When Will the Marvel Bubble Burst?

Marvel has done it again. Guardians of the Galaxy, which many considered to be an enormous gamble, has turned out to be one of the biggest openings for any of the films in Marvel's recent Cinematic Universe, earning $94 million. Even if it doesn't have "legs" as they say in the biz, it's still an eye-opening, impressive performance, making a clear statement that the Disney-owned Marvel is still doing everything right. Of course, the hits won't always keep on coming. A flop is bound to be on the horizon, but so far, audiences are flocking to everything the House of Ideas is bringing to the big screen.

What may prove to be the downfall of this ongoing wave is the competition.  Every studio wants to mimic the Marvel formula.  I have no fear that if Marvel continues to deliver quality motion pictures they will weather any storm that Sony, Warner Bros., Fox, or the rest can muster. The problem is overkill -- too many comic-book-based movies might lead to consumer apathy. We're already seeing backlash against the genre by the general public, will it someday carry over into the loyal fanbase overwhelmed by too many movies being released too quickly, making them decide to skip some of them and see them later instead of in the theater?

Right now, Marvel is feeling bold. Each decision they've made has been a homerun.  Even the properties out of their direct creative control, like Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-man, etc. have been mostly profitable for the other studios who own the movie rights (financially if not always critically).

If an obscure comic like Guardians of the Galaxy can be turned into a blockbuster, is every Marvel character destined for live-action greatness? Ant-Man and Doctor Strange now seem like further guaranteed money-makers, and Marvel seems loaded with even more untapped franchises once Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and the current crop run their course for the time being, characters such as Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, The Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, Black Panther, and countless others.  Even a successful remake of Howard the Duck doesn't seem so far-fetched (especially if it's done by the geniuses at Pixar, for speculative example).

Maybe I'm jumping the gun and reading too much into the initial record-breaking success of the opening weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy.  Maybe this is the peak of the bubble and it's all downhill from here. Maybe, just maybe, though, Marvel can continue hitting the jackpot for years to come.


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