Why Copying Kevin Feige NEVER Works | Is DCR...

Why Copying Kevin Feige NEVER Works | Is DC’s 10 Year Plan Doomed To Fail?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a bit of an anomaly in Hollywood at the moment. Marvel Studios have somehow managed to craft 34 projects that all interconnect with each other and due to telling this ongoing story, they’ve managed to craft a massive franchise that delivers success after success.

Once the MCU started to take off a lot of other studios tried to get in on it too but where Feige succeeded, they all failed.

This has happened every single time with us constantly seeing studios announce that they have a shared universe on the way that ultimately ends up never getting off the ground.

But why is it so difficult to do?

Even DC who has a similar structure and character roster as Marvel do have found it difficult to catch up to them and there are way more dead universes right now than there are live ones.

Well throughout this post we’re gonna be taking a deep dive into the strategies and successes that Marvel used and also going over why so many other studios don’t understand the key fundamentals.

This was inspired by the Warner Brothers Discovery Investor call last week in which David Zaslav talked about how DC is putting a ten-year plan in place that will mimic Marvel studios.

It’s something that the studio has tried to do before and I’m actually really surprised that they’re going this route.

Both The Batman and Joker were released to both critical and financial success and with them being standalone I thought they’d try and focus on something like that. It seems like the studio is not learning from the past lessons, and though I don’t want to just s**t all over the company, I think it is interesting to study why Feige succeeded where so many have failed.

I think there’s gonna be a lot of opinions over this so if you agree with us then let us know.

MCU Origins

Now to talk about this, we first have to go back to what things were like in 2008. Every time I’ve talked about this on a video I’ve always had some fifteen-year-old either say I’m talking s**t or completely rewrite history to make things up.

But I was there.

I was there 1000 years ago.

Now Iron Man, believe it or not, was a c-list character back in 2008 that no one really expected to do that well. Sure, they thought the movie would come out and be ok, but no one expected a multi-billion franchise to be launched off the shoulders of Tony Stark.

I think that this is the first major thing that a lot of studios forget when launching their own universes and it’s ultimately why they also panic and fail. During the 90s Marvel sold off their most popular characters and because of this, they lost the movie rights for the X-men, Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Hulk and more.

No Pressure 

They were pretty much left with the characters that no one wanted and because of this, there was absolutely no real pressure on any of their outputs to perform well. If Iron Man did more than ok it would be seen as a big success because there was no belief by the mainstream in the film.

This is the complete opposite of how things are with DC. Because Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are all household names, it instantly becomes a problem if they underperform even slightly. We saw it in the case of Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman were having these characters not completely break the bank made the execs panic and we all know how Josstice league turned out.

Marvel slowly started to put the pieces in place to build the Avengers and they helped out on Universal’s Incredible Hulk, dropped Iron Man 2, Thor and then Captain America. Because they hadn’t invented the shared movie universe yet there was no pressure on them to connect stuff so when stuff wasn’t a massive success it didn’t matter all that much. If you look at the box offices for these films they’re all pretty modest in comparison to what would come down the line and this lack of expectations meant that Feige and Co didn’t s**t the bed and divert from their overall plan.

Nowadays studios announce their entire ten-year plan before they’ve even made the first movie so they put the pressure on themselves that if one fails then their entire universe is f**ked. Marvel didn’t do this from the outset and though we had teases of the Avengers coming they could’ve easily just kept giving us solo movies for as long as they wanted but we didn’t expect a team-up to be coming by a certain date.

High Expectations

Movies involving characters like Batman also come with big investors behind them so if one even performs in the mid-range then it’s going to make the studio panic because he’s such a big name. Though people say that Marvel had to work with the c-team, this was actually an advantage to them because there wasn’t the mindset that these guys should be pulling in billions every movie. For example, say DC launched a new universe with the Teen Titans, do you think that people are gonna view it as a failure if it doesn’t bring in billions in ticket sales? No, probably not, because there’s no expectation for these characters to completely kill it.

