Should Hollywood Listen to Fanboys About Comic Book Movies?

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

Comic Book Guy Stan Lee Should Hollywood Listen to Fanboys About Comic Book Movies?

Beware The “Expert”

A lot of fanboys love to show off their “expertise” when it comes to talking about comic book source material. Our X-Men: First Class comment threads are just packed with fanboys breaking down every single minor detail of how Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming interpretation of the X-Men’s early years doesn’t match the continuity of the comics or even the previous X-Men movies. (Havok is SUPPOSED to be Cyclops’ brother! The X-Men in the film weren’t on the original team! Who is this “Angel Salvadore” girl in the film? How can this film possibly tie with Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie?)

We should all remain wary of so-called “comic book continuity experts.” As someone who has read comic books for decades now (including stories going back before my birth) and who now spends part of his work day reading entire histories of comic book storylines from past to present day, I can tell you: nobody has it all figured out.

Fanboys asking “Who is Angel Salvadore?” obviously aren’t fanboy-official enough to know about Grant Morrison’s early 2000s run on New X-Men, where that character first appeared. Many people who were offended when Ryan Reynolds was cast as Green Lantern swore up and down that the filmmakers were racist because Green Lantern “was obviously an African-American character,” as evidenced by the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series. Nevermind the extensive history of the multiple Earth men who have carried the GL mantle -  those cries of racism came from people who “knew the character” and “knew his history”…or so they thought.

Green Lanterns Should Hollywood Listen to Fanboys About Comic Book Movies?

Do you know your Green Lantern history?

The fact of the matter is, comic book lore is a winding road wrought with many driveways leading to decades-old houses. Depending on their heyday, fanboys of different eras will each swear to a different understanding of a comic book character; some people remember campy ’60s and ’70s Batman and Robin, while others have a memory of Bats that is dominated by the darker and grittier version of the hero from the ’80s. Fans like myself remember the mix of good and bad ideas that were put into play as ’90s-era creators tried to “update” The Dark Knight for the new Millennium (raise your hand if you remember the AzBat armor design – versions 1 and 2).  In reality, if ’70s-era Bat-fan, ’80s-era Bat-fan and me, Mr. ’90s-era Bat-fan, all sat down to compete in a Batman trivia game, we would all likely drop knowledge about our respective eras of expertise…and that’s it.

Only the geekiest of comic book fanboy Warlords truly has it all mapped out – and those are rare birds, if ever there were any. But selling a movie to a rare breed of birds isn’t really a good idea when said film costs tens of millions of dollars to make and market. In the case of Hollywood, filmmakers are trying to snag whole flocks of birds – rare breeds be damned – and why shouldn’t they?

Is a geek who knows every little single thing about half a century of comic book stories ever going to be fully satisfied with the limited storytelling of a two-hour feature film? Not likely. For such a person there will always be something missing, something that could’ve been better, or some understanding of the hero and his story that could’ve been better served. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the mistake a fan that dedicated made in the first place was ever believing that a movie can hold as much depth as great literature – be it a comic book, or a novel adapted for the screen. Some things are inevitably lost in translation.

comic book guy Should Hollywood Listen to Fanboys About Comic Book Movies?

Although it may sound like I’m being harsh on the fanboy community here, please do remember that I (and we here at Screen Rant) are all too aware that we are super-duper geeks ourselves, and that our site is sustained by the loyalty of geeks and fanboys all over the world. We love you guys ;-).

Sure, I might be playing devil’s advocate, pushing ideas about why Hollywood suits don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) listen to the fanboy community in order to make financially successful comic book movies. However, soon enough I’ll be right back in the mosh pit, letting Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder know everything that I think is wrong with the promo materials for The Avengers and Superman: Man of Steel that they release!

That’s us here at Screen Rant – fair and balanced opinions that will likely set off a wildfire in the comments section. In fact, I think I see a few sparks igniting right about now… ;-). We’re dying to hear your thoughts here, on our Twitter page or on our Facebook Wall.

