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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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RISE OF THE SUPERHERO

Today, superhero movie franchises such as Spiderman, X Men, Avengers, Iron Man, and Batman are highly popular. According to a study carried out by management consultant, Mark Lee, the average opening weekend attendance for superhero movies in 2012 was well above the 14 million mark. In comparison, the average attendance for the aforementioned period in 2004 was less than 4 million. The number of superhero movies produced per year has also been increasing, from an average of one in 2000 to four in 2014, writes Paul French.

Considering such statistics, it is safe to assume that, as long as crowds continue to flock to theaters to watch superhero movies, film studios such as Time Warner, Disney, and Twenty First Century will keep the production lines rolling. In fact, the popularity of films such as The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, and Iron Man 3 saw them gross more than $1 billion in box offices sales. Several factors have made the superhero genre captivating and lucrative. It appeals to viewers' sense of good versus evil, as well as providing a bit of escapism from real life.

Audience friendly ratings, such as PG 13, mean the audience for superhero flicks is larger than it is for other genres. This has seen Hollywood retain a strong grip on young and old fans of superhero films. This film genre also appeals to people who grew up reading comic books. Such people are likely to rush to see films that portray the characters they have grown to love from childhood. This is a unique characteristic that other film genres do not have. In most cases, a film studio has to spend millions of dollars advertising and marketing a movie. The problem with this approach is that it does not always work. Superhero movies have a ready-made audience.

Although some superhero movies, such as the 2003 Ang Lee flick "Hulk" and Sony's "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" performed dismally at the box office, the majority have earned stellar profits. Critics have opined that there is a glut of superheroes vying for the attention of moviegoers. For example, an article published in The Guardian paints a gloomy picture of audiences that are slowly shunning superheroes.

To ensure audiences do not leave in droves, studios like Marvel Studios have started releasing animated versions of blockbuster superhero movies. Some of the released animations include Ultimate Spider Man, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H, as well as Avengers Assemble. The aim is to introduce young viewers to this film genre. These factors allow film studios to leverage the power of superheroes and earn huge profits at the box office with a new generation of fans.

Peruse a selection of superhero Blu-ray movies

Published January 15, 2014

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