Marvel Studios Looking to Short Films to Launch Lesser-Known Characters

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:21 pm,

Marvel Studios Short Films Marvel Studios Looking to Short Films to Launch Lesser Known Characters

Following the less-than-stellar box office gross of mega-expensive superhero film Green Lantern, it’s safe to say that studios will probably be less inclined to simply throw buckets of money at untested comic book adaptations. Green Lantern isn’t an “unknown” by any means but few casual moviegoers (the people who turn superhero films into billion dollar franchises) probably ever dressed-up as a Lantern for Halloween or played with Sinestro action figures.

As a result, it’s possible that the superhero film gold rush may be winding down a bit. Not to say that superhero films can’t make huge money; however, with so many comic book adaptations in theaters, it’s clear that some moviegoers are now choosing which superhero films they’ll pay to see. No one is more aware of this fact than Green Lantern‘s rival comic book movie studio, Marvel – who may be seeking ways to test lesser-known characters without dropping feature-film money.

According to a source close to Marvel Studios, who spoke with Film School Rejects, the comic book film company is currently exploring the idea of developing short films featuring secondary Marvel superheroes – for the purpose of testing the characters (and presumably casting) with audiences before injecting them into a feature film. It wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve heard rumors of Marvel short films (prior rumors were later debunked by producer Kevin Feige – though he admitted the studio was interested).

The source also claims that “two shorts have already been shot, both featuring actor Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson” – special features that will be included in the Thor and Captain America home releases. That said, it’s hard to fit the Coulson “shorts” into the same category as fresh mini-films designed to test moviegoer-interest in untested characters. Coulson, along with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, is the connective tissue that has been stringing all the pre-Avengers standalone films together. The character’s “shorts” probably fall closer to the category of “deleted” or “bonus” scenes rather than actual short films.

Thor and SHIELD agent Coulson Marvel Studios Looking to Short Films to Launch Lesser Known Characters

Either way, there’s no doubt that Marvel Studios has the ability, and need, to utilize the short-film format – since they’re running out of triple-a heroes to bring to the screen. Marvel has enjoyed a good run at the box office lately but they’re not exempt from releasing a few lackluster movies that featured secondary characters who were probably doomed out of the gate – most notably the Daredevil spin-off, Elektra. Sure Elektra may have been enjoying to watch when paired-up with Daredevil (was she even fun to watch in Daredevil?) but anyone who sat through the first ten minutes of her spin-off could quickly tell the film wasn’t going to deliver an adequate big screen experience. Had Marvel screened those first ten minutes (or a short-film with the character) ahead of Spider-Man 2, it’s hard to imagine that Elektra would have ever made it to theaters.

Moviegoers are already trained to respond to hype-building footage – audiences watch close to 15 minutes of previews ahead of most feature films these days and online trailer releases are among the biggest news items we cover here at Screen Rant.

Who wouldn’t love to see a Dr. Strange or Ant-Man short tested ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man or released online (ala Mortal Kombat: Legacy) – even if the characters were never picked-up for a feature?

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick — and let us know which secondary Marvel character you’d like to see get the short film treatment?

Source: Film School Rejects

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  1. Well…Exciting times..exciting times..
    With this Summer’s CBM’s coming to a close. The failures made apparantly obvious. I’m glad to see that *Marvel Studios has weathered the stormy times, both financially and creatively.

    (And anyone who dosnt think that the real World’s economy hasn’t effected overall sales is obviously living in another world)

    I want to make that point applified..MARVEL STUDIOS. Not a Marvel based character. Haven’t you noticed Reporters aren’t making the distinctions between the 2 lumping all of the different franchises in the same bag..Marvel. It would actually be easier for everyone if Marvel Studios would just tell the public which *rights they *don’t have. But getting back to the topic at hand. Short Films would really go over well in front of major Character films. There would be longer running times but I’m sure Die-hard Fans won’t mind and the GP(General Public) would become used to the format over time. It’s a lot better than hanging out till the end of the

    Marvel Studios is finding ways to stay in tune with the audiance and the *real world economic status and producing films and characters in that arena. The other characters are run by other Studios(Fox-Sony-Columbia -then,there’s DC/Warner) how they go foward will be interesting to see. Will it be business as usual or somebody will actually think of something different? Everyone should have learned by the films that were released this summer and should be adjusting to improve..for whatever was missing/wrong.
    I keep seeing things coming from the ‘House of Ideas!

  2. That’s great news, defiantly something Marvel should really consider doing. Hopefully soon.

    Here is just a list of ones I would love to see;
    The Inhumans (centered around Black Bolt ofcourse)
    Red Hulk
    Penance (can even show how the New Warriors get blown up)
    Cloak and Dagger
    Power Man and Iron Fist
    Moon Knight
    Union Jack
    Blazing Skull
    Dark Hawk
    Black Panther
    Any of the Heralds of Galactus
    Jack of Hearts
    Black Knight
    Ronan the Accuser
    Beta Ray Bill

    • Great list

      You forgot NOVA ;)
      that helmet rocks!

      • Would love to see a Nova\Quasar short film, maybe set during the Annihilation Wave. Personally never enjoyed reading anything Nova related up until the Annihilation Wave hit.

        • Also, if they could maybe center something around the Watchers, Celestials, The Beyonder, The Stranger, The Inbetweener, and pretty much anyone that is on a cosmic level power, I would be a very happy man. Just to see anyone of those cosmic guys in action would be awesome.

  3. I WANT A GAMBIT (sans X-men) MOVIE! AND I WANT IT NOW!!!!!!!!


    would also be acceptable.

