from Scott Mendelson
Excerpts from the article:
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.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.