Marvel Universe…Which One!!
Of course in the Marvel Comic Universe there is only one universe, however, the current phenomena of Marvel is on the Silver Screen. The amount of blockbuster movies that are being generated under the Superhero genre is dominating the film industry. Marvel were very clever when they started their Avengers story-arc, tying down all the main actors for a minimum of six movies – three individual movies and three Avengers movies. We are able to see the development of each Superhero with the same actor, this is something that Warner Bros have chosen not to do with their DC Comics movies.
Not only did Iron Man revive Robert Downing Jr’s career, but each Iron Man movie has grossed over $580,000.00 and along with the Avengers is the flagship of the Marvel Superhero franchise. These huge blockbuster movies enticed Disney to buy out Marvel Studios for about $4 billon. Disney are lining up a Marvel film for every year until 2028. So expect to see the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy cross over and all the tie-ins of the characters of that huge storyline.
We can look forward to seeing Ant-man and Dr Strange and a whole list of Superheroes that have been queuing up for years to perform on the big screen, along with all the top actors wanting to jump on the Marvel train.
This is by far the biggest project in the Superhero genre and with Disney’s backing is going to be the mainstay of the film industry for years to come.
Franchises…Welcome to Spiderman-verse!!
Sony bought the Spiderman franchise from Marvel and after the three major Spiderman films of the 2002 to 2007 period will never and I mean Never, allow the Spiderman movie franchise to leave the company. They sold back their rights for Ghost Rider to Marvel after the sequel was not such a great hit with cinema goers and fans alike and hence have thrown all their Superhero eggs in one basket.
The Amazing Spiderman has been a breath of fresh air and Sony defiantly upped the ante in their production of this film. For me it only just fell short of the Avengers Assembled film, yes I enjoyed it that much, with many iconic Superman comic scenes incorporated into the film.
Watching the Tobey Maguire trilogy of films makes you realise just how Amazing the new Spiderman is. The second film is as good and it dovetails with the first film very closely, setting up the Spiderman Universe very nicely. Originally Mary Jane was to be introduced in this move, but her scenes were cut so that audiences could concentrate on the tragedy of Gwen Stacy.
With Sony announcing that Amazing Spiderman 3 and 4 are in production and that the anti-hero film of the Sinister Six, is to be the next film in the Spiderman-verse to be hitting the screen. There is also rumoured to be a Venom film in development as well, it looks as if Sony are fully committed to making the Amazing Spiderman a more complete Spiderman Universe – I believe it is a smart move.
An interesting development on the Amazing Spiderman 2 film was that Marvel Studios worked on the graphics of the Oscorp building, will there be any chance of Spiderman showing up in the Avengers – we will all have our eyes and ears open for that story…!!
Lastly…But not in any way the Least – Wolverine-verse!!!
Fox have the Marvel franchise of the X-men, Fantastic Four and all the characters and villains that are incorporated in those titles. Their franchise is the most fragile as the agreement is that if they don’t put a film into production within ten years, the franchise goes back to Marvel.
Marvel tried really hard to get the Fantastic Four back, as the gossip has it that they weren’t very happy how Fox treated the Silver Surfer, but it looks as if Fox has won the internal wrangling and will hang on to the Fantastic Four for the time being, although they have surrendered the DareDevil franchise. This is important, as the current X-men story-arc is tied into the Fantastic Four time-line and if Fox want to develop a Marvel Universe with their franchises, they aren’t going to be able to do it forever with the Wolverine and the X-men.
X-Men and Wolverine are the main success for Fox and in following the Sentinels story arc have a trilogy of films that are open to expansion, Xmen: First Class, X-men: Days of Future past and X-men: Apocalypse will make it seven films in the X-men series.
In the comic series it is Kitty Pryde who goes back in time to try and change the past and her importance is that she becomes a very strong and important lead character in the X-Men universe. However, Fox elected to go with the ever popular Wolverine, I mean we have seen Wolverine in all the X-men films, we have seen his Origin story, he has fought ninja and Yakuza and now he has gone back in time to the first class X-men. Where next an alternate universe, oh wait an alternative timeline and will he ever take up his place in the Avengers!!
