With 2016 igniting the true comic book movie race, with multiple DC and Marvel cinematic offerings for every year onward, you could be forgiven for thinking 2015 might stray a little on the sleepy side. But, the new year has plenty to offer for comic book films across the board, highlighted by the sequel to the highest-grossing comic book film of all time. And as the industry inches closer to all the projects resting well beyond the horizon, expect a ton of massive announcements to complement those releases.
As the last normal year for comic book films commences, we peek into our crystal balls and call the news and developments that could make 2015 a year to remember.
Avengers: Age of Ultron Will Earn $2 Billion Worldwide
Sequels are always supposed to double the fun of their first installments, so there’s no reason the same can’t be said for box office returns. Avengers blew past everyone’s expectations by earning more than $1 billion back in 2012, and that was before terms like “team-up film,” “Joss Whedon” and “Shawrma” became ingrained in pop culture’s lexicon. Now that the mainstream is just as pumped about the Avengers as the hardcore fans, we expect a blowout opening weekend that will dwarf the original’s. Follow that up with more repeat visitors to the theater, and $2 billion doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.
Sony and Marvel Make A Deal On Spider-Man
At this point, both Sony and Marvel have more to gain than lose by brokering a deal to get Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony clearly can’t settle on a path for the franchise that will please everyone, potentially stepping into another bout of mediocre films that could cost more than they’re worth. Meanwhile, Marvel needs Spider-Man as the crowning jewel for their cinematic universe; the perfect extension to their already-massive list of properties to mine in-house. Thanks to the recent Sony leaks revealing possible deals between Sony and Marvel, the pressure has never been greater for the two to reach some sort of deal. The fans want it, and there’s no denying that Spider-Man, as a character and franchise, would only benefit by going back home.
DC Announces Their Vertigo Slate of Films
DC showed that they’re ready to be Hollywood contenders by finally announcing a cinematic universe of their own. But while a Justice League-headlined slate of films went down on the books, the oft-rumored Vertigo films were nowhere to be seen. Many panicked that the long-gestating Sandman film was being pushed to the back burner for spandex adventures, but Neil Gaiman himself assured fans that Sandman was actually part of an entirely separate slate of Vertigo films, which would receive its own announcement in due time. Now that fans and critics have had ample time to digest the news of a DC Cinematic Universe, 2015 would be the perfect time for Warner Bros. to strike with a follow-up announcement for their standalone Vertigo films. With more than year to go until their next film hits theaters, DC is going to need something to steal some attention back from Marvel.
An Independent Comic Book Film Moves Into Production
This one’s a bit of a wildcard, but some publisher beyond the Big Two is bound to step up and set a firm date for a comic book blockbuster of their own. The sharks certainly smell blood in the water, and are circling fast. Todd McFarlane’s Spawn seems like the most plausible candidate, as the creator teased a concrete direction for the film, along with an unnamed Academy Award Winning actor’s possible involvement. But Image isn’t the only small publisher with Hollywood in its cross-hairs. The resurrected Valiant Entertainment currently has three productions in development: A Bloodshot film from writer Jeff Wadlow and director Matthew Vaughn, Archer & Armstrong by Bendavid Grabinski, and Shadowman by J. Michael Straczynski. As the publisher continues to grow into its third year back in the business, they may finally be ready to enter the Hollywood arena. With adaptations of Mark Millar’s creator-owned works, including February’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, proving that smaller adaptations can work, we’re sure that the rest of the industry will head into 2015 feeling more confidant than ever.
Ant-Man Will Be 2015’s Guardians of the Galaxy
While all eyes are glued on Avengers: Age of Ultron, it seems that almost everyone’s forgetting the other Marvel movie of 2015: Ant-Man. As it stands, Ant-Man has many of the same things going for it that Guardians of the Galaxy did: It’s an unknown property to the masses, it has a comedic lead in Paul Rudd, and it seems to be skewing towards a comedic angle. Some may have balked at this recipe 12 months ago, but Guardians proved it to be a winning formula. Though director Edgar Wright’s departure may have given room for a little doubt in the project, we have enough faith in Marvel that they can still make lightning strikes twice with another B-list comic book property.