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Image Sources: Angry Fanboy, “Talk Nerdy to Me” image, from Rebecca Bollwitt, Comic Book Guy by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Green Lantern images by Ivan Reis and Jim Lee

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TAGS: agents of shield, ant-man, batman, captain america, ghost rider 2, green lantern, iron man 3, superman, superman man of steel, the avengers, the dark knight rises, the flash, the punisher, thor, wonder woman, x-men, x-men: first class

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  1. I completely agree with Kofi in about every single way possible. But you’re never, ever, going to change the minds of fanboys. It is just how they operate. A certain level of maturity is required to have normal expectations in regards to a fandom. People closeted away socially just don’t naturally acquire it. Nothing you can do about it.

    • Wow, you just insulted just about the entire population of the earth with your ignorance and blanket statement there. Being a “fan” of something does not by definition mean they are immature, socially retarded, shut ins.

      So according to you, all those millions of sports fanatics are social misfits then? /rolls eyes.

      Sounds to me like the pot calling the kettle black. ;)

    • jensketch speaks the truth. geeks would quickly take offense because they’ve already been pushed aside being so passionate about comic books. comic books range from material for kids and material for adults, but realistically, people just need to grow up and out of it all. you can justify everything that is mature and adult about certain comic book material, but it’s a faint cry. the reality is a comic book geek is holding on very closely to a sense of youth. ask yourself, can you really grow up now and get rid of all your comic book themed t-shirts? then go do it. nothing says “I still have nerdy teen angst” than wearing a superhero t-shirt as part of your wardrobe that doesn’t include halloween. grow up a little, or don’t, but don’t deny it. i agree with jen.

  2. Fanboys may be opinion leaders but they don’t equate to box office. If we listened to them we’d end up with a Homer Simpson car that has every feature for every possible customer and, therefore, a car for no one.

  3. There’s a line to be tread carefully, I think, in that films (especially those low-to-mid-budget offerings that really rely on the established fanbase to break even) need to avoid alienating their base at all costs. That said, the first concern should be making a good movie, with everything else being secondary.

    More than all of that, though, I can’t help but feel like the condescending way the writer of this article talks about the fanbase can’t help but drive away a few casual readers who feel they’re being unfairly picked on.

  4. You bring up a lot of good points. To be honest I have to see a movie twice, because the first time, my inner twelve year old is noticing all the changes and assessing how the script and actors handle the characters.

    I saw X-men with family who’d never read the comics, and after wards they were asking me questions. I could sense that they had a bit of the same feeling that drew me to the comics. Same with Spider-man. People really liked the story.

    That is what was fun for me as a comic book fan.

  5. Great article! I’ve been really enjoying these opinion-articles here on Screen Rant, they’re able to take the bias away and look at the situation from a big-picture point of view. The writing definitely shows great logic and emotional maturity.

    I think another thing is many comic book fans are unable to comprehend the difference between something that reads well/is exciting in a comic book and what makes good cinema. They are two different mediums and what may seem cool and fresh on the printed page will come across as cheesy garbage on the big screen. I really love both the Watchmen as a comic and as a movie and I have to say, taking out the squid in the movie was the right choice. A giant squid coming through a portal and wrecking havoc was a great moment in the comic but would have looked insanely retarded in theaters.

    • Ryan, I agree with you about “The Squid” – having never read the comics before seeing the big-screen adaptation, I was one of those viewers Hollywood was dying to reach: someone who knew nothing about the comics, but wanted a great story. The squid storyline would have been dumb, even though it was true to the story. Who cares about a squid anyways – nukes are so much more appealing! Where Hollywood dropped the ball was trying to crush that much story into one movie. If they had simply released Watchmen as a two-parter, including all the Black Freighter footage, people like me wouldn’t have walked out afterwards thinking “You almost got it…almost!”

      Watchmen, done correctly, might have been the most compelling film of its time, to rival the initial response the comic book received when it was released in 1986. But Hollywood doesn’t seem to get it: look at the wreckage of well-intentioned comic book movies, strewn across the recent history of film, and you can tell something is amiss. Who in their right mind thought Daredevil, Catwoman, or Electra in their completed forms was great cinema?

