Marvel vs. DC… the eternal struggle. Those of us who have been in fandom a while know that the rivalry between the two comic giants is very real and can get very nasty. Let’s face it, fans love their fandoms and are generally ready to go to “war” over them! However, being a long term Marvel fan who has very little love for DC, I am going to see Wonder Woman. Why would I put myself through that, you may be asking? Especially after I went to see Man Of Steel in 2013 for my birthday movie and hated it, but still subjected myself to the first half hour of Batman v. Superman out of some misguided hope that it would somehow be worth watching? Aside from looking completely amazing in the trailers we’ve been shown thus far, I will be going more for what it could mean to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, you read that right. But how, you may be asking yourself, can a DC movie affect the MCU? Two words: Box office.
Let’s take a look at the history of comic book themed movies with female leads. Sadly, we have an extremely narrow field to chose from, each one an utter and complete box office failure. To find the first, we must look all the way back to 1984’s Supergirl. I was 9 when it was released, and I remember enjoying it from the perspective of a young girl who loved her comics. However, with a domestic total of a mere $14 million, it was an abject failure. Fast forward to 2004, and we find Catwoman, which cost a whopping $100 million to make, but only grossed a little over $40 million in domestic box office ticket sales. Not even the presence of Halle Berry, who at the time had already made her mark in the X-Men franchise as Storm and who brought considerable star power to the role, could save it from flopping. And finally, we come to the disastrous Elektra in 2005 which grossed a mere $24 million in domestic box office sales, and by most accounts was simply a horrendous movie which sprung from another horrendous movie, the 2003 Daredevil.
Fans of the MCU have long desired a Black Widow movie, and many of us feel that the time is right. However, given the utterly dismal history of female led superhero movies, is it any wonder that studios are reluctant to produce them? But now, a ray of hope for many MCU fans has been added to the roster in the form of Captain Marvel, who’s movie has been added to the schedule for 2019! While it’s not the Black Widow movie we’d all hoped to see, it is a female led super hero movie.
But, Marvel giveth, could Marvel taketh away as well? We have entered a new age of comic movies, ushered in by Iron Man in 2008. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe we have seen unprecedented success and a continual stream of quality entertainment, as well as a long string of record setting box office showings.
With DC beating Marvel to the punch by releasing their own female led superhero movie later this year, and particularly with that female lead being none other than the legendary Wonder Woman, you’d better believe that the powers that be at Marvel will be watching it’s box office performance carefully. They will likely view its success as a sign that the audiences may finally be ready for a woman to take the lead in a superhero genre movie. Conversely, any failure to perform could mean a potential re-evaluation on Marvel’s part as they could interpret it not as a failure of yet another DC movie, but view it in the greater scope of being another failure for the ladies to represent in this genre.
Sadly, with DC’s track record in the cinematic arena, there is a very real risk of failure in spite of itself. But if it fails, will we really lose Captain Marvel, as well as any hope for a Black Widow movie in the future? Only time will tell. But this Marvel geek girl isn’t taking any chances, so I will be at the Wonder Woman movie opening weekend, gnashing my teeth as I pay for a ticket to another DC movie. But I will be there not for DC or Wonder Woman, but for the greater good. Eyes on the prize, folks.