Discuss: How Much Is Too Much? 9 Major Superhero Movies Scheduled To Be Released In 2017

Discuss: How Much Is Too Much? 9 Major Superhero Movies Scheduled To Be Released In 2017

After years of playing catch-up to Marvel Studios, yesterday Warner Bros. announced an ambitious plan for their slate of DC superhero movies, plotting ten blockbusters to land between 2016 and 2020. And combined with the various strategies their rivals at Fox and Sony are planning long term, that’s over 30 comic book movies from major studios hitting theaters in the next six years. A couple of months ago, we were already wondering if this was too much product, and frankly, the question is worth asking again. Is Hollywood flying too close to the sun, threatening to fatigue audiences with superhero sagas?

It seems like 2017 might represent a tipping point. Following WB’s announcement, there are now nine spandex centered movies slated to arrive in those twelve months, and they are as follows:

"The Wolverine 2" – March 3, 2017
Untitled Marvel Movie – May 5, 2017
Untitled DC Movie – June 23, 2017
Fantastic Four 2 – July 14, 2017
Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 – July 28, 2017
Untitled Marvel Movie – November 3, 2017
Untitled DC Movie – November 17, 2017
Untitled Sony Female Led Spiderverse Film – TBA
Venom Carnage – TBA

Undeniably, this amounts to a lot of movies, but can they all be successful? The simple is answer is: no. Just yesterday, news came down that Fox had shifted the Mark Millar adaptation "Kingsman: The Secret Service" from October 2014 to February 2015, which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence, especially following a presentation at Comic-Con last month that inspired little excitement. And while Marvel is currently the king of the comic book heap, and with Sony scrambling to save their Spider-Man franchise, fortunes can change, and narratives can be reversed. So how can the competing studios ensure they’re not going to be stuck with a bunch of duds?

It’s simple. Change it up. The blockbuster comic book formula is pretty tired by now, so studios and filmmakers need to find a way to make superhero movies feel fresh and exciting. Even though it followed the template of "Star Wars" and the Indiana Jones movies, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" felt new and invigorating to audiences, because it deviated from the standard Marvel playbook (but not entirely —the plot stills involves a random bunch of people chasing a steel ball for two hours). Meanwhile, Sony saw what happened when you follow the playbook with scrupulous (but also unfocused) fidelity with the two latest installments of their "The Amazing Spider-Man" franchise, which rebooted five short years after Sam Raimi‘s trilogy ended, bringing next-to-nothing new to the table, except for cosmetic changes and an unwieldy attempt at world-building.

Over at Fox, "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" followed up the promise of "X-Men: First Class" and has thus fully revitalized the mutant-centric franchise for a new generation. And while "The Wolverine" wasn’t so great, it seems that as long as Hugh Jackman pops those claws, audiences are going to show up. Meanwhile, WB is the biggest wildcard in the bunch. Can the studio replicate the Marvel blueprint, but with a grittier approach? Will characters outside of Superman and Batman be compelling enough to stand on their own? Are they rushing headlong into a "Justice League" film —widely expected to follow "Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice," and what could very well be one of the 2017 titles— without properly mapping out that world first?

These are all big questions to be answered, but more crucially, will audiences be interested? As the YA genre has shown, just because a film fits into a certain box doesn’t mean moviegoers will automatically buy tickets (shed a tear for "The Mortal Instruments" and "Beautiful Creatures" and pray for "The Maze Runner" next month). And the next breakout blockbuster hit in in the next few years might render comic book movies passé, sending studios scrambling to ride the wave of the next big thing.

But for now, with Marvel and DC scheduling films into 2019 and 2020 respectively, both studios are confident they will deliver the goods consistently, with the expected rate of return to make the genre viable. But what do you think? Is this too much? Are you ready for something different? Tell us below.

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"The blockbuster comic book formula is pretty tired by now"

What, exactly, is this mysterious "formula"? Because Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy are three completely different movies. Tonally, thematically, structurally.

And "tired"? Those films also happen to be three of the best reviewed movies of the year, and commercially have exceeded their predecessors (Cap 2 doubled the gross of Cap 1, DOFP is the highest grossing X-Men movie) while Guardians is on pace to be the biggest domestic hit of the summer.