Now on the opposite side of this, the idea of panic also massively plays into the overall slate as well and Studios will change direction in a second if things don’t immediately go to plan.

If we look at the Rotten Tomatoes scores for films like Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Thor, they’re all good but not absolutely amazing.

These are three films that were released back to back and they’re ones that often rank lower down the list when people are picking out their favourite movies from the franchise.

No studio is willing to sit through back-to-back movies like this that score in the 60s to 70s on Rotten Tomatoes because they immediately expect everyone to love their franchise, buy all the toys and take it to the next level.

Building a fanbase takes time and we’ve seen in the case of the Snyder Verse how people slowly started to come around to it rather than everyone being on board with it from day one.

Too Focussed on the End Goal 

Every studio is so fixated on getting to be at the point where they’re at where Kevin Feige is now rather than where he was.

They don’t understand the building blocks and slow build that it took to get there because Marvel is such a staple now that everyone expects to be able to copy them and instantly gain the results that they have.

Feige took several risks early on with characters that weren’t expected to do well and he waited it out whilst they got mediocre reviews and money because he understood the foundation that these films would build. Every release had its own fan base that gravitated towards it and though they necessarily didn’t connect with everyone, there was enough in each individual movie to pull people in. Thus when Avengers launched, this fan base that was spread across multiple projects all came together because they all had a vested interest in what was going on.

So I think in the end that studios need to do the following if they want to succeed.

 

So What Should They Do?

Stagger Announcements

Firstly, don’t announce a massive universe because it puts pressure on you to have everything together and it leaves no room for mistakes from the off. I think that Matt Reeve’s Batman was clever because they distanced themselves from the main DCEU and because of this there was no expectation on it to build things up. Hearing now that we’re getting a sequel and some spin-off shows is more of a nice surprise rather than it being something that we had to get.

Adjust expectations

Point two, don’t expect everything to be a hit and if it’s not that doesn’t mean that the universe won’t work in the long run.

Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor and even Captain America all did ok but what they did was get those characters to become familiar so that we cared about them. Marvel took their time, didn’t put any pressure on themselves and because of public perception, these characters also weren’t expected to do wild numbers.

This should be the same in the case of all that comes as part of DC’s ten-year plan.

10 years is a long time and you need to build towards that rather than expecting all the movies to be hits from day one. There will be stumbles, falls and even some that don’t necessarily work but give them room to breathe, let people come to appreciate them and don’t change direction just because they don’t completely hit a home run.

That’s why it annoys me when studios say ‘we will just copy Kevin Feige.’ The man is the blueprint but he’s shown time and time again that it’s difficult to replicate his strategy because no one has the patience or foresight to pull off what he did.

They all want instant results, won’t wait it out and there in lies their downfall.

As much as I want this new 10-year DC plan to do well, the cynical side of me thinks about how we’ve heard this all before and so far I think that DC has rolled out this type of strategy three times in total.

That takes me to my final point.

Stick to the plan

In the call, Zaslav said that if they think a movie is crap, then they won’t release it. However, this doesn’t work with shared movie universes if they’re to build towards something. For example, if you take Thor the Dark world out of the MCU then a lot of the other movies won’t make sense. They will waste countless millions creating movies to shelve them if they go with that ideology. They’ll have to force the character development from said movie into other ones and it just won’t work. Not even Marvel gets every single film in their shared universe spot on and unfortunately, you will have to put out crap but in the long run, it will all connect and make sense. I really don’t think that a shared universe and this idea of cancelling things works which is why I’d rather they go with standalone movies if that’s their mental state.

 

I’m begging you guys to just take it easy, let things underperform and have confidence that you guys are worth sifting through the mud with so that we can get to the good stuff down the line.

Now obviously I’d love to hear all your guy’s thoughts on this video and whether you agree or not.

 

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