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Why Marvel Studios Succeeds (And How It Will Fail If It Doesn’t Diversify)

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Guardians Of The Galaxy just enjoyed a very successful weekend at movie theaters, taking home around $94m, far in excess of expectations. The movie also stands at 92% positive reviews on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, joining all previous Marvel Studios movies in receiving predominantly favorable notices.

Marvel Studios is doing very well. In six years and ten movies, it has avoided both critical and commercial disasters, and frustrated naysayers who hailed the demise of the superhero movie at every step. Marvel's rivals at Fox, Sony Columbia, and Warner Bros, have enjoyed commercial success as well -- but not with the acclaim, consistency, or proliferation of Marvel. So how does Marvel do it, and can they keep doing it?

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Katee Sackhoff Teases Secret Marvel Film Role – UPDATE: Nevermind She Tricked Us

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Rumors have been flying since last fall that Battlestar Galactica and Longmire star Katee Sackhoff would be taking on the mantle of a Marvel Comics superheroine in a movie role soon, with Captain Marvel being the obvious -- and fan-endorsed -- choice.
Now, Sackhoff has all but confirmed that she's working with Marvel on...something, though her cryptic Tweets have raised some questions about just who she'll be portraying. See if you can decipher her clues below.

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We Are Groot: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Celebrates Heroes With Authentic Psychological Deficits

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Leagues and legions of superheroes are usually effective as a direct result of the union of each member's unique abilities, whether they include super-human strength, lightning-speed, telepathy, or other powers that individually define each of them as a deserved hero and collectively create an unstoppable force.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, we're introduced to a band of outlaws, outsiders and outcasts. With the exception of some sweet dance moves and decent marksmanship, we don't immediately get the traditional introduction to the colorful rainbow of superpowers we're accustomed to with superhero teams. There's no amazing, no fantastic, no spectacular. The Guardians themselves refer to themselves as "losers" and the "biggest idiots" in the galaxy. They underperform or fall below normative expectations. In fact, these space misfits offer something rarely seen in superhero films: the Guardians show emotional, neurological, developmental and communication deficits that 1) are not expected to be resolved or cured at the end of the film and 2) do not make them ineffective as heroes.

The following is a conceptualization of each character's below-average functioning across some psychological dimensions and why these deficits do not create significant limits for them.

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Report: Sony Planning A Woman-Led Superhero Movie In The Spider-Man Franchise

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As fans debate what superheroine should get a solo movie from Marvel Studios, it would appear that Sony is looking to beat the Disney superhero factory to the punch using a Marvel character.

According to a Deadline report, Sony Pictures is planning to release a movie in its Spider-Man franchise led by a woman, though it's not clear which character will be front-and center. The movie would see release in 2017.

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Vanilla Ice Thinks The New Ninja Turtles Rap Lacks ‘The Magic’

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Despite all efforts to stop it, there's a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie produced by Michael Bay set to be released this week, and to its credit, it is attempting to recreate the single most successful and memorable moment from the Turtles' film history. We speak, of course, of Vanilla Ice's classic "Ninja Rap," an unquestioned high point from TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze.

This time around, the tune they're going with is "Shell Shocked" by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and Ty Dolla Sign, a song that has found a critic in Vanilla Ice himself. When asked by GQ what he thought of the new song, Ice was dismissive of the song, claiming that it lacked "the Magic" to musically represent what it means to be a "True Ninja."

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Thanos is Really Bad at Being a Supervillain

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We first met the cinematic version of Thanos in 2012 -- his face smiling at us during a mid-credits sequence of ‘The Avengers,’ there to let us know that this guy is the mastermind behind the whole operation. OK then! Eventually we learn that Thanos is trying to collect the Infinity Stones, because if he has those, he will become a god. Fair enough. Though, now, after ten movies in the Marvel cinematic universe – ten! – Thanos has a grand total of zero Infinity Stones. So far, Thanos is terrible at being a supervillain.

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Marvel Arranges Private ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Screening For Rocket Raccoon Co-Creator Bill Mantlo

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A huge number of people turned out to watch James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy this weekend, but one viewer was deservedly treated to a special private viewing. Bill Mantlo, the writer who created Rocket Raccoon with artist Keith Giffen for Marvel in 1976, was visited by Marvel executives and shown the movie at the care facility where he lives.

As we've reported previously in our Guardians Of The Galaxy coverage, Mantlo was the victim of a hit and run accident in 1992 that left him in need ongoing care and rehabilitation. His family has struggled to cover his medical bills, and fellow writer Greg Pak and others have helped solicit donations to support the Mantlo family.

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Comics Alliance Roundtable: Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman Costume For ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice’

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One of the most discussed news items from last month's Comic-Con International was the first look at Wonder Woman as she will appear in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the new DC Entertainment film by Zack Snyder. Played by Gal Gadot, this will be the first cinematic appearance of William Moulton Marston's Amazonian princess and feminist icon in her nearly 75-year history, and naturally fans have had a lot to say about the portrait debuted in San Diego. In reaction to the image, members of the ComicsAlliance staff assembled to discuss and critique Gadot's costume, depictions of super-women on film, and the current state of superheroine fashion in general.

Today's participants include CA's superheroic sartorialist Betty Felon; clinical psychologist and Arkham Sessions co-host Dr. Andrea Letamendi; comic book editor Janelle Asselin; journalist Juliet Kahn; comics writer/artist Kate Leth; and blogger/vlogger Angelina L.B. aka ALB, who makes her CA debut in this in-depth analysis. Join us for our roundtable discussion on Wonder Woman's newest live-action steez, high heels, and the balance between practicality/realism and style in superheroine costume design.

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Warner Bros. Celebrates 75 Years of Batman With Exhibit And VIP Studio Tour [Photos]

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Considered one of the foremost motion picture and television production facilities in the world, the Warner Bros. Studios lot in Burbank, CA invites visitors to celebrate the 75th anniversary of DC Comics’ Batman with a special exhibit in their VIP Tour. For a limited time, tour-goers are given an opportunity to view dozens of original costumes, props, gadgets and vehicles from all seven live-action Warner Bros. Batman films, and ComicsAlliance checked it out.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy: A Star (Lord) Is Born [Review]

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Director James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy is a big gamble for Marvel Studios. It's an unknown quantity even to most comic fans. It's a space opera at a time when non-Lucasfilm space operas don't perform well. It's a movie with a talking raccoon at a time when even Disney princess movies don't have talking animals.

Of course, all of Marvel's movies have been gambles. Iron Man wasn't a household name, despite how we think of the character now. Thor was a sci fi fantasy movie -- what could be worse? Captain America seemed an impossible sell for overseas markets. Bringing those franchises together for Avengers? Insanity. Marvel Studios' safest bet was probably Hulk -- a household name and a proven quantity -- and that's been the studio's weakest performer. So it looks like the big gambles are where Marvel excels. If Guardians Of The Galaxy is the studio's biggest gamble to date, it makes a weird kind of sense that it's also one of the studio's most delightful successes.

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