As much as we love to have our favorite superheroes on our screens, one can’t help but wonder – are superhero movies ruining Hollywood? Movies like Avengers, Justice League, and Wonder Woman have done immense business at the box-office and enjoy an incredibly dedicated fanbase. But a mere 6 superhero films dominate the entire market, leading to a dangerous situation where Studios bank their entire growth on a few films.
The past decade has seen an unprecedented surge in the number of superhero films, with production houses cranking out films featuring super-powered beings faster than ever before. While these films have enjoyed considerable box office success, this comes at the cost of hindering the production and release of films which are not superhero films. Since Marvel’s Avengers in 2012, the superhero genre has seen explosive growth, with films like Captain Marvel, Aquaman and Wonder Woman becoming pop culture phenomenons.
Relevant Data and Perspectives from Experts
Movies like these, which are based on comic book properties and have seen tremendous success, have convinced Hollywood that it needs to invest heavily in superheroes. The result is an oversaturation of superhero content, choking out any other kind of genre. Consequently, while the superhero genre has seen immense growth, other genres such as horror, romantic comedies and thrillers have been consigned to a negligible role in the industry.
According to film critic Robin Write, “Unfortunately, there is a decided lack of that variety in our major multiplex theaters due to Hollywood banking on the superhero franchise.” Many experts opine that it is about time we get back to the fundamentals, and for the sake of cinema, we must try to produce films in all genres. As Andrew Brook, of Filmschoolrejects says, “I think you should be able to watch movies of just about any and every kind and find something that connects with you. That’s why multi-genre films are so great. They take a little bit of this and a little bit of that and smoosh it all together.”
It is true that superhero films have earned a copious amount of box office success and have ultimately financially bolstered the entire movie industry, at least in the short-term. But when the monopolization of Hollywood studios by a few superheroes persists, a vacuum of sorts is created. This deprives the industry of the opportunity to gain a wider perspective and look into different genres and potential hits with different premises.
While it is understandable why production giants like Disney are banking on superhero films due to the extraordinary profits they bring in, it would be prudent to diversify and begin to also invest in other genres. This will not only create better and diversified content, but also have a positive impact on the entire industry in the long run.
Effects on the Filmmaking Industry
The excessive reliance on superheroes and the subsequent push of other genres to the side has had an intensely negative effect on the filmmaking industry. With the constant release of superhero flicks, other genres are being neglected and filmmakers who would specialize in these genres are unable to thrive in the industry. Additionally, due to the profligate investment in superhero films, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new film-makers to make a mark in the industry, unless their film ties into the established franchise.
The lack of variety in the cinematic market has been a cause for concern among filmmakers and film-goers alike. Professional movie critics actively voice their opposition to this issue, urging for more variety in terms of genre and for a shift away from the heavily-relied upon superhero films.
Impact on Younger Audiences
The focus on superhero films has impacted the quality and viewability of films for young audiences as well. For example, the Marvel movies, without being excessively vulgar, contain language and situations that could be considered inappropriate for smaller children. Not to mention that subjecting children to the ever-present violence and drama that fills superhero movies could lead to them being desensitized towards real-world violence.
This situation has been brought on by Hollywood focusing entirely on the superhero genre. A different balance of genres in Hollywood could have been of immense help in this regard, by creating more age-appropriate films for children, thus allowing them some respite from the intense subject matter dealt with in superhero films.
Affect of Superheroes on Talent
The majority of superhero films these days require a star-studded ensemble of actors, which means lower budget films in other genres and fewer roles for fresh talent to cut their teeth on. While some size-able and powerful names in the industry have lent their hand to helping out the new-comers, their impact is overshadowed by the larger share of the film industry pie taken up by the major studios, their endless resources and star power they draw from.
By placing superhero films above all others, Hollywood obstructs the growth of potential talent, preventing potential stars from emerging. If production houses were to shift their focus to other genres, there would be more scope for actors to hone their skills, as well as for cast members of a different origin to get the break they deserve.
Impact on the Market
The monopolization of Hollywood by the superhero genre has created difficulties for the rest of the market in that the majority of people flock to the comic book movies, leaving the other movies deserted. This is likely to deter subsequent distributors from investing in smaller and/or independent movies, reducing their opportunity to gain mass appeal. It can be unequivocally argued that the emphasis on the superhero genre and its control of the cinematic market has restricted movie goers, blocking them from experiencing other stories and innovative movie plots.
Furthermore, the lack of investment in other genres reduces the avenues available to film producers and directors. Even if an innovative movie is made with an intriguing plot and an original story, the transformation of the market makes it extremely difficult to reach a wide range of audience, making it hard for the producer to see a return on the investment.
Impact on Storytelling
The current market has projected superhero-movies as the top-grossing and most desired form of entertainment, which is making film-makers resort to telling such stories as a necessity, rather than a passion. This has led to a lack of creativity within the industry, further perpetuated by the already-exploited comic book characters, leading to the same stories being recreated in a different fashion. The production of superhero movies for the sake of raking in box office cash undermines the craft of storytelling and impedes true creativity from flourishing in the industry.
Finally,the formulaic approach followed by Hollywood towards producing superhero-movies directly impacts the recurring storylines we can witness in most such movies, resulting in an aura of sameness surrounding the entire genre, one that lacks true diversity and imagination.
Impact On Cultural Icons
The incredible success of superhero movies has led to a vicious cycle, with cultural icons taking inspiration from the movie adaptations and recombining them with the original plot. This has led to a jaded version of the original plot and characters, as Hollywood does whatever it pleases in the attempt of delivering bigger profits at the theaters. The unprecedented effects on cultural icons have become increasingly more evident, as adaptations have strayed extremely far away from their original plot in an attempt to remain popular with the audience.
The phenomena of superhero movies has increased exponentially over the past few years, subsequently leading to an oversaturation of the genre. This has caused an unbalance in the selection of movies out on the market, resulting in other genres being neglected and reduced to a negligible role. In addition, the focus on superhero films has distorted the focus to the detriment of different genres, caused difficulties for younger audiences and new talents, reduced the avenues for producers to attain their goals and impacted storytelling in a negative fashion. This overreliance of Hollywood on superhero films has caused a ripple effect throughout the industry and it essential for the balance to be restored in order for different genres to flourish.