Marvel is up, D.C. is down, and fans are puzzled

Marvel Studios broke opening weekend box office records with its highly anticipated movies, while D.C. hasn’t had much success recently with its movies.

Some fans are concerned that D.C. began to fall short with its rushed film releases and flat story lines.

“I would say (D.C.) isn’t doing as well as Marvel. I wouldn’t say they are crashing but Justice League had $400 million world wide which is nothing compared to Black Panther which did $400 million in it’s first weekend,” said Jeff McNair who is the owner of Video Game Trader (VGT) in Calgary.

Early estimates were that Black Panther would make at least around $100 million to $120 million in its opening weekend.

Yet as the release date grew closer, advance sales were all the way to $170 million before it even it hit theaters. Now its revenues are at $404 million worldwide.

McNair is an avid video game player, comic book reader and a super hero movie connoisseur.

He enjoys seeing the characters he had grown up with in the cartoons and comics that surrounded his life, so seeing the childhood idols on the big screen was exciting.

Jeff McNair, is getting ready to send his co-workers up to Edmonton for a Comic Expo on Feb. 26. McNair worked at Video Game Trader for over 10 years before he bought the store three years ago. (Photo by Elzbeth Sweder/The Press)

What Marvel seems to be doing correctly, is it has been carefully nurtured different comic franchises for the past 10 to 15 years, like Iron Man, Thor, Avengers, Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther.

“The guy running the Marvel side of things is also a big fan and at least initially they brought in writers to guide them to keep them fairly accurate to what’s on the page and they are willing to change.

“It’s not a formula but if they didn’t try new things with those movies they probably wouldn’t be where they are today,“ said Jason Bisschop who works at Words and Pictures on Centre Street. It’s a comic book store founded in 1987, that sells a variety of comic books vintage and new.

Jason Bisschop, the owner of Words and Pictures and has a podcast on comics and films, in his shop on Feb. 26. Bisschop’s podcast is recorded on Sundays and released every Tuesday. It can be found on iTunes and other audio platforms. (Photo by Elzbeth Sweder/The Press)

It is the largest collection of comic issues in Calgary.

Words and Pictures has a wide selection from subscription services, toys, statues, games and many pop-culture items.

Bisschop also has a podcast, “Invasion of the Remake” that is recorded every Sunday and posted every Tuesday.

McNair wonders whether Warner Brothers is taking the characters of D.C. and making their movies too fast, or rehashing stories.

“D.C. is jumping in and trying to redo Batman every 10 years rather than building like a legacy of films that lead up to events that people get excited for, which allows Marvel to jump in and add characters like Dr. Strange and Black Panther which aren’t normally known,” said McNair.

There have been rumors recently surrounding the D.C. film The Justice League that cost $300 million to produce and only brought in $567 million worldwide. It also scored only 40 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“With Warner, it feels like they were trying to rush to create what Marvel had already spent 10 years building,” said Bisschop.

“It was never going to make a billion dollars. Out of five movies four of them were bombs, not financially, but they certainly weren’t Marvel Block Busters and they weren’t getting the positive reviews.”

Movies are an escape from reality and it is easy to get caught up in the financial side of things, but ultimately they are made for entertainment, for both casual and diehard fans.

Jeff McNair runs Video Game Trader on Centre Street and in Forest Lawn. He bought the store four years ago and is working on preparing for a show in Edmonton on Feb. 26. McNair is going to Seattle for a Comic Expo and to enjoy the city. (Photo by Elzbeth Sweder/The Press)

“It doesn’t have to be Marvel vs. D.C. You can just go as a fan and love both and support both like they both have so much great stuff to offer. It doesn’t need to be so cut and dried you can just be a fan of comic book movies and go enjoy them for what they are and not tear them apart,” said McNair.

About Elzbeth Sweder 2 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Elzbeth Sweder worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.