Captain America: Civil War may have divided the Marvel Universe’s heroes, pitting them against each other in a brother-on-brother slugfest. But its box office success and critical acclaim has only strengthened Marvel Studios’ stranglehold on the shared universe superhero movies.
As detailed by Forbes, Captain America: Civil War has zoomed past Batman V Superman in total worldwide gross with $940 million dollars in just two weeks since its domestic release. Given the fact that Batman v Superman opened two months ago speaks volumes about the overall success, or lack therof, of DC’s linchpin entry into the shared superhero universe sweepstakes.
“Batman v Superman was decidedly mixed,” media industry analyst Barton Crockett told the L.A. Times. “It did well enough at the box office to be declared a financial success, but reputationally, it was kind of a misfire.”
Indeed, compared with Marvel’s carefully drawn out universe, headed by producer Kevin Feige, Batman v Superman didn’t so much launch DC’s shared universe so much as it simply sputtered itself into orbit. Combining multiple iconic DC stories, including The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman, with the introduction of the Justice League characters in the span of one movie ended up diluting the focus of the film. That, in turn, led both critics and fans alike to lament at a missed opportunity, despite the flashy special effects and potential for greatness.
Civil War, by contrast, brought together years of careful storylines and character arcs that resulted in a perfect deconstruction of what it meant to be a hero. And as the L.A. Times points out, that’s no accident.
“Marvel’s movies are all personally overseen from start to finish by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, whose career producing comic-book films stretches back to 2000’s X-Men and who serves a role almost analogous to a television show-runner. Warner Bros. has no such single figure creatively overseeing its DC films.”
And that lack of a unified force overseeing production has certainly been affected by not just Captain America‘s success at the box office, but another foul-mouthed R-Rated superhero movie that spun things on its head earlier this year.
“In late March, the studio’s next comic-book offering, August’s violent supervillain mash-up Suicide Squad, underwent reshoots amid reports the studio wanted to inject more humor into the film to distinguish it from the dour Batman v Superman and take advantage of the same audience that propelled Fox’s amiably brutal Deadpool, which pulled in $761.7 million in February.”
Meanwhile, Flash just lost its director, as reported by The Independent, when Seth Grahame-Smith stepped down over reported “creative differences.” And his departure nearly led to Aquaman director James Wan following suit. And while Wan was quick to post to Twitter to quickly dispel the rumors, there is certainly enough smoke brewing within the Warner Bros’ office to assume there’s fire.
Just resurfaced from been buried in a foxhole for the last two weeks, wrapping up all things #conjuring2. You guys are killing me.
— James Wan (@creepypuppet) May 2, 2016
“Director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman follow-up Justice League: Part One is already filming in London, yet Warner Bros. execs have now found themselves far less trusting of his vision for the future of the DC universe. The relationship between studio and director is now reportedly growing sour, amongst near-constant fights over creative decisions for the production.”
And those creative differences are undoubtedly fueled by the success of Captain America: Civil War versus the failure of Batman V Superman. And with the Russo brothers hard at work on Avengers: Infinity War Part One and Two, the collective future of DC films is most certainly in doubt.
[Image via Marvel Studios]