James Gunn (director of Guardians of the Galaxy ) recently voiced his opinion on other franchises trying to chip in what Marvel is doing with “shared universes.” He stated, “Listen, I love big (a–) shared universes in movies, as well as huge franchises,” he wrote in a Facebook post titled “Carts Before Horses & Hollywood’s New Love of Shared Universes.” “But I’m a little worried about the numerous shared universes being planned by the studios, without having a strong base film to grow from — or in some cases, NO base film to grow from.” I agree with what Gunn had to say in his statement.
Movie franchises such as Star Wars, The Dark Knight, and the heavily criticized Transformers movies, all began with a single film and idea which branched out with the success of their first film. The audience clamored for more, so Hollywood gave the fans what they wanted.
Gunn goes on to say in the interview; “But these days studios are trying to grow trees without a strong seed,” he wrote. “Execs and producers and sometimes even directors are focused on the big picture, without perfecting the task directly in front of them — making a great movie.” Since the success of all of the Marvel films, DC obviously has to cover a lot of ground if they want to compete with Marvel. But the difference between Marvel and DC is that Marvel has had this planned out from the very beginning.
DC is now playing catch-up with Marvel by releasing as many films as possible hoping that they are headed in the right direction. Another example is Universal Studios recently declaring that they are going to create a monster movie franchise featuring the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and more. This is yet another example of a movie industry setting up future movies when the first film has not been released nor proven successful.
There is no doubt in my mind that these films will most likely be very profitable especially for DC comics (I mean who doesn’t like superhero movies!) However, I’m a little skeptical on Universal’s plan for a monster movie shared universe (check out my other article for my opinion on that). Gunn says it best, “In short, I think this new business model is flawed,” he continued. “I think filmmakers and studios should be prepared for the big picture, but never, ever let it get in the way of making a single great film. Be a little more experimental and see what works as opposed to trying to force success.”
This goes to show why Marvel has continued their success since their debut of Iron Man in 2008. Crafting that single great film should be a movie industries FIRST priority. If it’s lucrative, then the studios have permission to produce other films. We’ll just have to see how the films thrive in the next five years.
So what are your opinions on movie “shared universes?” Do you think these other studios have an established plan or do you believe they are trying to produce movies as fast as they can with no clear direction? Please share what you think in the comment section below!