      Hollywood’s gotta do a better job making quality films that bring fans like me to the theatres, while respecting fanboy’s desire for continuity. In the end, they have some of the greatest scripts sitting around and they don’t even know it: the original source material, the comic books themselves. What would be wrong with dusting a few of them off and modernizing the storylines (no squids)?

      I’ll leave you with this non-comic thought: consider the impact of a film that Bond 23 COULD have if it completes the origin tale, while neatly stitching itself into Dr. No. Respect past endeavors while creating another gritty Daniel Craig interpretation, and you have a Bond movie for the ages. Do anything less, and you merely entertain.

  6. The most radicalized fanboys seem to be young. The “pure” “classic”
    stories they want involve story lines and characters that are less than 20 years old. They speak of X-men and always drop Storm, Wolverine, or even newer characters like Mr. Sinister or Apocalypse into the mix when those characters came along much later.

    The worst complaints are about the physical aspects of the actors. Fanboys would hire nothing but guys on steroids and women with tons of plastic surgery.

    Of course, you’re right, when the movie works they are endlessly permissive about the changes.

  7. Fanboys complained when they saw stills of Christopher Reeve in costume as Superman because the pictures didn’t depict him ‘in flight.’ If Warner Bros. had listened to the Bat-fans, we would have never had Michael Keaton suit up as the Dark Knight, and we would never have seen Burton’s vision. Fanboys will now tell you they can’t decide who gave the better performance as Batman – Keaton or Bale. Fox had to practically place Bryan Singer into protective custody when pics of his actors in their X-Men uniforms first appeared. Fanboys threatened to kill him. The Fox executives got death threats as well, but they’re used to them. Tobey Maguire as Spider-man? I seem to recall fanboys pissed at that too.

    Filmmaking is a form of storytelling unique unto itself, and the bottom line is the filmmakers owe the audience a good story based on outside material, and nothing more. The trick seems to be in finding directors, producers and writers who have a personal connection to the comic books and their characters. The personal vision and connection of filmmakers to comic books has always and will always produce the best films based on pre-existing characters and titles. Fanboys are a collective yet fractured body of views whose criteria is not based on the art of filmmaking and storytelling. When you go to a restaurant, you stay out of the kitchen. Thank God that when fanboys go to the movie theater, they don’t end up on the set.

  8. For me, one of the best examples of the benefits of giving a filmmaker the freedom to explore their own unique vision is the original 1994 adaptation of “The Crow”.

    It was regarded as an incredibly successful translation and still has a loyal and passionate fan base. Yet, if you’re being objective that movie can be described as a loose adaptation at best.

    It borrows the basic premise and tone of the comic and not much else. They severely altered some of the core elements of that book including what the actual crow represents, Eric’s powers, the villains’ personalities & their motivations, and even the roles the supporting cast play in the story.

    But it worked. In fact, it’s probably so much better than a direct adaptation would have been. So now fans have the original comic series (or graphic novel depending on how early or late you got into it) as well as a separate but equally valid film adaptation.

    The fact that the movie detours from the comic actually added to my enjoyment of it because it kept enough of what I loved about the property, but presented it in a brand new context.

    But if sites like this had existed back in the early 90s, I’m sure fans would have been writing it off the moment a martial arts star was cast in the lead role and they started switching the villains around.

    How can Hollywood try and gauge the opinion of the fanboy community when most of the time we ourselves can’t agree on anything? I’ll echo what many others have already said – I’ll take a director who can respect the source material while filtering it through their own specific vision over a literal translation any day.

  9. Honestly, I get what the author of this article was getting at, but I still feel insulted. As a fan of Harry Potter, I understand that some things don’t translate well, but I don’t watch the movies simply because I know that it will never be as good as the book. Also JK pulled some moves in the books that I KNEW I would hate in the movies so I just choose to refrain.

    I feel that as long as a fan is directing, the fanboys don’t need to be consulted. However if you relied on the fanboys to buildup interest in the film and you were banking on their excitement to bring in their non-fanboy friends, then you don’t have the right to completely ignore their opinions. Yes, they are fickle, but there may be a valid point that’s worth looking at.

