Everyone loves superhero movies... at least right now. But, if there’s one thing 2015 has shown us is that there is success to be had, and lots of it, without them. Universal Pictures is having a record-setting year without a single superhero movie on their roster. It’s true that superhero movies have been incredibly successful, but is that sustainable? Steven Spielberg doesn’t think so.

The Oscar-winning director told the Associated Press that he sees superhero movies as a genre that will slowly die out, not unlike another famous movie genre.


We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western […] Right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving. I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture. There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.


And... he’s probably right. The superhero movie boom happened so quickly and with such force, that it was hard to deny and studios fell all over each other to get their piece of the pie. But maybe superhero movies are burning a little too brightly and, as the market becomes over-saturated, audiences will push back, looking for something new. How often can Spider-Man get rebooted before people say enough? (It’s interesting that these comments from Spielberg come on the same day as word that his company, DreamWorks, is preparing to part with Disney, the home of Marvel.)

Pop culture does run in cycles and what works for one generation, doesn’t always work for the next. The Vietnam War essentially put an end to Westerns. Who knows what will spark the same for superheroes, or how long it will take. And even Spielberg admits, that as part of this same cycle, just because superhero movies will die out, it doesn’t mean they’ll stay gone. “It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns.” And on that occasion you’ll be able to take your grandkids to the movies and say, “Back in my day...”


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