With “The Future of Marvel’s Film Franchises” panel scheduled for later today at Comic-Con, The Los Angeles Times takes a well-timed look at, well, the future of Marvel’s film franchises.
Will second- and third-tier characters like Ant-Man and Iron Man wow movie audiences the way Spider-Man and The X-Men have? Well …
Marvel’s most obviously bankable characters — Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Wolverine — are already locked into deals for movies with other studios, as is Ghost Rider, a Nicolas Cage vehicle that hits theaters in February. A fair share of the other most-recognizable names — among them Daredevil, the Punisher and Elektra — have already seen their screen moments come and go.
On the floor of Comic-Con, comics, video games and toys are now automatically sized up for viability as a $150-million summer film — that’s the popcorn era we live in these days. Plenty of genre-industry competitors suggest that Marvel may be opening a store with shelves that have already been picked clean of high-end merchandise.
“There is a clear benefit to their approach when it comes to smaller or niche characters that have a set audience and can reach the screen in targeted films,” said Holly Rawlinson, U.S. vice president of licensing for Pokémon, the Japanese card game and animation powerhouse. “But, really, their most special stuff has already been done if you’re talking about those huge expensive films, the franchise films … the really big names, they’ve pretty much gone through that list.”
Still, The Times points out, Marvel’s Blade began life in 1973 as a supporting character, yet spawned a lucrative film trilogy and, now, a TV series.