    As far as a character’s race being changed, sometimes its not a big deal and yet at times it is. If the character’s race/nationality was a big part of their persona/what made then recognizable then don’t do it. I think a black Cyclops or a white Storm is grounds for fan hate, but Batman could have been Italian and Spiderman could have been Chinese as long as the acting was good. In fact, I think that when it comes to masked characters race isn’t much of an issue – especially when their backgrounds are universal. What can also be done is you just make a new character of a different race with similarities to the original character. As long as that original character wasn’t needed the fans won’t care. Marvel does it alot apparently.

    I want to say I don’t have an issue with retconning because I actually do. My thing is, Emma Frost was just in Wolverine as a teenager in the 70s, just coming into her powers, and you want me to believe that she’s a grown women in the 60s learning from Xavier? And then you want me to believer Xaviers that old in Wolverine and that young in First Class? Are we entirely forgetting Wolverine? Is Magneto’s Origin story ever going to be done? because First Class really makes it seem irrelevant. All I’m asking is to be given something I can relate to.

    I’m not the biggest fan. Alot of the comic book faves I’ve only seen in their cartoon forms. I just want something that makes sense. And if you’re going to reboot, call it a reboot. If it is its own canon, fine. But don’t sit here and lie to me like I’m not capable of deducing that certain things just do not work coherently. If First Class makes a profit, good for them. If not, they should have either listened to the fanboys or hired better people.

    • I believe that i read somewhere that Singer or Vaughn said that First Class is partly Magneto’s origin movie, or that the Magneto’s origin was absorbed into the script. Something like that, ill try to find it for validation ;)

  10. Making movies with the sole motivation of profit is never good — in any genre. It’s important to consider how a story is best told, and reading the comics that have survived as long as they have could help. Adapting material is always going to lead to changes, and that’s fine, but Hollywood should never “focus on making comic book movies more appealing (read: profitable) to the larger demographic” — that is, more than they already are. Naturally, the films must turn a profit or they won’t be made…but this doesn’t mean they have to be reshaped to appeal to people that would never otherwise be fans.

  11. I agree that there needs to be respect and understanding of the material. Too often fans “understanding” is superficial (costume, continuity, breast size). They make the call to “stick” to the material. “Trust” the material because it’s been successful. They’ll refer to the comics as “storyboards” that can be easily translated into movies.

    With the successful movies, the changes were overlooked and forgiven. But too often Hollywood throws a bunch of money at a property assuming that there is a built in audience. That seldom works (although there are exaples like the Star Wars Prequels and HP movies (except #3 IMO), which I’m sure inspire a lot of dreck). How many movie previews had the LOTR vibe to them after those came out?

    With the successful movies the changes are well-considered and thought-out along with the story.

    The producers are the ones that ultimately need to take responsibility. Often they are simply trying to produce flash that gets butts into seats, and not thinking about a good story that people can watch again and again.

  12. Courting a fanbase at comic-con does not mean anyone is listening to fans. Studios realized that its just good marketing sense and they’re definitely not there with note-pads getting feedback in order to go back and change what it obviously in production or finished.

    And dude, the X-Men uniforms are WEAK. Let’s not pretend that fanboys/girls are whining about studio issues they can’t comprehend/change, they’re whining about basic elements being changed in order to market to non-fanboys/girls. In fact, I’d argue they NEED the fanboys/girls more because without their interest they’d have a harder time getting non-fans to give a crap and they’d make less money.

    All fans are saying is for once can you not futurize a character’s uniform with extra panels and tech-y colors on top of changing the entire storyline so the A list actor who just had a hit makes sense in the role?

    This isn’t to say that some of the comic book movies aren’t good, but being a good movie isn’t the same as being true to the source. Don’t tell me, oh it honors the spirit of the thing, we’re going to see our 2D heroes moving around in real life. That’s it. Is that so hard Hollywood?

  13. Really good article. We had no idea what to expect of Heath Ledger as Joker based on the pics. Radical, but it worked for his character. On the other hand, look up Kevin Smith’s bit about the giant spider in the Superman movie that didn’t happen.

    Yes, race matters a little. An Irish Boston cop played by an oriental actor would be stupid and unnecessary. At that point why not write an original asian Boston cop story? But the reason I’ve heard for big changes is b/c producers pay for franchise X (b/c it’s popular) but really want to make movie Y.

