Are We Being Bombarded with Too Much Superhero Media?

No, I’m not referring to comic books. They’re the birth, cornerstone, and hopefully never tombstone of modern day superhero fiction, where all the movies and television spinoffs get the majority of their creative inspiration from. And frankly, the superhero film and television industries are doing great, and many (including myself) are happier people for it. But how long will that last? How long will the average viewer care to be entertained in such a way? When, if ever, will they as a majority decide they are tired of the constant bombardment of superhero media? We’ve seen the rise of the superhero market, held heavily on the shoulders of the early X-Men and Spider-Man films, but will we also see the fall?

My main concern is essentially that as it is right now, we have just a tad too much saturation in the superhero market. As it stands, there’s an average of 4-5 major superhero blockbusters a year. We now have two Superhero tv shows, one of them a spinoff of a popular franchise (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and the other a reaction to the absence of superhero television on the WB after Smallville wrapped up (Arrow). Each season of these shows produces about 20 hours of original superhero footage for us to consume, soak up and enjoy (not including commercials we have to sit through). And yes, each company wants you to be more invested in their market so as to overshadow others, which is why some (or most) stick to watching only one show, if that. But your average viewer doesn’t think about it like that – they’re thinking “man there is way too much superhero crap on right now.” And this is fine. We turn a blind eye, watch another show/movie. The world moves on. And they, the average viewers, may not even be thinking that now, but the superhero landscape is about to get very crowded. Will their opinion change?

The CW is prepping a spinoff tv show of Arrow in the way of the Flash, which is now well into filming its pilot episode (and will almost certainly be picked up). Captain America’s old love, Peggy Carter is in talks of getting her own tv series. The early days of Gotham, pre-Batman is getting it’s own series. Constantine is getting a series. Netflix just signed a deal with Marvel and Disney to create 13 hour-long episodes each for Daredevil, for Jessica Jones, for Iron Fist, for Luke Cage, all culminating in a Defenders miniseries which will be anywhere from 4-8 hour-long episodes. That is a lot of television on the horizon. A lot of superhero television. Will the average viewer care to watch a spinoff series? A pre-Batman series. Care to be completely caught up on the entirety of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)? Even non-comic based superhero television is becoming heavily prevalent. Remember ‘Heroes’? Yeah, THAT’s coming back.

This doesn’t even begin to cover the four movie studios vying for your viewership. Marvel has two films coming out this summer: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Producer Kevin Feige has made mention that they have a general timeline of films scheduled all the way out until 2021. Fox is merging their original and new X-Men franchises to work together in X-Men: Days of Future Past and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and they’re in talks to produce another Wolverine sequel (AND they’re rebooting the Fantastic Four). Sony is never letting go of Spider-Man and we can expect to get one every two years at best guesstimate, along with possible spinoff material with characters related to the Spider-Man name. All the while, DC Comics and Warner Brothers is prepping their cinematic universe with Batman/Superman, in very slow response to Marvel’s The Avengers booming success. Will this barrage of films at some point begin to deter moviegoers?

Another thing to take into consideration are the dates that these films are getting released on. If they don’t show up too near to each other, it shouldn’t affect viewership from diehard fans, or the average Fri/Sat moviegoers. But just this past week we encountered a problem with this thinking: Warner Brothers announced that they’d release they’re Batman/Superman film on May 6, 2016, the same date as one of Marvel’s films, which was subsequently announced to be Captain America 3. Marvel has stated that they don’t plan to back down from the date. If they do get released on the same weekend, that would make this the biggest superhero showdown in movie history. A worthy topic of discussion in its own right. Personally, if I may interject my own article, I think this is a terrible move on DC’s part. Sure, although Captain America is already a huge tentpole, backed by his first solo film, then the Avengers, and soon to be his second solo film, nobody honestly believes Captain America 3 will do better than arguably the two greatest superheroes in popular culture (Superman, Batman) clashing on camera. BUT, Marvel and Disney don’t need to worry about that particularly. Captain America will be the 13th canon film in the MCU. They can afford to take that hit. DC cannot. If Marvel can take away just 25-40% of the viewership from Batman/Superman, that’s a considerable hit to the company’s only film currently scheduled to be lined up. It’s not very likely the majority of folks will see both opening weekend. I expect that, depending on how well The Winter Soldier does in the box office in the next coming weeks, WB may choose to move their slot. This choice to choose sides, to choose one hero movie over another, is frustrating to both fans and others alike. Although there are plenty of weeks in the year, the happenstance that two major films release on the same weekend give viewers the mindset that the genre IS over-saturated.

