The 2012 summer movieseason blasted off to a fast start when The Avengers shattered box-office records. It’s amazing run was only the beginning of a summer filled with movies based on comic book characters.
For years Hollywood has looked to comics for inspiration, and box office magic. Back in the ‘40s Batman was already on the silver screen in the form of a serial, but it was not until the ‘70s that the comic book movie took serious root. Sure, there were movies based on comic books before 1978, but that was the year that Christopher Reeve pulled on his blue suit and red cape and Superman The Movie started a phenomena that is still going strong. Superman was rebooted a few years ago and is set for another go round next year. Batman was played by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and (gasp) George Clooney before Christian Bale took the mantle of the Dark Knight. The Incredible Hulk went through two versions before Kenosha native Mark Ruffalo nailed the essence of the big green guy in The Avengers. X-Men, Green Lantern, Captain America, Thor and even movies based on graphic novels (what some may call an upscale comic book) like Cowboys and Aliens all made it to theatres in 2011.
Fast forward to 2012. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance brought Nic Cage back as a motorcycle riding bounty hunter who collected more than $51 million at the box-office. The Avengers brought together Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow and The Hulk from the Marvel universe and is closing in on $500 million in sales.
But that is just the beginning.
July kicks off with The Amazing Spiderman with Andrew Garfield taking the place of Toby Maguire as Spidey. Spiderman 1, 2 and 3 were all big hits and now everyone’s favorite web crawler is back trying to capture not only villains, but also audiences. How appropriate that the director’s name is Webb. More than that, Marc Webb is a Wisconsin native who graduated from Madison West and went to Hollywood to find fame and fortune.
The Dark Knight Rises still might be the biggest movie of the summer, but has a lot of ground to make up to knock The Avengers juggernaut off for 2012 bragging rights. Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan return to Gotham City for the third and final time as Batman does battle with the evil Bane. Somehow Catwoman also fits into the mix. For some, the Dark Knight’s return is the most anticipated movie of the summer and for theatre owners, well they hope this Batman can bring in the audiences and dollars that Dark Knight did a few years ago.
Sure, there are lots of great movies this summer, but will three of the biggest be based on comic book heros? The floodgates opened with Avengers and the rush doesn’t seem to be subsiding anytime soon. Watch for Ironman III, Thor II, GI Joe II, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Green Lantern 2, Captain America 2, Dredd and many other comic book movies in development coming to theatres in the next few years.
The Avengers proved that comic heroes can rule the world and if there is one thing Hollywood knows it is as long as people keep buying tickets they keep bringing the characters back.
Which comic book inspired summer blockbuster are you most excited for?