    Billie D as Harvey Dent didn’t matter so much. A black viking is weird. It’s as PC as making a movie about an African nation with a Bruce Willis playing a black hero. Too much pandering is distasteful. It’ll prob play well in Thor, but it’s such a weird racial fight to pick. If the viking lobby were more vocal, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    I think to key to enjoying any movie is to lower your expectations dramatically, then just watch the damn thing. Hype ruins so many – BUT of course, word of mouth and pirate distribution only get you so far.

    • I hear that, i was trying to explain that “they” made heimdall black in thor to my family (who btw has always viewed my love for comics with a wary detachment) and all my sister could say was ” isn’t he a norse god? ”

      all i coould do was shrug my shoulders and laugh

      its not going to make me not like the movie but its definatly a wtf were you thinking moment

  14. Cajun Metal

    I disagree with you almost entirely on every point you make. However, you make your points very clearly and politely, so you’re an exception to the apparent “rule” of fanboy comments.

    I was just about to write that fanboys shouldn’t be listened to because most of them simply don’t deserve to be. If someone can’t write a coherent sentence, resorts to name calling, and doesn’t bother to use any kind of logic or persuasion, their effort will be responded to as it warrants.

    That being said, you seem to have adopted the other common tactic: Oversimplification. To answer you’re question: Yes it is hard. Take any one panel from a comic book and it’ll cost tens of thousands of dollars to recreate in a movie. An artist can simply adjust the angles, draw perfectly muscled or toned people, have women’s hair flow and cooperate however they want, draw several character’s suspended in perfect arrangements. Cartoon costumes look fine in a drawing where everything else is also a cartoon drawing. I’m glad that designers are making changes. The Christopher Reeve Superman costume looks pretty silly (although that movie still works).

    Now if someone wanted to make a superhero movie with everyone wearing spandex authentic costumes, have cheesey but energetic special effects, but then also use a good script and story, I’d be for that. Sometimes they just spend too much money on these things. a 40 million dollar movie could be a huge hit.

    The only reason we’re discussing X-men movies ten years after the original is because it succeeded. As much as I love yellow boots, If their “uniforms” had looked like the comics, I doubt this would be the case. And please don’t argue that Spider-man’s costume was authentic. For one, he’s reached an iconic status, and also the costume simply happens to fit the character.

  15. Yikes! This is a touchy subject at best. I couldn’t help feeling just a little bit bashed a couple of times by some of the writer’s remarks.
    Okay, I understand what you’re saying: if the market only appeals to the purists, then there’s really no market at all. However, it’s a mistake to look at comics’ habit of retconning and to say that fans should just accept it in the movie. Frequently, comic retcons are poorly received by fans and even those that stick are often accompanied by some ongoing “alternate continuity” that allows die-hards to still enjoy the original even though it’s not “official” anymore.
    It’s also unkind to say that movies would be better off without fanboy input. You realy think a mainstream audience won’t be shocked out of their immersion in the movie “Thor” just a little bit when they see a black Norse god? Really? Remember any of the jokes about Morgan Freeman being in the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood? Yes, you can make a movie that is successful without these “trivial” little details and yes, it will make lots of money. Truly great movies that are remembered and memorialized by movie fans are more than just financial successes, though. They have something that’s missing from a lot of comic movies: integrity. When you stick to your source material, it shows. It makes the film more coherent and logical; it gives the story an intangible quality that viewers respond to. It doesn’t matter that there’s forty different versions of Green Lantern, or that only certain fans remember certain versions. Pick one, and stick to the details; oh, wait, it kind of looks like that’s what they had planned all along. Unfortunately, it looks like their effects budget is going to overpower their plot and characters; that’s not due to fan input or the lack thereof, that’s just Hollywood being Hollywood.

