie, because they just want to follow Captain America instead of Thor. Making many people asking "Wait what's going on?"
When things start to get overly complicated, comic book events like the New 52 are created. To bring in new readers to their franchise, and so they can start at zero with their cannon. Soon we'll just watch the heroes or movies we are interested in, and miss out on the rest of the universe these studios set up. Only the hardcore fans will be watching everything being put out.
And just like I talked about how trailers aren't just for us comic fans, either are the movies. They are made with us in mind, but these movies are made to appeal to everyone. But now that we are getting so much, it might be hard to keep track of everything. Especially when you have crossovers involving characters/events from TV Shows. I'm looking at you Agents of Shield and Agent Carter. Or maybe not knowing if the Flash that's on TV is going to be the Flash in the DCCU. (He's not).
As a creative move it's smart to branch off and connect everything, but as a business move it's risky. NOT BAD! Just risky. You have to find the perfect balance. The goal isn't to narrow down your viewers, but to expand and make the world feel more real and connected. You have to come in with a solid plan, and not just rush things for a quick cash grab.