Shared cinematic universes are all the rage these days. Studios have learned that hooking audiences with the idea that they can possibly have their favorite characters from one movie somehow interact with their favorites from others is a one way ticket to the bank. The reigning cinematic universe king is Marvel with 12 films under their belt, amassing over $9 billion in the worldwide box office.
But being king doesn't mean you can't be dethroned. Every major studio has caught on to the money -making trend and either has a shared universe established or is starting to build one. Marvel's main competitor Warner Brothers and D.C. Entertainment is set to release Batman v. Superman next month to kick start their brand new cinematic universe. The movie will debut one of the worlds most well known female superheroes Wonder Woman . Marvel has quite the head start on its competitor in terms of money and critical success, so I'm guessing they aren't too worried about being surpassed just yet.
But one thing D.C. has over Marvel is that the studio owns the rights to all of the D.C. characters. Marvel characters are scattered across several studios leaving it somewhat impossible to tell certain stories in comic continuity within the different studios movie universes. D.C. doesn't have to worry about this ,which brings them a sort of freedom to tell their stories. Fox studios holds one of Marvel's most iconic properties ,the X-men, and their first super team The Fantastic Four; while Sony holds everyone's favorite web slinger, Spider-Man.
Recently Sony and Marvel finalized a deal to share the character of Spider-Man. Under the deal, both studios are collaborating on a new direction for the character and once again rebooting the character. Tom Holland will be taking over the role from Andrew Garfield, after the less than stellar The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But the situation with Fox has been bleak. Even with the colossal critical and financial failure of Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot , the studio and Bryan Singer are moving forward with the X-Men cinematic Universe . Deadpool and X-Men - Apocalypse are set for release this year, and a solo movie for Gambit in 2017. But still Fox has a lot to gain by playing nice with Marvel. While the studio holds rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters for the movies, they hold none of the television or the merchandising rights, which is a huge money making machine of its own. Marvel and Fox are teaming up to bring some X-Men related stories to television with Hellfire on Fox and Legion heading to FX. There's no word on what Marvel is getting out of the deal but we the fans are hopeful for a deal similar to the one Marvel has made with Sony for Spider-Man.
Ultimately the name of the game is money. Money for the film to be made, money to pay the actors and crew, money for marketing etc. If the studios find that the investment in a multi studio cinematic universe will be profitable for all parties involved, then you bet you'll be seeing all your favorite heroes on screen together at some point in time. But like Professor X once said, "Sharing has never been humanity's defining attribute."