  16. I am a newcomer to this site and really love its insights. While my husband is the ‘fanboy’ of the house, I am enthusiastically with him on opening day for all types of films. I am in the medical field. My office, with its SOUTH PARK, BATMAN, STAR WARS, etc. posters and collectibles, is a huge hit with patients of all ages. For some people, seeing a comic book or fantasy character actually puts them at ease with medical visits. Comic book characters have become an important part of our lives on many levels. It is a little sad to read a great article such as this and then find some comments from readers that seem not just mean spirited, but a little hostile. Perhaps it’s the daily reminders I see at my office, or the recent events in Japan in the Middle East, but I wanted to throw this out there – in the end, there’s a real world out there and we all face real hardship and challenges. Creating a site like this, and writing articles like this, is the result of true passion and it’s a very positive addition to the difficult times all of us currently face. When comments are posted which constitute a personal assault on the writer or fellow readers, they just feed into the stereotype that fanboys and girls are kids who really need to grow up and get a life. I’ve found that fans have real lives, real jobs, real families and deal with reality. It’s a shame when the comments of a few people make all fans seem juvenile and out of touch with reality. Just a thought.

    • Those are awesome, articulate thoughts. Nice!

  17. Mr. Outlaw, your question is should hollywood listen? I think they should, which I’m guessing is in disagreement with you. But I think the article makes a presumption. I dont believe there are strict lines between, for example, western fans, thriller fans, and comicbook superhero fans. In other words, there is alot of overlap, and I think for the most part the CBSH fans ARE the general movie fans. I have no statistics to back this up, but alot of the people whose posts I read in CBSH articles are the same people who post in Conan , LOTR, and Stephen King Movie articles. Not trying to offend, just submitting my thoughts.

  18. I agree with pretty much all of this :).

  19. Thank you. I am a fanboy who has always squealed about the rabid folks who claim encyclopedic knowledge of a particular comic. Watchmen was a good example. The film actually did a great job of cleaning up some of the stuff that might have worked well in the 80′s but today would have been too camp. Blue squid anyone?
    Yes, films have to appeal to a wider audience otherwise there is no point in making it. It is a business.

    Bringing to light the many changes done within the comics themselves was brilliant. I’ve never understood why the fanboys get angry when a continuity change happens in a film when you can’t go more than 10 issues in comics before something changes to make room for something new.

    Bravo!

  20. Hey kofi, i think you are smart enough to know that in every group there will be members of that group that are the extremists and then you have those who are also members of that group who are sensible. It’s like the progressives and moderates of both the democrat and republican parties. You guys don’t have to listen or pay attention to the extremists of any group, including ours, but I think you writers and movie producers do, fully knowing that the extremists point of view is just that—extreme and outlandish— just so you can write articles like the one you have written so you can say SEE THAT’S WHY WE DON’T LIKE TO LISTEN TO YOU FANBOYS/GIRLS. Yet you guys, as i have seen over the years since the inception of Xmen 1, pay no attention and do not regard the sensible comments and suggestions of the more sensible members of the fanboy/girls medium, and to me that is because you like the debating and the “fighting” that tends to go one when the discussion is about superheroes. I personally believe that the fanboys/girls are the general public when it comes to superhero movies. Primarily because you can count on them to see a good superhero movie that follows its source 2, 3, maybe 4 times. Non fans just won’t do that because they ddid not grow up with the comics and its heroes. I do believe that you have some fans that are just over the top and unreasonable, but the rest of us fans are not suggesting that you listen to the extremists of our group. Let’s look at some movies that prove that the fanboy/girls are the superhero movies.

    The 2003 hulk movie was terrible. It did not follow its source at all, I mean the hulk just did not even look like the hulk, and there was no plot line. Yet i remember during that year, right before its release you had the movie companies basically touting it as a soon to be success and giving ang lee accolades as if the man did something stellar. they were taking pictures of him and he was bowing as if his “soon to be” version of the hulk was going to be better that what marvel comics created back in the early 60s. The end result was that the movie bombed, big time. i don’t even see the thing being shown on any local cable channels. Now fast forward 5 years to 2008. Because marvel actually owns the rights to the hulk, and made the movie purely based on the comics, it was a blockbuster hit. You know what the big major difference was? Betty Ross in the movie was a brunnete, when in the comics she is a blonde. No one cared about that, not even major fans as myself. Why? because 99% of the movie followed the source. even the CGI Hulk in the 2008 version looked like the Hulk in the comics as compared to its 2003 counterpart. Point is, most of us fans, including the extremists among our group and those not so extreme, would agree that if Hollywood would follow at least 95% of the story’s source, we wouldn’t be so up in arms. If Hollywood is going to cange something relating the characters why does it always want to change something that is immensely big, which relates to the character? Again betty Ross’s hair in the books is blonde, but having her be a brunnete in the movie wasn’t anything that would be considered a drastic change, therefore none of us fanboys/girls complained about it. Now if they made the hulk blue or orange when we all know that his skin being green is a serious component to who the Hulk is, then of course, you will have fans in an uproar and rightly so.

