Is this the beginning of the end of the superhero movie boom?

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Green Lantern is the second superhero movie in a row to perform disappointingly in its opening weekend, after X-Men: First Class. If Captain America also stumbles, we could look back on this as the summer that superheroes lost their invulnerability.


According to the New York Times, Warner Bros. spent $200 million to make Lantern, and another $100 million to market it. And the $53 million in opening weekend box office receipts — lower than the disappointing take for the cheaper X-Men movie — is a bit of a letdown. (And it's interesting that only about 45 percent of ticket sales came from 3D — a similar figure is being reported for the new Harry Potter movie. Audiences may finally be getting wise to the pointlessess of most 3D conversions.)

Although of course, Lantern may still make a decent amount of money overseas, and Warners' president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman, puts a brave face on it:

Kids are out of school and the coming days represent a very good opportunity for us.

With Cars 2 coming out this weekend, and Transformers 3 coming the following Wednesday, it seems unlikely that Green Lantern will get much more of a moment in the sun.

Check out where Green Lantern film falls in Box Office Mojo's chart of superhero opening weekends (not inflation adjusted).


Matthew Vaughn, director of X-Men: First Class, famously said that the superhero genre was going to be dying out soon, and that's why he was eager to direct the X-Men movie before it was too late. Last August, Vaughn told Hero Complex:

It's been mined to death and in some cases the quality control is not what it's supposed to be. People are just going to get bored of it... I've always wanted to do a big-budget superhero film and I think we've kind of crossed the Rubicon with superhero films. I think [the opportunity to do one], it's only going to be there two or three more times... Then the genre is going to be dead for a while because the audience has just been pummeled too much.


It would be a fascinating irony if Vaughn's own big-budget superhero movie was the one that heralded the trend he himself predicted.



OK, let's think about this logically for a second: does anyone honestly think the reason Green Lantern didn't perform well was because it was a comic book-based superhero movie?

Because I firmly believe that the public simply wasn't interested in the movie, period. Not because it was a superhero movie, but because it just didn't look good at all. There wasn't an interesting premise, it looked like it wasn't sure if it wanted to be serious or goofy, and the Green Lantern simply isn't a well-known superhero for most of the general population. Honestly: did any of us expect the movie to be good? Not hope, but expect, when we saw the trailers and everything else. Because I had hoped the movie would be good because of Campbell and Reynolds, but when I saw the trailer I didn't expect it to be.

You also have to take into account that this was the first movie based on Green Lantern. First-time movies based on any property generally don't perform all that well — just look at the Box Office Mojo list. The original X-Men didn't have an earth shattering opening, even when adjusted for inflation, and Batman Begins didn't have spectacular opening weekend, either, although word of mouth quickly spread and it had legs.

I also don't think Reynolds has anything to do with the movie's failure. I'm so tired of hearing box office "experts" saying that an actor is a fading star, or (s)he's the reason the movie didn't meet expectations. Bullshit. There have been plenty of major movie stars with major duds to their names, and generally it's because the movies simply aren't good or lack an enticing premise for the general population. Then there are movies with a no-name cast that will do superbly, simply because they're great movies. This isn't even a new phenomenon — there are plenty of classic movies that didn't have A-list actors. The Wizard of Oz, anyone? Before it launched, the actors weren't known, and neither was the long-time director (although I think the movie and Gone with the Wind may have changed that, hah).

Anyway, I think I'm going off on a tangent now. But, TL;DNR: Green Lantern failed (or is failing) because it's not a particularly strong movie. It's getting bad reviews and lacks all the prerequisites of being an acclaimed movie, such as a strong plot.