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(Forbes) Why You Saw 'Captain Marvel' And 'Wonder Woman' But Not 'Alita' And 'Tomb Raider'.

Oct 29, 2017
United States

Forbes Link

from Scott Mendelson

Excerpts from the article:
As if we needed any more proof, we now know that audiences will absolutely show up for a female-led comic book superhero movie. But what about everything else? The good news is that Marvel now knows that they really do have a Midas touch, that their brand is so aggressively popular and trusted that even a comparatively lesser effort like Captain Marvel, one based on a comparatively lesser-known character and sans any prior MCU introductions, can earn record-level box office. That means, as Avengers: Endgame gives way to Phase Four and whatever comes next, there is no excuse, none, zero, zilch, for not offering more superheroes who happen to represent almost every conceivable demographic.


We claim we want diverse multiplex fare, we see studies arguing that audiences crave diversity and inclusivity, and that diversity is a key to global box office profits. That makes sense since a movie like Girls Trip is going to be a demographically-specific event movie in a way that The Mummy is not. But the blow-out success of Captain Marvel, concurrently with the relative failures of Alita: Battle Angel, Greta, Happy Death Day 2U and Miss Bala, is yet another sign of a grim truth: Audiences embrace diversity when it's within something they already want to see.

They'll show up for a female-led action movie when it's within a "safe" comic book or fantasy universes like Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, DC Films' Wonder Woman or Marvel's Captain Marvel. But even while (correctly) arguing that it's okay that Captain Marvel is merely okay, we turn our noses at the likes of equally "just okay" female-led actioners like Alita (which, love it or hate it, plays a lot like Wonder Woman) or Mortal Engines. We'll obsess over the notion of a female Indiana Jones or a female James Bond and yet ignore Tomb Raider and Atomic Blonde.


The cruel irony of all of this is that Hollywood spent 15 years trying to make every white guy into the next Tom Cruise and they finally realized the value of trying instead to make the next Will Smith just as audiences began ditching the star vehicle and most non-event/grown-up movies in favor of Netflix and TV. They finally realized the value of making Michael B. Jordan or Gina Rodriguez into potential movie stars only for audiences to no longer care about movie stars. Hollywood is starting to give us what we claim to crave, but we've already found it elsewhere.


If we want more action movies like Captain Marvel, we need to show up for other action movies like Captain Marvel, even if they aren't quite as good or part of an established cinematic universe. Because here's the grim truth: You probably wouldn't have seen Captain Marvel this weekend if it wasn't part of an established comic book superhero universe.
This article falls in line with something I was thinking about recently, as I've kept all of my movie ticket stubs going back over 20 years. As soon as I was old enough to drive I saw lots of movies in theaters throughout the 90s and early 00s, but these days when you look at my stubs you'll see franchise after franchise with the occasional outlier like Alita. I'm less likely to take a chance on a movie that's unfamiliar now, and the studios know it.
Oct 25, 2017
Weird to use the failure of 2018 Tomb Raider as an example when 2001 Tomb Raider was successful enough to get a sequel (that was a failure)
Oct 25, 2017
As a woman:
Wonder Woman: Rented it and hated it
Captain Marvel: No interest. Done with superhero movies. Black Panther was the only recent one I liked out of what I saw.
Alita: Possible rental, need to do more research before making a decision
Tomb Raider: I heard the movie was shit so no.
Oct 26, 2017
It's almost as if people can tell if they are interested in a film judging from the trailers, and those latter two just weren't that interesting.
Oct 25, 2017
Alita and Tomb Raider aren't as good compared to WW and CM and you have the might of DC and Marvel compared to anime and video game which are more niche mediums.
Oct 25, 2017
Presumably because Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are parts of ongoing movie franchises and received significantly more marketing? As opposed to an adaptation of a manga that had low popular culture penetration in the West and a reboot video game movie.
Oct 25, 2017
More like because 2 are Marvel/DC and 2 aren't.
Yeah. Wonder Woman was the first big female superhero movie in a while and Captain Marvel was the first female superhero for the MCU (and advertised at the end of Infinity War). Both were big events.
Oct 27, 2017
I saw three of them, and didn't see Tomb Raider because I'm not dumb enough to pay theater ticket prices to see a videogame movie.

Until Detective Pikachu
Oct 25, 2017
Even if it’s mediocrity it’ll sell if marketed right or with brand behind it. Marvel is unstoppable at the moment. Videogame movies are historically unsuccessful and the ad campaign behind TR was not good. Alita is weird.
Oct 27, 2017
Alita was always going to underperform because general audiences don't typically show up for sci-fi/cyber punk movies and the eyes were off putting for folks. Its the ( less good) 2019 version of Speed Racer.

Tomb Raider was just another bad video game adaptation that wasn't really doing anything new.

I sort of get the point of the article but he choose horrible examples.
Oct 30, 2017
“Captain Marvel, concurrently with the relative failures of Alita: Battle Angel, Greta, Happy Death Day 2U and Miss Bala, is yet another sign of a grim truth”

I’ve never even heard of two and the trailers for the other two looked bad.

Can’t we just relish the success of Captain Marvel and WW and not chalk their success up to the genre alone? Not like it’s easy to succeed as a DC movie and having a woman lead is the key to success.


Oct 25, 2017
Will see Capt Marvel this weekend, saw the other three (Tomb Raider on video). WW was my least favorite.

Why? It’s explained in the movie why she looks like that
In a blink and miss it moment that has no basis in the source.
Oct 25, 2017
i dont really know what the thesis is here. no im not more likely to see a bad or uninteresting movie because it has a female lead.
It extends further than that though. The point seems to be that audiences want to see specific movies right now in droves (MCU/comic movies are hot) and some other female led films essentially fall into bombs like any other movie.

It’s not super enlightening but there’s a point.
Oct 25, 2017
I don’t really get the point of framing these films that way.

The idea of diversity in film is better representation and opportunity, not that all the sudden that makes them box office successes.

I mean ‘people still have to want to see the movie’ isn’t some sort of surprise, is it?

The fact that women lead films can have both success and failure isn’t the point, it’s that there are women lead films being made, and that there can be successes there where once Hollywood seemed to believe that unlikely.
Oct 27, 2017
I don't agree with this article. I don't see a movie because of who is in them, I see it because it's a movie that looks good to me (I loved wonder woman and captain Marvel).

Having a woman in a movie doesn't mean it has to be a hit. It just means that women have every right to be in a bad movie as anyone else.

Tomb Raider and atila just didn't look like they would appeal to me. That's all there is to it.
Oct 25, 2017
Why? It’s explained in the movie why she looks like that
Don't care. If they had shown her to be a cannibal or a child rapist I wouldn't have thought, "I need to watch that to find out why she's like that". It was on the creators to appeal to me, they didn't.
Oct 25, 2017
I only saw three of those he mentioned.. Mostly because of nostalgia and passing familiarity with the source material. I wasn't interested in Tomb Raider.
Nov 11, 2017
Both Alita and Captain Marvel came out during weekends where I had to work at conventions that take up all of my free time, so I haven't seen either.

Didn't care for Tomb Raider, though.
Oct 25, 2017
I've only seen Captain Marvel and I loved it. Not seen the others but I did like the original two Tomb Raider movies. The new one adverts I saw didn't look as good as the original two TR movies.