Guardians Of Their Galaxy: Marvel Continues To Rewrite The Book On Taking Chances

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Marvel Studios latest venture, Guardians Of The Galaxy, continues to rake in more and more money (it’s currently the highest grossing movie of the Summer of 2014 and it currently sitting on a mountain of over $280 million domestic and another $270 million foreign). Not only did it pull off a stunning victory in the Bagged And Bored Cast Summer Movie Blockbuster Bracket Buster, people cant seem to get over how Marvel took a multimillion dollar risk on a little known comic book property that paid off in a big way. But this story isn’t anything new, in fact Marvel wrote the book on this....
After years of farming out the motion picture rights to their properties, in 2006 Marvel took the initiative to start doing things in house after the rights to armor clad superhero Iron Man lapsed back to them due to New Line Cinemas trouble getting a film started. With their new Marvel Studios production house up and running people of course called the doom of the project before it started. There was no way an Iron Man film could preform well, as audiences just weren't familiar enough with the character to drive in droves to the theater like they did with Spider-Man, X-Men or uh... Blade?
Marvel powered through the production and the nay-saying with the Jon Favreau helmed film which provided a grounded and updated origin for weapons manufacturer Tony Stark. Rounding up a stellar cast of Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow, Favreau set the tone of the film by allowing his actors to adlib and breath life into the characters, creating a different type of comic book film that had never seen before. Audiences responded as Iron Man brought in over $585 million dollars that year, as Marvel set forth working on the Incredible Hulk (a psuedo-sequel to the under performing Ang Lee film) as well as Iron Man 2.
 width=With the success of Iron Man, not only did Marvel Studios have the financial means to start doing more films but also the clout and growing name brand recognition to bring stars and filmmakers on board, and importantly the feet to the seats. Each subsequent Marvel film continued to draw on the comic books rich history of characters with Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Captain America appearing all leading up to the release of what many believe would be the ultimate Marvel movie: The Avengers.  An unforseen thing happened at this time though, out of seemingly nowhere in 2009, the Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 Billion dollars. Whereas a corporate buyout of this magnitude usually seems to be done to get rid of competition, one only has to look to Disney's $7.4 billion purchase of the Pixar brand to see that once Disney puts it's money behind something it's because they believe in it and the properties ability to bring in more money. Even with the continued box office success of the Marvel Studios offerings, people still wondered would the Avengers be successful? Nothing like this had ever been attempted in film before, bringing together characters from separate films that existed in a singular universe. Well thanks to the B&B Time Machine we now know that yes, the $1 Billion in ticket sales that Avengers did should have been enough shut-up  money to silence anyone speaking out about Marvel's ability to get people to the theater.
With a desire to continue to up the ante, at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con International, Marvel not only announced sequels to proven franchises Thor (The Dark World) and Captain America (The Winter Soldier) but also first movies for the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. Once again, the nerd chorus rose up and asked "will Guardians of the Galaxy perform?" some of that discussion could even be heard on the Bagged And Bored Cast. But the fear was real, while Marvel was considered to be taking on a risk with Iron Man all those years ago, at least the character had some name recognition, the Guardians were a group of heroes who had trouble keeping their own book in publication. While Avengers had four characters with multimillion dollar movies behind them, Guardians had a talking tree and raccoon that audiences hadn't met before.
With concerns over the characters as well as the out there director James Gunn (best known for Slither and Tromeo And Juliet) who had been tapped to helm the film, Guardians seemed to be a recipe for disaster. Ultimately though the movie turned out to be just the shot in the arm that the summer movie season needed. The picture continues perform week after week, and at  San Diego Comic Con 2014 (three days before the films opening) Marvel announced the start of pre-production on the sequel to Guardians, surprising everyone and no one at the same time.
Marvel can now use its track record to show that it knows what it's doing. They take risks and against all odds they seem to pay off, but every success draws more and more attention to the next film coming out. Will this be Marvels first failure? With Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Captain America 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on the horizon more gaze seems to be turning towards the next two unproven films in Marvels slate:Ant-Man and the heavily rumored and hinted but unannounced Doctor Strange.
Ant-Man seems to be the main draw of fire with it's struggles like "they're made for this" director and co-writer Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World) stepping up, starting and then leaving the project, rumored script problems and rewrites and then 3 supporting actors leaving during production. While none of this sounds the deathknell for the film will the behind the scenes drama cause too many problems for the movie? Or are we too busy continuously thinking about the risks that Marvel is taking to trust them with what they're doing?

About the Author

Christopher Roy

Christopher Roy

When not spending his time doing stuff for Bagged And Bored, Chris works towards his dream of becoming a modified shovel racer. Let him know his dream is dead:

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