As a comic book fan, I’m excited for all the new material, but I’m also really worried it might be too much, and too fast. I’d rather get less and have the beauty of the genre last longer, than get more now and have it die out quicker. But it seems each company wants only to make the profit while they can. Will the supply of superhero content outweigh the demand in the coming years? Probably. Regardless, it’s out of this mere bloggers hands, or any of you for that matter. All we can do now is enjoy what we can, view what we want, and see what shape the genre is in next year… 2016… 2021. Some of you are probably already tired of the genre, and haven’t read this far. That’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and their interests. How do you feel about the current state of superhero affairs?

15 thoughts on “Are We Being Bombarded with Too Much Superhero Media?

  1. I think the ride will continue for a while as long as great movies are being produced. People go see the Marvel films because they are of high quality. If the studios start pushing out mediocre or unnecessary sequels just to cash in, then this is when people will start to give up on the whole thing. I really hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon!


  2. Definitely thinking the same thing. Too much with the Netflix deal and Spider-Man spin-offs, which overloads the alreadt overloaded thing. The general audience and even comic book fans will get Superhero/Comic Book film fatigue.

    I do think that Superman/Batman will do better than Captain America 3 out of the gate. Only Incredible Hulk did worse than the first Captain America in the MCU films. Winter Soldier will do better, I’m sure, but there are 6 Superman or Batman films that did better than it (even more if you adjust for inflation). Plus Batman + Superman + Wonder Woman + the beginnings of the Justice League is a pretty hard draw. Not The Avengers, but getting close.

    I think that Superman/Batman is much more likely to be a trainwreck and could possibly drop much faster, but even the fact that it may be a trainwreck will attract people to see it in the early weeks. Plus, CA will have been in a film every year between Man of Steel and Superman/Batman, he may have just the sort of super-hero fatigue this post is discussing.

    I guess we’ll see.


  3. I get where you’re coming from and I think you make some really good points. However, I think this might have a positive effect in terms of the entire super-hero universe gaining new fans in terms or movies and comics. With the recent (well, relatively recent) reboot of Marvel and DC comics with Marvel Now and the New 52, people might develop a new found love for comics with a great jump in point into the comic book worlds as well as some good old blockbuster movies. Seems to me like the super-hero world used to be a close-knit community reserved to those who have been collecting and reading comics for ages and all those who wanted to join felt it was near to impossible. With this, we might be having a mini re-birth of the whole universe have and easier time joining in. If anything, the geeks are taking over and I don’t think that’s a bas thing.


  4. It does seem like things are getting too good, too fast, but as an optimist, I choose to embrace the fact that suddenly, everyone wants in on the stuff I like. That”s terrific. But yeah, I really, really hope WB decides to move Batman & Superman. Because if that loses, in anyway, it could be the beginning of the end (thanks for liking my posts, btw.)


  5. Great post, mate. I think you’re totally right – we are being oversaturated. I’ve been thinking that for a while. I used to get fairly excited about an X-Men film or a Batman movie or something. Now I barely react; half the films I don’t even bother to watch. Like, I know I should be excited about the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but I can’t seem to find the enthusiasm; I think it’s just because of the sheer volume of what’s being put out in this genre every year, it makes everything less ‘special’.


  6. I don’t think anything will stop it’s eventual end… because what goes up must inevitably come down… but I think it will last a while… because there are so many who loved the stories beforehand and are now happy to see them finally coming to life in such amazing ways… and then there’s the new people who would’ve never looked at a comic book if their life depended on it suddenly seeing this world as exciting and wonderful… and the wave will ride and it will be awesome… the problem will be is when the stories are done but Hollywood insists on going… like the Batman Trilogy did a great job… they didn’t try to stretch it out too long… didn’t try to keep milking money… that’s where Hollywood always screws up… they become so sure people will see these movies no matter what they start stretching them out till they almost have no point what so ever… but I would say that while X-Men might have been a start they were no where near the jump off that Iron Man was… that was when I saw everyone getting excited about these movies that normally wouldn’t be… if Iron Man hadn’t made it I doubt any of the following movies would’ve ever been considered…


    1. I appreciate the thought you put into your comment. And I totally agree with everything. Great points. I think the first wave was the Spider-Man/X-Men films, but Iron-Man/Avengers/Dark Knight were wave two. This wave three may be too crowded, which is what I’m most worried about. I know eventually though the fun will have ended.


  7. Great post. I’m worried about it all also. Everywhere you turn it’s news about this superhero movie or this new superhero trailer, etc. Kevin Feige from Marvel is quoted almost every single day about something, and it’s getting to be too much. The bubble is going to burst and people are going to start turning against these movies and shows.


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