The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the rare cinematic universe to succeed, and here is why that may be the case. Marvel Studios started the MCU in 2008 with the release of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. The ending of both set the stage for something bigger, as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) teased the Avengers and Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark then cameoing at the end of the latter. From this point on, Marvel Studios has made 23 films in total and shows no signs of slowing down.
Not only did Marvel just announce their Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con, but they are riding high off the record-breaking success of Avengers: Endgame. The movie brought an end to the Infinity Saga, was praised by critics and fans alike, and most recently passed Avatar to become the highest-grossing movie of all-time. All of this was possible because the MCU has yet to have a film that is critically destroyed or financially unsuccessful.
This success has unsurprisingly seen other studios attempt to copy the shared universe, but the MCU is the only one that has truly worked. So, how is Marvel Studios routinely able to succeed where other studios have failed? That's the basis of a new Screen Rant video, which also dives into what Marvel can get away with that other franchises may not. But, the reason for the MCU's continued success might be because of these four staples to their model: finding the right director, a stable MCU core, challenging the formula, and cultivating customer curiosity.
While Marvel doesn't have a perfect track record in hiring directors (they've let Edgar Wright and Patty Jenkins walk from projects after all), they have made stars out of previously smaller names. Jon Favreau, the Russo Brothers, James Gunn, and Taika Waititi are all significantly bigger names now, but they still bring their own creative juices to their MCU films. But, many MCU directors have never had a budget or the resources before working with Marvel. In order to help them out, Marvel traditionally pairs them up with other people behind-the-scenes who have experience in the Marvel machine.
But, that machine mostly pertains to the production of these films, as the MCU has been able to change up their movies consistently. Tapping into different genres and tones have helped make this possible, but they've also surprised audiences with the direction of the stories. Instances like the Snap or Spider-Man: Far From Home's shocking post-credit scenes immediately spark the curiosity of viewers. Of course, the latter may no longer come to fruition now that Spider-Man is leaving the MCU behind, but the point still stands. As long as Marvel Studios can continue to operate under the guidelines mentioned above, then the MCU should remain successful for the foreseeable future.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022