In the culture, trends rise and fall in popularity. In decades past, you couldn’t go to the movies without seeing a musical or a western. Yet, these genres eventually fell out of favor with audiences. As we close out the second decade of modern comic book movies, it’s something those storytellers have to think about. Disney COO Alan Horn doesn’t worry about superhero movie fatigue from Marvel fans. It seems as if the cinematic excellence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe staved off the type of superhero movie fatigue that Alan Horn and other studio chiefs worry about. Before Iron Man gave birth to the MCU in 2008, many folks thought that the previous ten years of comic book movies were all the market wanted from the genre. In fact, the idea that Marvel would launch its own studio seemed like an endeavor that was ten years too late.
Yet, the appetite for movies based on these characters is still pretty voracious. As we note in our Marvel Comics movies guide, since 1998, there hasn’t been a year without at least one movie based on Marvel characters. Most of the time, there are at least two per year. Rather than pulling back in fear of superhero movie fatigue, Alan Horn says that Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige plans to do three or four MCU films per year.
Why Superhero Movie Fatigue Doesn’t Worry Alan Horn
Horn gathered with a number of other studio chiefs for a roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter. Moderator Matthew Belloni cited the example of American Idol when talking about comic book movie fatigue. He recalled when the reality talent competition was the biggest television show out there, and how the producers knew it wouldn’t last forever. (American Idol returns for its 18th season in 2020 on ABC.) Belloni asked Alan Horn if he worried that superhero movie fatigue might mean that the Marvel Studios films would become giant, expensive productions that audiences just don’t care about anymore.
"The audience so far has shown no fatigue with the films we're making." Alan Horn, chief creative officer and co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios, addresses the possibility of Marvel movie fatigue https://t.co/zAPBG6ebcZ pic.twitter.com/vsHQSKoTUa
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 30, 2019
“I think if a film has a compelling storyline, if it has heart and humor – the two things I insist upon – and it’s terrifically well executed, well-acted, well directed, well produced, and well written, I think there’s an audience for a great story. And the audience, so far, has shown no fatigue with the films we’re making which are generally classed as superhero films. But, who knows?”
What Horn gets at here may even be a subtle dig at Martin Scorsese’s recent criticism of Marvel and superhero movies. Like all good cinema, Horn says that the core of the effort is not costumes or gimmicks. It’s telling compelling stories with committed actors, directors, and producers. No superhero movie has ever drawn in audiences for the costume or ass-kicking alone. If audiences don’t care about the person within the costume, they won’t care about the movie.
In Horn’s eyes, the Marvel films will continue to be successful. If they are good movies in their own right that just happen to connect together. Only time will tell if his guess pays off.
Tell us if you think this is something Disney needs to worry about in the comments below.
Featured image via Marvel Studios
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.