On the Small Screen… Everyone is Connected to the Marvel Universe!!
Before Disney bought Marvel Studios they purchased the complete TV rights of every Marvel Character. So in theory we could see all the Marvel Universe on the small screen. There are a few agreements to be put in place, as there are several companies that also have TV rights. Nothing as complicated as the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who are Magneto’s children, but in the Fox films cant mention anything about the Avengers and vice-versa in the Marvel films. Television is competing more strongly with the cinema than ever. Increased budgets and production has seen the likes of The Walking Dead and The Arrow gross huge amounts of money.
Marvel is way behind its main protagonist in the Comic era, DC Comics have had the successful Small Ville and Superman shows and again another hit show with the Arrow. They will also be airing Gotham and The Flash later in the year.
Disney have heavily promoted the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series with previews airing on major chat shows in the USA. The series has many cameo roles of characters seen in the Cinematic films and either hints at or explains some of the missing features of the films. The Series is getting stronger and personally I am waiting for it come on Netflix, so I don’t have to watch those annoying adverts.
Next up is Agent Carter which is a show exploring her life as a spy, while Captain America is frozen in ice. This is an interesting concept and I am wondering what it is leading to. I mean do we have to know what went on from the end of WWII to whenever the series timescale ends. Personally I was wondering what had happened to her and it will be nice to see a female character get the lead in a Marvel production.
The next two series have yet to be confirmed if they are indeed in the same universe as S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. The first is the Hell’s Kitchen story-arc.
“Disney have also signed a new deal with Netflix exclusively airing original Marvel live-action TV programming based in the “gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York.” This will begin in 2015 with Daredevil, an intellectual property reacquired by Marvel Studios from Twentieth Century Fox last year. Jessica Jones, previously talked about as a potential ABC series, is next on the list, followed by other fan-favourite characters in Iron Fist and Luke Cage.”
The Defenders is in addition to the four series, the agreement will also see a live-action mini-series TV event based around The Defenders which could potentially bring together the above-mentioned characters along with heroes from the films, assuming they – like Agents of SHIELD – take place in the same universe, which they likely will.
Marvel… In the World of Comics!!
Let’s not make any mistake about it, Marvel do not hold the top spot in the graphic novel world. This is undeniable held by DC Comics, although both companies continually jostle for top overall sales. Batman still holds the highest grossing graphic comic sales and Justice League is not that far behind. It is interesting that Ironman is the highest grossing movie of Marvel Studios, but he is not as popular in his comic form.
Has the influx of world of movies spilled over into the graphic novel industry? Yes, the release of films do affect comic book sales, with Amazing Spiderman knocking off Batman in April 2014 for example. Mainstream I believe in a small degree, graphic novels are not for everyone, but you can walk in to any WH Smith store and see a rack of graphic novels now, where years ago there was no space reserved for them.
Action Figures… and Other Stuff!!
In 2007 the Marvel company reported sales revenue in 4 different segments:
- Licensing – The Licensing segment (54% of revenues, 64% of earnings)
- Publication – The Publishing segment (28% of revenues, 24% of earnings)
- Toys – The Toys segment (19% of revenues, 29% of earnings)
- Movie Production – (no revenues by early 2008, operating losses)
[Note that “operating losses” in an ear of hit movies indicates “Hollywood Accounting.”]
Marvel have a healthy merchandizing franchise, they don’t have to make action figures, but there are a queue of manufacturers that do. Selling the licensing rights to make this merchandise is very important and profitable!
We want to see a healthy successful Marvel. Their movies are never done on a budget and they are prepared to make losses or not much profit on certain movies such as Thor and Captain America to push along the Avengers story-arc. They are prepared to take huge risks as with Guardians of the Galaxy movie, this will be a massive hit or a huge flop. Marvel is starting fresh with this one and although members of the Avengers do get incorporated into the Guardians of the Galaxy stories in the graphic novels, we will have to wait to see how it all works out in the movie world.
