Answering an age-old question of who does it best, a new study explores why Marvel Cinematic Universe movies seems to continuously top the DC Comics adaptation at the box office.
The strife between Marvel and DC has waged since the comic book powerhouses were founded all those decades ago. While the bosses behind the scenes may be able to play down the competition, you can walk out onto any street and find a comic book fan arguing their corner for which is the better publisher. Expand this into theaters and there is something of a rivalry between those who prefer Marvel's big screen outings over DC's films, and vice versa.
The MCU is now the highest-grossing franchise of all time (with an impressive $13.5 billion haul), and will only grow bigger this year thanks to Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the might of Avengers: Infinity War. However, a study by tech provider ZappiStore (via Ad Week) reveals why we just can't seem to get enough of wise-cracking Thor, Tony Stark's suave demeanor, and the cocky Star-Lord. Using a facial coding and emotion recognition platform called Affectiva, the company tested emotional engagement with a number of Marvel and DC film trailers, and made a note of the results.
The study found that 78% of those tested were "lovers" of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer (complete with Fleetwood Mac soundtrack), followed by 75% loving Captain America: Civil War. Elsewhere, Justice League scored 71 and Batman v Superman 60. Speaking about the findings, ZappiStore research architect Ernie Collings said the following:
“We were surprised to see, across all trailers tested, that the emotional response was lower than expected for set pieces and special effects, particularly in the genre we were looking at. The results indicate the way DC can reboot and change characters across trilogies or between TV to film might be having a detrimental effect on how well the public connects with those characters.”
It is admittedly a lot easier to get on board with a smiling Captain America than a frowning Superman, but everyone has their preference. Also, with Zack Snyder having helmed a large majority of the DC Films so far - and being known for his particularly dark take on comic books - is this really a fair study?
Interestingly though, while the MCU wins it for emoting to the characters, the viewers were more impressed by the big-budget stunts and action of DC Films as the trailers rolled. However, when you take all this action and put it into a movie, you can end up with the excessive use of CGI that has plagued the likes of Justice League. Even Patty Jenkins' acclaimed Wonder Women was criticized for a lackluster twist and OTT battle with Ares. Trailers often tend to show audiences some of the best bits of the movie, but they are hardly an overall look at the film - so while the MCU arguably does trailers better, it doesn't mean a lot for the finished product.
So, is there anything DC Films can do, or does it even need to? The MCU has its legions of adoring fans that tune in to see the Incredible Hulk pummel Loki, while others would rather see a brooding Ben Affleck doing push-ups as Bruce Wayne. While Justice League may have cost Warner Bros. millions, you only have to look at how well Wonder Wonder did to see that all is not lost. Add to this that Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara has already said copying the MCU won't work for DC, and it is a case of chin up and carry on. With a rejig at the top and an impressive slate of DC movies to take us into another decade, DC will surely continue to do what it does best and learn from its mistakes.
Source: Ad Week
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019
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