2 MCU Phase 5 Releases Make A Mockery Of Marvel"s "Stronger Franchises" Plans

  • Disney's focus on stronger franchises for future MCU movies may not lead to the same level of success as the original Marvel movies, which were built on lesser-known brands like Iron Man.
  • The disappointing box office performance of The Marvels and the poorly-rated Secret Invasion show that familiarity and brand strength alone are not enough to guarantee success.
  • Disney needs to determine what truly defines the MCU's strongest franchises and consider expanding beyond them to maintain innovation and audience interest in the long run.
Disney's latest plans for the MCU could transform the future Marvel movie timeline, but two Phase 5 releases prove there's a problem with the idea of only focusing on the supposedly "stronger franchises. Disney CEO Bob Iger's latest comments on the MCU's upcoming slate doubled down on the sentiment that the mega-selling franchise needs a radical overhaul. With Disney+'s rapid growth geared around growing subscriber numbers, seemingly at the cost of tighter quality control (at least in Iger's own assessment), we aren't looking at a bubble burst moment, but rather just a bit of an over-reach. Iger's answer is straightforward: do more of what works:
"Marvel is starting to focus on some of its stronger franchises going forward, but I'll leave it at that. And I think given the environment and given what it takes to get people out of their homes to see a film, doing that, leaning on franchises that are familiar is actually a smart thing. So, we've got work to do still." - Bob Iger, February 2024
Whisper it, but Disney might be learning the wrong lessons from their own past. While focusing on strong and familiar brands for upcoming MCU movies and TV shows makes sense on paper, that plan would never have led to Marvel's powerhouse success in the first place. The MCU was not built on tier 1 releases: Iron Man was not a strong or familiar brand, and though the build to The Avengers proved an inspired strategy, Marvel could not depend on the biggest brands - the X-Men, Spider-Man, and even Hulk - at the point of conception. And more problematically, looking at Phase 5, there are two high-profile failures that would not have been avoided even under Iger's new release mandate.
2:23 Related All Marvel Movies Releasing In 2024 The Marvel movies releasing in 2024 offer a range of film experiences - and some confusion, due to the changed dates of several incoming installments. The Marvel's Box Office Disaster Is Concerning For Disney's New Release Plan Carol Danvers' Return Should Have Been A Slam Dunk Close Putting aside the supposed controversy around Carol Danvers from certain bad faith actors, Captain Marvel was a massive success for Disney and Marvel Studios, making more than a billion dollars at the global box office. That was, undoubtedly, inflated by interest in Avengers: Infinity War and the hype built around the character as Earth's savior, but the box office performance instantly created a top tier MCU brand. In Hollywood, success begets expansion like nothing else, and even without Marvel's usual sequel model, Captain Marvel 2 became an immediate inevitability. 4 years on, The Marvels' record-breaking low box office haul made that logic look shaky.
Captain Marvel's Franchise Performance
Release Date
Box Office
Captain Marvel
Mar 8, 2019
The Marvels
Nov 10, 2023
If you take Iger's comments on the plan for renewed MCU success in the future at its most basic level, The Marvels should have been a slam dunk. In terms of familiarity and "strength", it had the required drawing power and was a viable investment. Iger has, of course, talked about the production being undermined by a lack of oversight, but on paper - even with the additions of new characters Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Tayonah Parris), The Marvels should have been able to perform stronger than its $200m box office. Fundamentally, The Marvels proves that there's way more to consider than just following previous successes.
″The Marvels’ was shot during Covid,” Iger explained. “There wasn’t as much supervision on the set, so to speak, where we have executives [that are] really looking over what’s being done day after day after day.” - Bob Iger, November 2023
Iger's willingness to blame The Marvels' disappointing performance on sloppy delivery also isn't the whole story, because the Captain Marvel movie is, in fact, a good movie. Its subsequent release on Disney+ has brought a notable wave of positive feedback (a lot of it with an air of shock) that looks like the collective epiphany that its theatrical release was missing. The very fact that quality also can't guarantee performance is a further wrinkle in Marvel Studios' new plan. The answer to that is far from clear, but again, it's not straightforward.
Related 12 Biggest Factors In The Marvels’ Historic Box Office Disaster The Marvels has made history by breaking the record for the lowest-grossing opening weekend for an MCU movie, and there are several reasons why. Secret Invasion Is Further Proof That Stronger Brands Don't Always Work Nick Fury's Solo Outing Would Always Have Been Made Under Disney's New Mandate Close The other complicating factor here is Secret Invasion, which broke more MCU records by being the lowest rated of all of Marvel's Disney+ shows. If the mystery of why a great movie like The Marvels failed to bring audiences out isn't a big enough conundrum, the question of how Secret Invasion turned out so bad is an eternal head-scratcher. Secret Invasion is a seminal Marvel comics run, which should have warranted an Avengers-level adaptation, but Marvel instead chose to basically throw out the source material and center everything on Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury.