  4. I want to see a Luke Cage and Iron Fist short film and hopefully a full movie.

  5. Deadpool.

  6. An R-Rated Moon Knight would be pretty sweet!

    • Great idea… and they can introduce Night Nurse at the same time – so hot!!

    • If they do I want Black Spectre\Bushman to be in it.

  7. why not do a minie series, or a series instead of shorts. Think Stars, HBO, Showtime, FX, or Cinemax.

  8. Black Panther

  9. Marvel has enjoyed a good run at the box office lately but they’re not exempt from releasing a few lackluster movies that featured secondary characters who were probably doomed out of the gate – most notably the Daredevil spin-off, Elektra.

    @Ben……I have a real problem with your example here because BOTH of those movies were made by Fox, NOT Marvel. I get the fact that the average movie goer has no idea that when they see “Marvel” at the beginning of the movie that doesn’t mean it’s made by them. We here however know differently. ;)

    I do believe though that of the IPs that Marvel DOES own, their track record vs Foxs (and the other studios) is much better. (keeping in mind that Spiderman, Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider are also NOT Marvel).

    Ironman 1-2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor (and probably Captain America) are ALL good to excellent movies. So in my book Marvel is batting about 850 while all the other studios combined are only batting around 300.

  10. GAMBIT!!!!! We need a gambit movie. Yes we also need a PROPER Xmen movie with gambit in it.

    If not…. Then we need a Black Panther movie.

    Black Panther
    Fantastic Four (made by marvel)

    And finally we need spiderman to be in the avengers sequel.

    So Marvel needs to spend 2 billion dollars and buy back the rights to spiderman and Xmen

  11. The logistics of what some of you want would be a nightmare. Im just referring to the backend and deals.

    With the way Marvel (at least) is going in the direction with SH movies people are chomping at the bit to be involved.

    So lets say we want to get a character out there to gauge the publics interest.

    While the public love the 15/30 min SuperStupendous man short what is the guarantee that that same cast and crew (to include writers etc) can make a 90 min movie?

    Not to mention the money and agreements to be made with that same cast and crew.

    I think they should regulate it to TV (cable obviously) doing a monthly segment up to 2hours. Call it Marvel Presents:

    Ther si no rule that states you cant have a 1 hour MK one month with a 1 hour Luke and Danny then next month combine them into a 2 hour team up.

    I just think the flexibility of cable lends it best to this format. Maybe even setup a movie using the same crew based on the monthly segments ala Serenity/Firefly (yes I know it was the same story essentially however they used the same cast etc.).

    • Honestly people who read comic books seem to vastly over estimate the practical side of making live action versions of some characters. Some comic book characters are obscure even among those who read comic books so the amount of time and money they put into certain ideas really needs to be tempered with some common sense. Throwing over 100 million dollars into a comic book character that might not have even sold enough books to make it worth printing is clearly a crap shoot.

      The cable idea is actually a very good way to go and since they have a studio set up and money behind them it might be a better way to go with some characters. You look at some of the things on pay and basic cable nowadays and it is really not a foregone conclusion that it can’t be done well and be successful. A rotation of characters would be a practical way to go and given the fact Marvel stories took place primarily in New York City having characters interact would not be that hard.

  12. After The Avengers, Marvel could use an extended after credits scene for each new movie (IM 3, Thor 2…) to introduce new characters, such as The Punisher, Dr Strange ect…

  13. I have to say i like how Marvel Studios are playin it safe for their own good. Thing is, cant they make some sort of deal with Fox to use characters from the X-Men franchise so it would allow not only allow them to use some characters from those films but more characters from the X-Men comics aswell to choose from? Something can be done im sure between the two studios that could benefit each other. Not sure it’s a good example but Fox & Paramount teamed up to make Titantic & that film turned out to be big. Just a thought.

    • @Wally West, yeah it can be done. Its just greedy execs. who don’t want to share profits and don’t want to deal with all of the red tape and paperwork but it most surely can be done.

  14. This actually seems like a great idea this way we the fans know ahead of time which characters they plan to butcher & which ones will be pretty descent to see in theaters :D

  15. I do like the idea of using shorts as advertising during the end-credits.

    I disagree though about Marvel running out of triple-A supers, or that this type of genre film is winding down. I believe it’s the economic times we’re in and that’s all.

    One thing I do wonder about though is the need for a lot of cash to make a good picture. And I wonder this because, lately, the movies that have been appealing to me have been off-the-radar indies. I’d be curious to see why they appeal to me because I don’t know — less cluttered? They are doing something right. Perhaps this is where “profession critics” would be useful.

  16. Sweet Christmas!!!I would love to see a Grindhouse/Blaxploitation version of Power Man and Iron Fist in a short film. With music by James Brown, Isaac Hayes, etc., this would be a great way to introduce the Heroes for Hire to the general public while giving a tip of the pimp hat to Old School Marvelites.

  17. How ’bout Marvel Studios do a Nova short just to stick it do Warner Bros. for the abortion that was Green Lantern?

    • I could see Zac Efron portraying a young Richard Rider. If it was well received, maybe Marvel could fill in the back story the following summer

    • I enjoyed Green Lantern very much! It was a great popcorn movie. I couldn’t fault anyone’s acting. The story was more exciting than any of the other DC movies I’ve seen to this point IMO. So, I disagree with your opinion on that.

      However, if a short film has any value, it is a good marketing tool for insiders. We, outside of the box, have very little opportunity to watch them. As a joke, Jack Black did a very funny Spider-Man short. A quasi-fan, film student did an impressive Dick Grayson short, which I would have loved to see someone up there run with. These barely cracked public awareness.

      So here’s the question.. what could Marvel gain by making shorts?