It’s not about the colors they wear, it’s about the color they produce.
This could be considered the “Golden Age” of comic book movies. But it’s very different from the “Golden Age” of comics themselves. That was the time period between the late 1930s to the early 1950s. It could be considered the Dawn of Comics. It’s when the archetype of the superhero was created and usually marked by the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Though there were more superheroes to come in the following decades, it was nothing compared to the plethora of superhero characters appearing just in movie theaters, let alone on TV. Back then, the industry itself was looked down upon. Comics were considered cheap, throw-away junk for kids. And many of those kids had to keep them “under the covers”.
That’s certainly not the case now, with colorful superheroes dominating our culture.
There have always been comic book movies and TV shows, the current flood of them can be traced back to 2008’s “Iron Man”, the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and more importantly, it’s reign over the box office. Their approach to a cohesive, interlocking storyline has proved to be extremely lucrative. The MCU has amassed over $3 billion domestically in box office sales and $10 billion worldwide. It’s not likely to slow down. Meanwhile, DC has pulled in over $5.5 billion at home and $7 billion worldwide. You can debate who’s “better” but you can’t argue that’s a whole lot of money. And everybody wants a piece. The “Universe” aspect of the two big comics companies not only helps bring in ticket sales, it also helps with ads, promotions and merchandising.
And there’s no sign of this trend slowing down. Over the next 5 – 10 years, there are no less than 28 comic movies scheduled for release or at least in development. DC has 18 in the works, Marvel has 10.
Though Marvel currently rules the big screen, DC has dominated the TV landscape with multiple shows, particularly on the CW, generating millions in ad revenue and product tie-ins.
Smaller publishers are getting in on the superhero and comics bandwagon as well. One such company, Dark Horse, may not have seen the huge box office numbers of Marvel or DC, they have had definite successes. Their properties, such as “300”, “Hellboy” “Sin City” and “The Mask” have pushed them to just over the coveted $1 billion mark. Dark Horse now has at least seven new projects in development.
Another smaller publisher, Valiant Comics, has recently cut a deal with Sony to bring their comics to theaters. Valiant started in the 90s, as an alternative to the “big two” and have gone through a couple of iterations as a publisher. They are now enjoying a very successful run with their slate of superheroes, which they are planning on bringing to the big screen with at least three properties in development. With the might of Sony behind them, they stand a good chance of getting a piece of that superhero pie.
So while you’ll see lots of brightly colored capes flying around your movie and TV screens, it all comes down to one color: green.