Ironically, of course, Fury fits with Iger's ideal of familiarity and brand strength: Jackson has appeared in 11 MCU movies and is one of the few constants from Phase 1's very earliest days. Giving him his first solo outing was logical. Framing the Skrull invasion around revelations about his past and filling in gaps in his pre-Avengers story were also logical. But Secret Invasion ended up being an Inhumans-level disaster, because of the delivery. Again, it proves that strength and familiarity aren't enough, and that Marvel's new bright future has significant work to do beyond that.
The key context here - and the possible redemption - is in Iger's comments to Variety in November 2023 about Marvel's responsibility to deliver stories that justify their existence:
“I don’t want to apologize for making sequels. Some of them have done extraordinarily well and they’ve been good films, too. I think you there has to be a reason to make them, you have to have a good story. And often the story doesn’t hold up to is not as strong as the original story. That can be a problem.”
There is reason to be positive after those comments that another Secret Invasion won't happen. And as long as Marvel and Iger sew up his mandate to focus on strong brands and strong stories, the MCU could hit more high points again.
Secret Invasion Based on the Marvel Comics event, Secret Invasion is a chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that sees Nick Fury attempting to reckon with an alien invasion that has been occurring for years - without humanity even knowing. Fury discovers that the Skrulls have been infiltrating society for far longer than he realized, and danger arises as plans start into motion.
Release Date June 21, 2023 Cast Samuel L. Jackson , Ben Mendelsohn , Emilia Clarke , Cobie Smulders , Olivia Colman , Christopher McDonald , Carmen Ejogo , Kingsley Ben-Adir , Martin Freeman , Don Cheadle Seasons 1 Streaming Service(s) Disney+ Disney Needs To Work Out What The MCU's Stronger Brands Really Are Does Familiarity Breed Contempt? Close While there is definitely a hint of redemption in Iger's latest comments, the first step is establishing exactly what the MCU's strongest franchises actually are, and how they're defined. The Marvels suggests that box office can't be the only factor, even though box office success is inherently tied to the bigger brands. Worringly for anyone who feels that the MCU could become a homogeneous, repetitive playground for a small group of characters, new projects that push into new territories and embrace different ideas might have to take a backseat. But again, that logic is flawed, because WandaVision, Ms Marvel, and Moon Knight were all legitimately good TV shows. They didn't all perform uniformly, but do we cast their positives off because they wouldn't make a billion at the box office if they were movies?
It feels like Kevin Feige's long-celebrated comments about the infinite possibilities of Marvel's characters may be on pause
Right now, some of the stronger brands are very easy to put together in a roll-call. Robert Downey Jr might have retired, but Iron Man is part of tier 1 with Spider-Man, The Avengers, Captain America, Thor, and probably Hulk. The Guardians of The Galaxy have the box office performance, but the future there is unclear without James Gunn's oversight, and while Iger's spotlighting of the Fantastic Four's impending arrival suggests confidence, precedent set by previous adaptations might undermine that confidence. X-Men is definitely up there, and represents a strong expansion possibility for the MCU too. But is that it?
That would leave out Doctor Strange, but Benedict Cumberbatch's two movies have made a combined $1.5bn at the box office, so it would be wrong to ignore him on the grounds of "familiarity and strength". Would including Thanos really be out of the question? What of Black Panther? Do the Young Avengers count as an extension of the Avengers? These are the questions Marvel Studios have to ask within their walls. And crucially, what else can be turned into a tier 1 MCU brand without compromising on the need to focus on strong brands?
It feels like Kevin Feige's long-celebrated comments about the infinite possibilities of Marvel's characters may be on pause, for now, but Disney cannot throw out the idea of expansion without risking the diversification that has led to 15 years of box office dominance. If you stay still, you die in Hollywood, and there is an elephants' graveyard of incredible successful IPs and franchises that withered because of a lack of innovation leading to audience apathy. That's the real challenge under the surface here.
Related Will Avengers: The Kang Dynasty Be Delayed After Disney's 2026 Plans Snub? Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is set for 2026, but Disney CEO Bob Iger's latest comments about MCU disruption notably left the event movie out.


不想錯過? 請追蹤FB專頁!    
前一頁 後一頁