They said the genre was in decline. They said the superhero movie fad was almost over. Well, a decade into this golden age for superhero cinema, 2012 is the biggest year yet. Now that the dust has begun to settle, lets take a look at the final stats for 2012 and examine some of the epic clashes poised for the next two years.
2013 - Battle of the Big Guns
Marvel's The Avengers - $617 million domestic (headed for $620+) / $1,461 million worldwide (to date)
The Dark Knight Rises - $355 million domestic (headed for $450+) / $733 million worldwide (to date)
The Amazing Spider-Man - $251 million domestic (headed for $260+) / $678 million worldwide (to date)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - $52 million domestic / $133 million worldwide (to date)
Combined Domestic Total ( $1.38+ billion)
Commentary: When the 3rd place film tops $250 million, that's a good year especially when the top film surpasses the elusive $600 million mark for only the third time in movie history. Sure, The Dark Knight Rises failed to match the heights of The Dark Knight, but $450 million still makes it the 7th biggest movie of all time and the 3rd biggest take for a superhero behind only Marvel's The Avengers and the Dark Knight. Its impressive that the top 3 films were able to co-exist. Was there any effect of cannibalism in the genre? Its tough to say. But its not likely a bigger year will come for a while since these are pretty much the biggest guns there are.
2013 - Man of Iron vs Man of Steel
Iron Man 3 - Predicting $350 million
Man of Steel - Predicting $260 million
The Wolverine - Predicting $205 million
Thor: The Dark World - Predicting $200 million
Commentary: While not quite as iconic as the heroes of 2012, 2013's lineup does feature the household names of Iron Man, Superman, and Wolverine. Coming off of the massive Avengers performance and taking into account that Iron Man 3 could possibly be Robert Downey Jr.'s final outing as the Man of Iron, Iron Man 3 will likely win the year. Superman has some major hurdles to overcome and $260 is my optimistic prediction putting it on the same level as the Amazing Spider-Man reboot. That take with some good buzz should resurrect the man of Steel's film career. Last time around, Wolverine earned $180 million but its been 4 years and The Wolverine has potential that X-Men Origins: Wolverine never had. This should push it past the $200 million mark. Lastly, Thor should earn some good will giving him a slight boost from his first outing.
2014 - Marvel Massacre
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Predicting $300 million
X-Men: Days of Future Past - Predicting $225 million
Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Predicting $200 million
Guardians of the Galaxy - Predicting $170 million
Ant-Man (?) - Predicting $130 million
Commentary: It will be a year of Marvel vs Marvel as rival studio pit Marvel heroes against each other with hopes of getting a decent piece of the pie. Since the A-List is less represented there may be some cannibalism with the 4 or 5 movies limiting each others success. There is very little to go on so these numbers could turn out to be way off but based on what we know now, I expect Spidey to win the year. How big his win will depend on lots of things including who shows up as the villain. I expect X-Men to get a decent boost from the performance of First Class because that movie gave the franchise renewed appreciation. Also, the story has great potential. Like Thor, Cap has earned some good will and should get a modest boost from his initial performance. Guardians of the Galaxy may be a tough sell. Not too many people are familiar with the team but the Marvel brand should sell tickets. I figure that should get it close to the take of Thor. As for Ant-Man, if it does in fact get a 2014 debut, it will likely be a "smaller" film with less appeal than the big guns.