Thursday, August 22, 2013

Opinion and Analysis: Man of Steel 2 - Superman vs. Batman

UPDATE:The Caped Crusader role finally took a name--Ben Affleck.

This year’s San Diego Comic Con electrified the crowd when WB revealed that their upcoming Man of Steel sequel is in fact a Batman/Superman combo movie.  And surely, if you’re reading this article, this news shouldn’t be surprising. If the news still hasn’t struck you, then I guess it’s time to rejoice. At face value, the idea of a crossover definitely looks amazing—who wouldn’t want Batman and Superman in the same movie? But, then comes in Man of Steel—the film that everyone was anticipating. “The best superhero movie” they said. After the long wait and my high hopes, I finally hit the theaters. Unfortunately, I left the theater thinking maybe WB can fix it the next time around.

First off, I have to say that Man of Steel was not a bad movie but it wasn’t a great one either. The trailers fooled me into believing that it was going to be spectacular and perfect. The truth is it wasn’t perfect but it did have some good moments. It had the potential. Many critics and myself included found that the film suffered from a lack of build-up and character development. And the main cause of this trouble was the waste of screen-time on action. There are some moments were the fight and flight sequences are spectacular but at some point they became redundant and pointless. It as if WB had to insure Man of Steel’s success by adding more action and more action to make the odds of its failure lower. The conclusion it seems is that more action equals more money. So, to be on the safe side, they said: “heck why not add more.” I am not here to point fingers but the Zach Snyder and David S. Goyer duo are part of this problem. WB’s aim is quick cash and this is corroborated by their recent announcement of the Batman vs. Superman showdown.

Man of Steel’s legs in the box office were middling, losing much of its power quickly, mainly due to the material itself and the critical consensus. Prior to its release, the superman tentpole spurred so much hype but once it was released it quickly wavered. It is currently struggling to get past the $300 million barrier in North America. Looking past the big debut and the pre-release tracking, the final revenue is by far a success for any reboot/origin movie. What is more concerning is the holding power of the film which often tells a great deal about the success of the next film. In this case, the numbers didn't call out a huge success for Man of Steel 2. The only way WB could make loads of money is by once again increasing the anticipation and hype for its upcoming sequel—that way even if the film isn't of superior quality it will still make a lot of money.  How was that done? By bringing in the second most popular DC character or arguably the most popular DC superhero into Man of Steel 2. 

In consequence, the Superman vs. Batman film should garner a huge opening weekend. Big openings are the best way for film studios to profit since over the opening weekend word of mouth doesn't spread quickly and as a result there is almost nothing* that can impede a film’s gross. The days after its opening are important but are more susceptible to damage by critics, word of mouth, and competition—all of which are generally immutable. On the other hand, the opening 3-day gross can be controlled to some extent by the marketing and thereof the pre-release word of mouth.

The Avengers is a great example of how crucial marketing and word of mouth is in determining the final revenue of the film. Due to a heightened hype and positive reception, the Avenger’s staggering opening and holding power led to an impressive final gross of $623.4 million.(which was almost 3 times the opening weekend gross compared to Man of Steel's 2.3~2.5**.) What was even more astounding was its effect on Iron Man 3—which has yet to be tested on Thor: The Dark World. The crux is that more often than not good quality pays off more than superfluous measures—especially in the long run. It is yet to be seen if the upcoming Superman/Batman film can triumph both critically and financially. My opinion: the latter is more likely. 2015 is still a long way to go but it’s safe to say that Man of Steel 2 should easily out-gross its predecessor even with Ben Affleck as Batman.

*Except for the present competition. However, this can also sometimes  be managed by scheduling a film properly.
**2.3 including Thursday's numbers and 2.5 excluding.

No comments:

Post a Comment