    • You make a great point. And it tied into mine that I just made as well. The fans are the ones who you can rely on to sell a movie based on a previous source. We are the consumers who get hyped first, and pay first usually. We like it when a movie at least gets the feel of the source down. But we prefer it when it is faithful to the source as much as possible. When you drastically deviate, you alienate the fans and non-fans usually won’t be interested enough to see the movie in the first place. Making a movie on a previous source and then acting like the fans don’t care, begs the question of why they try to ride on the coatails of the previous source. I get it, not every movie can straight up port a story from something like a game. I have seen movies use original material, but still you can easily distinguish them as based on the source, and they still can be good. The Disney made Prince of Persia movie did receive some negative reviews, but it was close enough to the source material at least to me that it was decent and it gave much of the same air as the sands of time video game. Now it still deviated quite a bit, but for what it’s worth, it did do very well for being a bit more faithful than most movie adaptions of video games.

      But for a real example of how to make a movie based on something like a videogame, I look to a group of fans that made a movie adaption of Ocarina of time. They spent years filming, and while a lot of it is obviously amateur, you can tell the heart and soul they put into it. The story also wasn’t a straight up word for word adaption either, but the main gist of it was basically a retelling of Ocarina. Before it was unfortunately forced to be removed, many fans watched it and praised how good despite how amateur it was. The team making it had limitations, for instance they didn’t have a large budget like most film companies have. And they did it all on their own free time and dime. If an official movie came out, it would bomb, because people who aren’t a fan of zelda games likely wouldn’t like a movie of it, and movie companies rarely care about the fans. But the people that made this movie, were all fans, they weren’t just making a quick buck since they were showing the movie for free, so they could focus on doing the best they could to make a good Zelda movie, not just a movie with Zelda in the title based loosely on the series.

  21. Secondly, i know there are fans who dislike some of the choices Hollywood picks to play certain characters. X-men was probably the biggest movie i heard the most grumblings about when it came to the people chosen to play the X-men. Why all the grumblimbs over the picks? Becuase we know there are people who don’t just look the part, but who also can act the part. One of the biggest problems is that when a fan picks a person who looks like the actual character, non fans jump out, and without merit, start to say OH BUT THAT PERSON CAN’T ACT. It makes no sense to say that simply because sensible fans as myself would not just throw someone into a film to play one of my characters, when that peron cannot act. Why would any fan, who desires the movie of his or her character to be a big hit so that sequels to that movie can be made, want to destroy that goal by picking someone who only looks the part, but can’t play the part? Answer—WE DON’T. Yet writers, who pretend to be neutral in this debate, say nothing when hollywood picks people who can act, but look nothing like the character.

  22. Thirdly, kofi, come on. i think you should know that at the conventions, everything there is about products and selling. If i am a movie producer, who wants to make a movie based on a well known comic book character, but do not want to follow the source, I then know that the only way to get those who are fans of that character into the seats to see it is to make them think I am listening to their ideas and comments. Why not just follow the source? Why go through all the hassle of making the fans think that you are listening to them just so they can get hyped about said movie and so that they can spend some money on whateever it is you are selling regarding that upcoming movie? It’s stubborness, kofi, that is how I view Hollywood.

