Film franchises are still hugely popular at the box office with no signs of their popularity abating. 2016 will see various franchises continue with new releases and, in particular, one interesting release from a newcomer to the superhero arena featuring two of the longest established superheroes of them all.
The continued success of franchises
Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of their success in 2015 was how older franchises are still popular. Over 20 years after the original and 14 years since the last release, ‘Jurassic World’ was the hit of the summer only being eclipsed by the long-awaited release from the even older ‘Star Wars’ franchise when ‘The Force Awakens’ obliterated box office records after its December release.
It will be interesting in 2016 to see just how successful ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will be. The success so far is sure to put a smile on Disney executives’ faces – the studio bought the franchise from its creator George Lucas and this is the first release since Disney invested $4 billion in the near 40 year old franchise.
Marvel Studios continues the success story: its formula of superhero films rotated carefully and released frequently (usually two or three a year minimum) generate huge box office revenues, and another huge hit is likely in 2016 when ‘Captain America: Civil War’ hits the screens.
The one to watch
Perhaps the most significant franchise release comes from DC in March with its release featuring two of the most popular superheroes of all in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’.
Why might it be the most significant?
It’s a new franchise
It features already established and popular superheroes
It will usher in new characters for future films
It competes with an established superhero franchise success story (Marvel)
Two former comic rivals square up on the silver screen
Marvel Studios has mined its formula for success relentlessly and delivered exactly what superhero film fans enjoy. With such an array of superhero characters, it can rotate them and keep them relatively ‘fresh’ while still releasing films on a regular basis.
DC clearly wants a piece of this action, so it is looking to create a huge splash with what may be the year’s biggest film towards the end of March. It will obviously vie with Marvel’s ‘Captain America’ release – and one can imagine the original comic rivals trading blows on a regular basis with future releases.
DC is also vying for attention and publicity with a big franchise release from its parent firm Warner Bros, namely the Harry Potter prequel ‘Amazing Beasts and Where to Find Them’. This could be an even bigger film than DC’s opening salvo in the superhero arena.
DC’s plans for the future
Along with being an intended mega-seller in its own right, DC’s new film will also introduce characters such as Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman who will feature in their own titles as DC seeks to emulate Marvel’s film making model by releasing titles on a regular basis.
Like Marvel, DC has already set a schedule of film production going up to 2020 and is set on establishing itself as a major franchise hit factory just like its Disney-owned adversaries.
It should be an interesting battle between the two superhero specialists in the year ahead…and beyond.