The landscape of movies has undergone some major changes in the past decade, a lot of which were only accelerated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures briefly making the theatrical experience difficult, there’s been a lot of speculation about when and how things could get “back to normal” — and if they were even destined to to begin with. In a recent appearance on The Movie Business Podcast, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige addressed that conversation, and took a more optimistic outlook.
“I was talking to somebody, and I will not namedrop, but I was on a Zoom with a group of people and I sort of shared this, ‘Is it gonna go away? Is the movie business gonna go away?’ And this very smart person said, ‘It’s not.’ He said, ‘It’s gonna take a few years,’ and this person said three years, and this was almost three years ago [around 2020]. [They] said, ‘It’ll take about three years to get better.’ And I thought, ‘That’s horrible. I want it to take six months to get better.’ And this very smart person turned out to be right.”
“But this person also said, I’m not a sport fan, but this person said, ‘Look, anybody can watch any football game they want on television. But every week, hundreds of thousands, millions of people still go into stadiums in freezing cold, in the rain, with a ton of people, driving, parking, overspending for a beer and a hotdog, because that shared experience is necessary for humanity. And that if one day, you start to see stadiums empty at sporting events, then you can start worrying about theatrical. But, that’s not gonna happen, because you need this shared experience.’ So, my prognosis for the future is very positive, and there’ll be lots of change and lots of disruption, but people still wanna be in a theater, and cry, and cheer, and laugh together. And you’re seeing that this holiday season and hopefully we’ll see it continue to build and grow next year. It’s incredible and I’ve seen quotes that people present about the fall of theatrical, thinking, ‘Oh yes, this is a new hot take.’ And then you realize, it’s from Variety from July of 1928.”
Will Secret Wars end the MCU?
The ongoing debate over superhero movie fatigue comes after the confirmation that Marvel is working on an Avengers: Secret Wars movie, leading many fans to wonder if that multiverse-shattering story could end or reboot the MCU altogether, and how that might coincide with a sort of “superhero fatigue” felt by audiences.
“I’ve been at Marvel Studios for over 22 years, and most of us here at Marvel Studios have been around a decade or longer together,” Feige explained in the same interview. “From probably my second year at Marvel, people were asking, ‘Well, how long is this going to last? Is this fad of comic book movies going to end?’ I didn’t really understand the question. Because to me, it was akin to saying after ‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘Well, how many more movies can be made off of novels? Do you think the audience will sour on movies being adapted from books?’ You would never ask that because there’s an inherent understanding among most people that a book can be anything. A novel can have any type of story whatsoever. So it all depends on what story you’re translating. Non-comic readers don’t understand that it’s the same thing in comics.”
“There’s 80 years of the most interesting, emotional, groundbreaking stories that have been told in the Marvel comics, and it is our great privilege to be able to take what we have and adapt them,” Feige added. “Another way to do that is adapting them into different genres, and what types of movies we want to make. I found that if we tell the story right, and we adapt them in a way that the audience still — knock on wood so far — is following us along 22-plus years later… we can [make] any types of movies that share two things: the Marvel Studios logo above the title and a seed of an idea from our publishing history.”
What do you think of Kevin Feige’s new comments about the theatrical experience? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!