The summer box office for the past 7 years has been primarily dominated by super hero movies, and has shown little to no signs of slowing down. This is until this past year, when Jurassic World was able to pass Avengers: Age of Ultron at the box office, showing that maybe audiences are looking for something new. This could easily be dismissed as a revival for the Jurassic Park franchise if not for the rather dull turn out for Ant-Man, only receiving 177 million* at the domestic box office, which was the lowest for any Disney Marvel movie. This might be just because Ant-Man is an extremely vague super hero for most movie goers, or it could be that audiences are losing interest.
The fans of these Marvel films will argue strongly for the former. The biggest problem with this argument is that Marvel is supposed to be such a juggernaut that no matter how obscure the character they can be successful with it. This was put on full display in 2014 when Marvel was able to win the summer box office with a movie where one of the main characters is a talking raccoon. Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie that no one thought was going to be a huge success, but was because of the power Disney holds over the box office. If Marvel can overcome such a vague title such as Guardians of the Galaxy, why can’t Ant-Man, an original Avenger, find the same success?
The simple answer is that audiences need and want something new. Do not get me wrong, 177 million dollars* is a lot of money, but that is barely more than what Iron Man 3 made in its opening weekend (174 million*). Even though Ant-Man was able to make a profit for Disney it just was not what the studio would have expected. The bigger problem for superhero films is not how much money they are making, but how much disaster films are making. The best example for this is San Andreas, which was able to pass Ant-Man with 180 million*. There is no way before this past summer that a special effects movie could have even came close to a Marvel film, let alone beat it.
So if superhero movies are on the way out what can replace them? The easy answer is that over the top special effects movies lacking much of any of a plot will be once again the normal Hollywood movie. Hopefully this is not true and maybe audiences will be rewarded with good original films. This is extremely unlikely, simply because it is far more expensive to market and sell a new idea as supposed to an already known commodity.
The superhero movie era is obviously coming to a close. This will be remembered as one of the most successful and most plot driven eras in movie history. What will fill this huge void left by superhero movies? This will be determined by the movie goer how they choose to spend their money.