This anti-comic book film narrative is the only thing that's "tired".

Chris Arrant

In some of these cases, they're not quite superhero material — the GotG film is squarely in real of a science fiction film. Yes, they are all adaptations of characters from the medium of comic books — but as novel adaptations have shown, there is room for many in a year's worth of movies.
I think it's possible that all nine of these movies could be successes in one calendar year — but like any grouping of nine movies, there's a high probability at least one of them won't match expectations.

I see the DC method of making superhero movies to be much more pricey– and risky. They hire more popular directors, predictably with a higher price tag, and spend more on the final budget — $225m for MAN OF STEEL, with the follow-up easily costing much more due to Affleck, more special effects, and the salaries of actors increasing with a second picture.

Much has been said about Marvel being tight on budgets, but it's worked; if you realize, THOR 2 had a lower budget than the first THOR. And IRON MAN 3 they managed to keep at the same budget as IRON MAN 2.

Timothy Miley

The Dumbing Down of America is alive and well for the majority of our population!!!


Studios really need to recognize that "Superhero" and "Comic Book" aren't actually genres, as much as characters or source material. The only way the "Superhero Movie" craze is even remotely sustainable, is if the films begin to place these characters into different genres than just "Balls-out Action" or "Origin Story".

Cap2 did a pretty good job earlier this year with placing the characters into a "Spy Thriller". It came apart a bit at the end, but was Marvel's best example of expanding their character outside of the origin story. The inspiration of next year's Ant Man as a heist movie gives me a lot of hope for that one (even with the disaster of losing Edgar Wright).

I long for a time when Marvel (or any other studio for that matter) is comfortable enough to put together a medium budget "Comic Book" film in an interesting genre. Leaving everything as big-budget, genre-less productions gets old pretty quickly.

Lyn Jensen

Instead of just focusing on DC and Marvel cross-marketing, studios also need to branch out and develop manga/anime properties.


Wolverine not so great? Playlist not great at research!

3d highest grossing movie in the Franchise, solid Ratings. Overall a great film!


I predict the general public, always fickle anyway, will turn away from the glut of super-hero and comic book movies, and the studios will be left holding the bag… budgets will be cut, quality will suffer (if it doesn't already: law of diminishing returns), and some of those actors will be itching to get out of ironclad contracts once they realize the movies don't have the same pull with audiences… eventually the studios will cut back on the slate, shelve movies and the cycle will thus be ended. Marvel, meet Hollywood Pictures (and Touchstone)… you'll be sharing the same dustheap of history.


But…but….then what would everyone complain about to sound superior? I guess there's always YA adaptations


There are SO many films released every year. So 9 of them will be superhero films. What's the big deal? If you're not interested, don't watch them? I'm not watching all of them. Just the good ones. Stop whinning and be smart about how you want to spent your time.


I believe in Marvel's case they've already exhausted us. "Guardians" is a nice breath of fresh air, but it's a false hope. As more of a casual comic fan, future installments of Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers do not excite me. I am much more interested in the style of the Sin Cities and the Dark Knights out there. Something with heavier tones. Even the X-Men franchise betrays solemnity. The three franchises mentioned at the beginning bore me to death. Marvel and the other comic flick studios need to tone it down, strip away the fluff, give me something to think about. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is a great recent example of a blockbuster popcorn flick that can be dark and still true to everything you'd say a blockbuster is. Because it's muted. I don't want my senses to be overstimulated so much at the movies that nothing stands out; I can't land on an aspect of the film firmly enough to care about any of it.

Less is more.


I've never had any interest in any YA material, and haven't seen any of them other than the first Hunger Games, which I thought was rubbish… and yet, I'm quite interested to see the Maze Runner. It looks quite intriguing.

Bill Friedkin

The superhero genre is destroying contemporary American cinema. Beyond Chris Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy the genre is mostly cheesy money grabs and so called "pure entertainment". Well, NOT for me!


don't look at me I'm not the one paying to go see this shit

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