Video Games…Bigger than the Movie World!!
The biggest grossing media in world today is the Video Games, franchises like GTA, Call of Duty, Fifa Soccer and Minecraft make more money than the blockbuster films and they do it in much shorter time span. There might not be as much after sales merchandising as with the film industry, eg, dvds, action figures and toys, but any company in the Media industry would be foolish to ignore such an income stream. Marvel has had its nose bloodied in the Video gaming market, with Iron Man 2, Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier receiving a poor reception. Marvel just have not got this right, especially when you compare their releases to the Batman games. Indeed it is only the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game where they have received some success.
Not only are video games huge, but online games such as World of Warcraft and the current king of Moba games League of Legends, which is worldwide phenomenon. Marvel currently have their own free online game called Marvel Avengers Alliance, but is gearing up to launching its new game called Marvel Heroes in 2015.
Board Gaming…For Marvel it is Dice and Cards!!
To my mind when I think of Marvel in the board gaming world, three successful franchises come to mind, Marvel Heroclix, Marvel Legendary and Marvel Dice Masters.
Before these three games arrived it had only been Stratego Marvel, Monopoly Marvel games, a board game called Marvel Heroes and some Collectable Card Games that did excite the gamers market. Since then Marvel have only given licences to two companies, with each bringing successful games to market.
Heroclix is a phenomena in the gaming world. Originally a tactically wargame that has branched out into many genre and variants of the game have been developed such as Star Wars X-wing Miniatures game and Star Trek Attack Wing game. Marvel Heroclix is constantly sold out to pre-order on its latest releases, each following a particular movie release.
Next up is Marvel legendary produced by Upper Deck, a deck building game that received rave reviews in the gaming world and with three expansions, is very much in the top lists of players who like deck-building games. It is fun to have Agents of Shield along with Spiderman and the Fantastic Four battle it out against Magneto and his henchmen.
Tom Randell has written up two excellent blogs on the Marvel Dice Masters game, one on the pre-release and the other about when he got his hands on it. This game developed from the Quarriors! battling dice game is a Collectable Dice and Card game, it is generic in the fact that is has been developed for a whole host of titles, we could see DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and others in the future. However, it is interesting that Wizkids kicked off the game with the runaway success of Marvel. The game was highly predicted to a massive hit in the gaming world this year and so far, it looks as if could be the biggest release of the year.
So What is the Verdict…Final Thoughts!!
Personally I am very happy to see Marvel doing well. Of course, like many others I’d like to see another Hulk movie or two. I hope I am not the only one to be looking forward the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, this looks to be a fun filled adventure and maybe succeed where John Carter failed and open up another space opera epic.
The dilemma of course is what the directors are putting in the movies. I mean when the next Avengers film comes out, you are going to have to re-cap on 12 movies and watch the TV series of Agents of Shield to be fully prepared.
What do I mean by this!! Well let’s take one example, one of biggest laugh out loud moments of Avengers Assembled was when the Hulk grabbed Loki and smashed him about and said “Puny God!” Those that laughed loudest would have been those who had watched the first Hulk movie, where Banner wipes at a misted mirror in his dream to see the Hulk staring back at him, who then says “Puny Human!” The Marvel movies are full of these inter-connecting links and is one of the fun factors they have put into their movies.
Speaking of having the loudest laugh, it could be those of you that have purchased the quickly depleted stocks of the Marvel Dice Masters game. I think when the next supply hits the Gamesquest stores I am going to pick up a starter and a few booster packs, otherwise I will just be playing Legendary whenever I hear the dreaded East Enders theme tune.
The following two tabs change content below.
Paul Matthews is a Sales Manager for Gamesquest Ltd, as well as a part-time Board game Demonstrator and Blogger. After several years playing Yu-gi-oh at Tournament level, his latest passion is all things board gaming. Besides playing board games, Paul is a part time author and enjoys reading and archery. Paul has a Degree in Humanities Psychology/Counselling and several Life-skill Degrees in Parenting, Horse Management and Ecommerce.