Marvel Plays Its Riskiest Hand Yet
It’s finally here. The long anticipated first look at summer 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was revealed today and guess what? It looks amazing!
There was some leaked footage from Comic-Con floating online but avoided it. I’m glad I waited. This may be my most anticipated film of Marvel’s Phase 2 which is saying something considering how good Iron Man 3 was, how solid Thor 2 was and how intense Captain America 2 looks. Those other films have plenty of appealing elements but GOTG’s bizarre mix of cast and crew and concept is really intriguing.
Hiring someone like James Gunn could well be a masterstroke. He’s known for his very skewed sense of humour and it looks like this will be most eccentric and unconventional Marvel film to date. I don’t know much about the comics the characters but the idea is fun and the cast is as talented as it is eclectic. This is surely Chris Pratt’s year – the Lego Movie is the biggest film of the year so far and he’s gonna follow-up GOTG with 2015’s Jurassic World. Pratt being cast in the lead is a big reason why I am so hyped for the film. The guy is a standout on NBC’s Parks & Recreation which is saying something as that cast is full of phenomenal talents.
And the rest of the GOTG cast features Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Glen Close (!), Benicio Del Toro, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou and of course Bradley Cooper voicing a racoon with a gun and Vin Diesel playing a walking tree… I told you this one was gonna be a little weird!
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Marvel’s big boss Kevin Feige has talked up GOTG for years as well as his desire to showcase a different cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. We’ve seen plenty of earth set superhero’s (and Thor is practically the same) but this is a very different gamble.
But then, every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a gamble to an extent.
Iron Man featured a little-known character and a star many thought was washed up, Incredible Hulk was coming off the Ang Lee film which polarised audiences, Captain America was a period film and Thor a fantasy film with a supposed c-list hero and an unknown lead. And let’s not forgot The Avengers could have only been the success it was if all of the individual films worked. But this film is riskier than all of them combined!
I love that Marvel has the confidence to pull of something like this and that Disney has the faith in Marvel to do this. Of course that confidence comes from huge success over the past few years. But this is brand building at its best. Thanks to their hard work their global audience loves their product and instead of resting on their laurels they are going bigger and wilder with each step! It’s telling that we will see a talking racoon from Marvel before we see a Wonder Woman film from DC…
Let’s take a closer look at the marketing campaign. I have been a bit surprised / disappointed thus far in Marvels reluctance to show us much considering we are only 4 months away from release.
Looking at past performance Marvel Studios films have started with teaser posters 8 months out followed up by the first real poster and trailer 6 months out. This is then followed up by the now standard montage posters, character posters and final trailers 2 months out.
GOTG has had a very different approach. Even 6 months out we had only seen one image and most of our actual looks at the film were via merchandise imagery – not the best way to introduce new IP.
I also have to question why this trailer is coming out just weeks after the Superbowl. That mega event would have been the perfect launch point to introduce these little known characters to a huge audience and would have built buzz more effectively. Did the likes of Need For Speed and The Muppets really benefit that much by a Superbowl spot? I certainly would have saved the first tease for Superbowl and made it an iconic buzz-worthy reveal.
Although one could say by saving the trailer for later on they get to dominate the social media conversation without noise from other movies. Something which Fox did to great effect with their recent X-Men Days Of Future Past character reveal social campaign with Empire magazine.
Box office wise it’s a tricky one to predict. Yes it’s a big new Marvel IP but it’s also a real unknown quantity. The release date is also curious. Marvel has well established for years now that summer starts with them in early May (which is already pretty early) but in recent years they have tried to extend summer in both directions. They kicked off the 2011 season with Thor (accompanied by Universal’s huge and ludicrously entertaining Fast 5) and this year Captain America 2 opens even earlier in April / Late May. Its one thing to kick things of earlier but can they convince the movie going population that August – traditionally the home of the final sleepers of summers and lesser franchises – is the perfect home for their big new franchise? Time will tell.
In its favour it’s coming out in one of the hardest to predict summers for some time. There are a lot of sequels this season but many of them are long running franchises that may have over-stayed their welcome.
In a summer of uncertain prospects where movie goers are hungry for something new, GOTG has a real opportunity to breakout big.
Summer can’t come soon enough.
Here’s the official synopsis:
An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits — Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand — with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
Are you looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy and do you think it will continue Marvel’s hot streak at the box office so far?
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