We all know how this industry operates – if something is successful, it can’t just be a big winner on its own. It’ll be dubbed the next big thing and many will try to ride the wave and make a profit off of the concept as well. It’s happening with found footage horror movies, young adult book-to-film adaptations and superhero TV shows, but one of the biggest and riskiest trends of the moment is the shared cinematic universe.
Marvel’s currently dominating the box office with the MCU so, naturally, we’ve got DC and Warner Bros. showing off an enormous upcoming line-up, Sony trying to do something similar with the Spider-Man film franchise, Universal gunning to turn their classic monster movies into a new shared cinematic universe and we’ve also got Star Wars expanding laterally as well. Perhaps there’s enough hype surrounding some of these properties for the studios to pull it off, but, as Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn points out, there’s a risk of some becoming cart-before-the-horse-type situations. Hit the jump to check out his thoughts on the shared universe craze.
Gunn nails it. If you’ve got a property that has the potential to spawn a franchise you’re better off being prepared, but in recent years, being prepared has turned into delivering films specifically designed to launch franchises and now this whole shared universe thing is taking it a step further by creating films that are connected and perhaps even dependent on ones that haven’t even been made yet. It can’t work like that.
Marvel, DC and Star Wars have the lore to support such an expansion and also have the fan bases to guarantee demand for more movies, but that’s not really the case for something like Universal’s monster shared universe. Look what this whole shared universe thing did to Dracula Untold. Without spoiling anything, the final sequence of the movie feels like an afterthought – because it was. Sure, the movie did make a good deal of money overseas, but a quick cash grab isn’t going to be enough to sustain what the studio is aiming to achieve.
Gunn is right. This business model is flawed and some studios will likely feel the effect of it by focusing too much on the big picture and not earning it first.