Supermovies: This Is What The Next Few Years Of Your Life Looks Like [Infographic]
The Warner Bros. announcement on Wednesday of ten upcoming movies based on DC Comics properties neatly fills in a calendar of dates that the studio previously provided -- and help flesh out an extraordinary timetable of DC and Marvel superhero movies over the next six years from Warner Bros, Marvel Studios, Fox, and Sony Columbia.
ComicsAlliance's own graphics maestro Dylan Todd put together a timeline that reveals what those six years look like, including 29 confirmed release dates between now and the end of 2020, with several dates and titles still to be announced. For anyone who remembers the days when just one Spider-Man movie seemed an impossible dream, it's an astonishing representation of how comic book superheroes now dominate popular entertainment.
Our timeline makes the assumption that the Warner Bros movies will be released in the order listed in their press release, which seems a safe assumption. We can also assume that some of the "year unknown" movies on the bottom tier, like Thor 3 and Gambit, may eventually be placed in some of the existing slots in the timeline, and that Marvel Studios, Fox, and Sony Columbia will announce further dates in 2019 and 2020.
2014 felt like a bumper year, with five theatrically released superhero movies based on Marvel properties alone -- though none based on DC characters. 2015 offers slim pickings by comparison, with only Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man and Fox's rebooted Fantastic Four on offer, but that's because all four studios in the super-franchise game are gearing up for a sustained push from 2016 onwards. That year will see seven releases, followed by ten in 2017. If the slate seems to trail off thereafter, that's only because fewer announcements have been made for that far ahead. Only Warner Bros has announced any dates for 2020.
Some movies will get added to this timeline; some may change dates; and some may get dropped. While a few major turkeys probably won't bring the superhero movie boom to a dramatic end, any failures could push studios to reassess their strategies. Warner Bros seems determined to keep its characters dark and humorless, which seems to misread the public appetite; Marvel Studios may lose its way if it gets too locked in to established franchises; Sony Columbia is reportedly conflicted about the future of its Spider-Man franchise after Amazing Spider-Man 2 under-performed this past summer; and Fox seems to be taking a gamble on its Fantastic Four reboot.
Yet even with a few changes, we can expect between thirty and forty DC and Marvel superhero movies to arrive in theaters in the next six years -- in parallel with existing and new small screen superhero productions like Gotham, The Flash, Supergirl, and Daredevil.
Of all the movies on this timeline, including those with no release year announced, it's worth noting that only two have female solo leads, compared to eighteen with male solo leads. One of those female solo movies is Wonder Woman; the other is a 2017 movie for Sony's Spider-Man franchise with an unidentified lead. All of the ensemble movies that we have cast information for are also male-dominated.
Two of the solo movies have a person of color as the lead; 2018's Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa, and 2020's Cyborg, starring Ray Fisher. Dwayne Johnson is also one of the leads and thus far the only named star of 2019's Shazam, but he's playing the villain Black Adam rather than the title character.
Marvel Studios' current slate does not include any movies with a female or non-white lead, but Marvel has at least six titles still to unveil for this timeline, and maybe as many as ten. We have to hope the studio is wise enough to put Black Widow, Black Panther, War Machine, and Captain Marvel movies in some of those slots, and maybe a Falcon movie -- or a Falcon-as-Captain America movie -- as well. It's worth remembering that the first theatrically released movie starring a Marvel character to ever earn a sequel had a black lead; New Line Cinema's 1998 movie Blade, starring Wesley Snipes.
With so many superhero movies coming down the pipeline -- some that we might never have dreamed of seeing ten years ago -- this is an exciting time to be a superhero fan. Unfortunately the creators of most of these heroes are unlikely to reap their due rewards from this boom, and the comic industry as a whole will need to be incredibly canny if it hopes to turn some of these millions of movie superhero fans into comic book readers. This is the new golden age of the superhero; but comics are no longer the genre's dominant medium.