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Time for Superhero Films to Stand Alone?

Time for Superhero Films to Stand Alone?

After the less-than-super Summer Box-Office, the power and attraction of superhero films may be declining. Some are suggesting that the expanded universes are on their way out and that stand-alone superhero films are back in (see this article). Jamie White discusses this potential new trend for superheroes…

This summer has shown some signs of this. LOGAN is pretty much a stand-alone in its own right and has little connection to the rest of the X-MEN universe really. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 hasn’t shown much of a connection to the wider MCU (yet) either – and has a strong enough team not to need one.

Even looking at WONDER WOMAN, this was set way way out of the way from the already established DC universe. Maybe this was to distance it from the terrible DC films released recently to give DC the option to do stand-alone only films in the future.

Can standalone superhero films re-fill Hollywood’s empty summer theatres?

There have even been strong rumors that DC is considering a Joker origins story starring Leo DiCaprio and produced by Martin Scorsese – which I am not cool with. But, this does kinda indicate that Warners and Disney could be tempted into stand-alone films with no connection to their current universes.

Now, this does not mean they will stop milking their expanded universes, but this could present an opportunity to writers…

There could be the chance that more studios will be persuaded into producing superhero films that have no existing relation to Marvel or DC. We’ve all seen the praise for LOGAN for breaking the superhero mold, and there could be a chance that more of these types of films will be produced.

Let’s quickly look at the best stand-alone superhero film, or should we say films, arguably ever… THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy. This isn’t even thought of as a standalone trilogy, but there’s no connection to the expanded DC universe, and it would be almost criticizing the films to call them superhero films – they’re anything but really.

This trilogy takes Batman and the superhero genre to the most realistic and thematically mature place it’s ever been, and its success, both commercially and critically, speaks for itself. It’s realistic, it’s tragic, it’s pessimistic and noir-esque – it’s an all-round excellent subversion of the genre while still paying homage to it. With the mention of films that are sorta stand-alone (GUARDIANS, LOGAN, WONDER WOMAN) we forget that the stand-alone hero used to be the norm, and that pulling together all those worlds adds so many separate suspensions of belief that any failings of the movie are amplified. And let’s face it, two out three of those films above are in the top 10 best superhero films ever. It’s a little odd then how Hollywood is only just catching on to this again, especially with franchises like Bond and Indiana Jones not needing expanding universes to carry them.

So, THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy can be seen as the ultimate example of the promise of stand-alone superhero films, and if Hollywood can exploit this angle properly… it could be amazing.

We’ll likely just end up seeing the odd Joker origin film (sigh) but audiences are hungry for variation in their supers. Hell, who wouldn’t want to see more imaginative and original superhero stories?!


© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.


Script Pipeline’s August Script Sales Review

Script Pipeline’s August Script Sales Review

Once a month, Script Pipeline provides us with news on script sales, who’ll be working on what scripts and for who. For the script sales in August, we’ve noticed a certain trend.

First of all, interesting news on a political film script – Hyde Park Entertainment has picked up a script that focuses on the career and friendship of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The script apparently looks at the friendship of the two. Politically-centered films seem to be making a bit of a comeback with a documentary on Obama’s final 12 months in office also coming soon. But it’s interesting to see film studios going for political dramas when you’d assume lots of people are just so done with politics right now!

There’s various superhero script news confirmed – the writers of SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING are coming home for the sequel, while rumors still fly round for this Joker origin story… unfortunately.

But what Script Pipeline left to the end was the plentiful news on female led scripts getting picked up. Which is just great, but what’s interesting is these are all female led films of adaptations that have male leads. THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, THE LORD OF FLIES, and LICENSE TO DRIVE are the three adaptations in question.

What’s not clear is whether these new adaptations will have the female leads as the traditionally male characters, or whether these adaptations will be led by a female character from the story.

It would be very interesting to see a female version of a character like Dorian Gray, but it would be just as easy to have a female character be the lead instead of Gray. But in a world where there’s talk of a female Bond, and where we now have a female Doctor (Who) it would be intriguing at least to see a female version of famous characters.

Female led films in general are becoming more and more powerful, and with stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone leading the way it looks that (hopefully) female led films will continue to provide quality content.

We strongly recommend you checking out Script Pipeline’s script sales posts to keep up to date with what studio companies are looking for right now.

And, hey, if anything you see there gives you inspiration to write or finish a script, it’s so worth entering the Summer contest during this Final Extension Window.


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© WriteMovies 2017