There has never been a bigger money-maker in film than superheroes. And the big studios are more than aware of that fact. Marvel Studios is currently working on sequels to Captain America, Thor, and Avengers as well as bringing new characters to the roster, like Captain Marvel, Inhumans, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange. Fox is working on expanding their X-Men universe through Deadpool and Gambit, while trying to reboot the beloved Fantastic Four; but we all know how that's turned out. This is all very exciting for the die-hard fans of these characters, but have they thought about what the future of film is going to look like when studios are putting faith in the superheroes? While I'm a big fan of the Avengers and X-Men, I can only see bad things coming from this kind of film industry.
It's All About Money
What is it that Marvel and Fox are so attracted to when it comes to superhero movies? The answer is simple: money. Avengers: Age of Ultron has made $1 billion worldwide as of last July, and Days of Future Past made over 3 times it's $200 million budget. It's no secret that these kinds of movies draw in a large crowd. It's why these big studios are willing to put so much money into these projects, and are already investing in multiple projects for the future.
For now, this hasn't presented itself as a major issue. Studios have been investing money in great movies like Winter Soldier and The Dark Knight Trilogy, but you have to think of this in the long term. They'll stop making these movies only when they're not making big bucks from them. By that logic, the movies will be getting worse and worse before the producers just give up. Instead of ending on a high note, they'll wait for the franchise to burn itself out, however long that takes.
There Won't Be Movies With A Good Story
In fact, that burn-out has already begun. The way studios tend to handle a superhero movie nowadays is by sticking to what they already know. They look back at other major successes in the genre, and think "That worked really well. Let's just do a movie like that!". They stick to what they know has worked before because they believe it's a safe and sure way to get money.
However, this tends to back-fire on the producers. Look at Fantastic Four. Based on multiple reports, director Josh Trank had a completley different final cut in mind a year ago. But Fox didn't approve of his ideas, and instead took complete control over Trank's project, and in the process ruined the movie. This happens all the time with movies, and if these studios keep going, it's gonna start happening to all of them.
The Next Stephen Spielberg Will Never Be Discovered
Speaking of sticking to safe paths, is there any space for aspiring directors in these movies? Sadly, I wouldn't bet on it. When studios want to make sure that they have the right people working on a project they've just spent hundreds of millions of dollars on, they don't wanna put their faith in a director they've never even heard of.
Of all the problems I've been bitching about, this is the one that pisses me off the most. Because of this, the chances of an up-and-coming director like myself being discovered are slimmer than ever and producers won't be willing to invest in their project, even if it has a good story. There's no chance for the next Stephen Spielberg. For every Marvel movie that's made, there's one independent film that doesn't get made.
Before I finish this article, let me clarify one thing. I'm a fan of these movies. I loved Winter Soldier, and I think Ant-Man is a wonderful addition to the Avengers. But I also want to be a filmmaker, and I'm highly discouraged from working on a big-budget superhero movie, one day. I want to be able to make the films that I want, but this superhero industry is eventually going to stop people like me from doing that. All I want is for this franchise to end at the right time instead of dying out and taking everyone else with them.