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Report: Studios Should Prepare For “The Death Of Superheroes”

It may be indelicate to make this argument just as thousands of fantasy fans are converging on San Diego for the annual Comic-Con. But the movie business may soon find itself mourning “the death of superheroes,” Susquehanna Financial Group’s Vasily Karasyov says in an intriguing report this morning. The analyst says that the boom in superhero movies began around 2000 as computer generated imagery (CGI) made it easier for filmmakers to credibly show action that defies the laws of physics. Virtually all of the most popular films of the last decade couldn’t have been made without CGI. Within that group Karasyov counts 16 superhero films, not counting sequels, resulting in four franchises: Fox’s X-Men, Sony’s Spider-Man, Warner Bros’ Batman, and Paramount’s Iron Man. Yet nothing has taken off since Iron Man came out in 2008, he says, largely because studios have already tapped their hottest properties. “As film studios dig deeper into catalogues for characters for new films, we think the chances of finding a break out property are diminishing fast” — even though the films still come with high production costs — Karasyov writes. If superhero films fail to catch on, then studios can forget about raking in lots of additional revenue from licensed merchandise. The bottom line: Investors should expect “growing risks to (financial growth) estimates” for companies including Disney and Time Warner that are looking to superheroes to help rescue their studio profits. And Disney CEO Bob Iger may end … Read More »

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Matthew Vaughn Seeks Retired Superheroes

EXCLUSIVE: Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class writer/director/producer Matthew Vaughn tells me that a major Hollywood studio is very keen to fully fund his next big project: The Golden Age about a retirement home where superheroes end up. And the title is also a reference to early comic books of the 1930s when Superman and Batman first appeared. It’s based on the yet-to-be-published comic book written by Brit TV chat show host Jonathan Ross, who’s a huge comics buff. Vaughn is currently in LA editing X-Men: First Class for Fox, but tells me he wants to get actors attached to the new project before the script is written. His wish list is Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Warren Beatty to play the retired superheroes who help out their grandchildren when their middle-aged parent screw up the world.

Vaughn believes the success of The Expendables and Red shows that audiences are open to the idea of older action heroes. “You have these great star names and they’re mainly playing supporting roles now. I want to give them the lead again and let them have some fun.”

It’s not certain whether Vaughn’s partner Jane Goldman, who has co-written X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass for Vaughn to direct, will be penning this one, though. Vaughn says he may hire other writers. And he may not direct it himself either. He may produce The Golden Age. Vaughn started out in life as Guy Ritchie’s producer and then turned director.

Turf, Ross’s gangsters-versus-vampires comic book drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards, is up to issue 3 in its 5-part … Read More »

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