I love the Marvel superhero movies. Based on the sales, I’m not the only one. Also, I’m in my 40’s. But, why do these superhero movies appeal to adults?
I listen to the Adam Carolla podcast regularly. He often laments about how the majority of movies for adults today are comic book and other nostalgia-type movies. His point is that our parents never clamored for these types of movies at the age we are now.
He’s mostly right, but why is that? It doesn’t seem odd to me that I still follow many of the shows and interests I had as a kid. But, I can’t remember my parents doing the same thing.
Here are my ideas about why superhero movies appeal to us, as well as the Muppets or other Disney characters.
1. Access to the Content
To say that my parents didn’t pay attention to things they enjoyed as kids isn’t completely true. I still remember my dad enjoying the Three Stooges, the Little Rascals and Bugs Bunny. The difference is that we were limited to pretty much only watching what TV showed and when.
Now we can watch our favorite shows anytime on YouTube or Netflix. The Internet has blown everything wide open. Part of the reason our shows continue to survive is that we still can watch it…anytime we want.
2. Stories have continued to grow and are compelling
Especially with superheroes, the stories continue to grow and evolve. Comic books continue to create new compelling stories with our favorite heroes. Producers then adapt them to TV and movies.
Besides the stories improving, the technologies to bring those stories alive have grown. Special effects have brought new interest to watching superheroes. Movies and TV are able to bring stories to life in ways that weren’t possible years ago.
3. Top actors seek these roles
The success of superhero movies, and even Disney movies and The Muppets, appeals to today’s top actors. Bottom line is that these movies make money, so actors want to be in the movies. It’s not lost on these actors that many of these films end up with sequels…and sequels of sequels. They can make a career out of these movies. The movies are already popular, but now the star power perpetuates that popularity. Steady, well-paying roles in movies that become hugely popular. What’s not to love?
4. Marketing for shared appeal
It used to be that movies would want to appeal enough to adults so that they could bring their kids to a movie and not hate it. But now, they’re not just tolerating the movies, they’re more excited than them to see it. It’s a shared experience like never before. They create quality family time and an ability to connect on a common experience that they all love. How many of those are out there?
In some cases, they market the shows and movies right to adults. ABC billed the last Muppet Show from a few years ago as an “adult” Muppet Show. It changed from the ’70’s variety show to a documentary style with side interviews like The Office. The first ads for Frozen featured Olaf and Sven and were targeted to males 18-24.
When will this trend fade out?
With so Marvel superhero movies planned up until at least 2023, can they withstand a burnout? It will be interesting to see how it plays out. The big hero movies will be safe, including sequels for Black Panther, Thor, and Captain vel. But, Marvel is planning a few movies of lesser-known heroes, such as The Eternals and Shang-Chi. Time will tell if they’ll match the success of the rest due to big stars, compelling stories and massive effects. Or, will the studios reach a little too far and usher in their own demise (to put in in superhero terms)?
I say as long as the movies are well made and tell a smart story, then continue making them. The trend will end as the movies and shows get lazier. But, until then, I’m enjoying it.
What do you think? Do superhero movies appeal to you? Where do you want to see this trend go?
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