  23. I think it’s a safe bet (based on the performances of several past films) that if the Comicon crowd goes nuts for a film based on trailers and scenes then a studio should take that as fair warning that they will be writing off the film as a financial loss or see that it’s grosses won’t be as good (gross isn’t the same as profitability. If a movie grosses $300 mil worldwide but cost $150 mil to make and not counting P&A, it’s a safe bet that, regardless of the spin from the studios, there will not be many happy executives. After the theaters take their cut, the film will still be deeply in the red as there’s still interest to be paid on the money used to make the movie. Yup, a lot of unhappy executives.

    If the executives are smart and not scared rabbits, they’ll greenlight the first movie for a very safe cost and then, and only if it’s a hit, make the sequels for just a bit more. They used to do this in the good old days. Don’t know how this stopped being the norm.

    By any measure, Scott Pilgrim should have cost 10 to 20 million only.

  24. I’ve been saying what this article says for years. Movies are different from comics, especially seventy-year-old comics. Don’t bother trying to make fanboys happy, because they simply can’t be satisfied. Less obsessive fans will be happy to fold your new interpretation into the lexicon. These are the fans who understand that a movie is just a movie, an addition, not a subtraction.

  25. I feel as tough Hollywood does need to listen to the fandom when it comes to movie adaptations of comic books. That being the primary fanbase, I think their obligated to try and make a quality movie when you’re taking something that means so much to people. At the same time, there is a limit, I being a comic book fan can tell you, a lot of origin stories aren’t all that interesting so it takes a quality team of writers, actors, and directors to take something some people are going to like, and turn into something that a lot of people are going to like. Take wanted for example. Wanted was an excellent movie, but it was nothing like the comic. A good team of writers made a quality film out of the concepts from a comic book. But then you get the daredevils, electras, catwomans, and spiderman 3s. There has to be a common ground between the fans and the bigwigs.

  26. I’m not a Marvel fan, but I’m a fan of Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer, Ang Lee and Joss Whedon. Which is why I loved the Marvel movies. I never picked up an Iron Man comic book in my life, but Robert Downey, Jr. made me interested.

    That being said. I am an avid DC reader but when watching Green Lantern, I kept asking myself, “what is this Hal’s/Carol’s/Hector’s/Sinestro’s motivation in this scene?”

    Good scripts make good movies, not being anal about continuity and “getting it right.”

  27. I think there’s a line about moderation in here somewhere when it comes to making a movie based on something like a comic book or a video game.

    1. When you make a movie on a preexisting ip. You are going to get two different types of audiences. One audience are fans, the others are new. How popular is the work you are doing? If a movie is being made, one could assume that the source is very popular. In such a situation, it is important to try to please as large an audience as possible. A popular source means that previous fans will be in the majority.

    2. If you go the route of pleasing the mainstream though, you risk a lot. For one, the source you are working with might not be interesting to the masses, so you try to change things up. Except if you change too much, you may end up making your movie irrelevant. It could become so generic *cough* Dragonball Evolution *cough* that you won’t really please your mainstream audience, and by changing it too much the previous fans won’t be happy either. BY trying to appeal to everybody in this case, you end up appealing to nobody.

    3. What is the point of doing a movie based on previous material if you plan on completely disregarding current fans? Many movies based on previous material fail because they only manage to be the movie version based on name alone. In the case of DBE, even the most casual of dragonball fans were offended. And the reason anybody likes anything of it was because it gives off that trainwreck vibe.

    4. Certain properties may not be very good movie material, even if some want to them to be. In such situations it is actually better to stay away. Sure, maybe somebody could wring some money out of it, but they are only doing the source material a disservice. If I was the author of such properties, I would turn down requests to water down my stories for a quick buck. As a viewer and fan of other properties I cannot endorse such cash grabs either. Because I would not just be betraying other fans and myself of said properties, but I would also be betraying others and myself as a general consumer. Such is a waste of everybody’s time.

  28. Fanboys are the worst. People have called films like The Avengers and Man of Steel the best ever made. Then they debate endlessly about which ones are the best, as if it matters.

  29. All fans will never be pleased. Sure, some will, and those are the ones who are open to new things surrounding their favorite franchises and such. Then, there are the stubborn ones, who curse any changes made and swear that their little source material is perfection, as if it can’t be improved upon.

    I seriously hate fandoms, but, at the same time, I don’t. If that makes sense. There are just too many annoying fans out there.

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