Movie Analysis : Film Revenue

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The past decade has seen superhero movies rise to box office dominance. This is a new trend. Batman and Superman movies found success early, but the surprise blockbusters Spider-man and X-men at the turn of the millennium revealed that the market for comic based entertainment was not yet saturated (Fritz, 2014). Looking back a decade and a half later, consumer demand has clearly spoken: six of the last ten highest grossing movies were based on comic books: Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 3, The Avengers, Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen, The Dark Knight, and Spider-Man 3 (Lev-Ram, 2015). Today, studios have demonstrated confidence that this trend will continue. For example, movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are scheduled out until at least 2019, with Inhumans set for release in June of that year (Marvel, 2015).
Film revenue is only part of the profit equation. A successful blockbuster superhero generates interest in its characters, returning massive profits from merchandising and licensing (Schedeen, 2015). Video games, television spin-offs, collectible toys, apparel, books, and home décor are just a few examples that come to mind. These products, in turn, act as advertisement for the films themselves and future films in the franchise by increasing visibility (Schedeen, 2015). While this works well for franchises in which Marvel owns all rights to the characters, Marvel transferred the film rights to several of their comics via “a series of
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