The 2014 Box Office and Superhero Domination
Issue: Volume 37 Issue 6: (Nov/Dec 2014)

The 2014 Box Office and Superhero Domination

The year 2014 has brought us some impressive films, particularly those falling into the visual effects and animation categories. Some were originals, stories that were debuting on the big screen for the first time. Some were the second (or more) installments of earlier, well received properties. Some generated quite a lot of buzz and dollars, while others simply held their own.

We encountered transforming robots and dinobots, and will again see realistic dinosaurs come to animated life in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Biblical scenes were re-created using CGI, resulting in an epic flood (Noah) and the parting of the sea (Exodus: Gods and Kings). Creatures big (Godzilla) and smaller (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) graced the silver screen this year. There were fairy-tale characters (Into the Woods, Maleficent), and those of legend (300: Rise of an Empire, Dracula Untold). And some were fictional warriors from a futuristic dystopia society (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, The Maze Runner).

The storylines and genres provided a smorgasbord of entertainment for all tastes. Yet, one dish that seems never to tire audiences is the superhero. Of the top 11 earners at the box office for 2014, five are based on characters from comic books. When Spider-Man swung into movie theaters in 2002, who would have predicted that he would still amaze viewers with his super feats more than a decade later? This year, he was joined with a host of other superheroes. The ragtag crew from Guardians of the Galaxy - including the all-CG characters Groot and Rocket - hold the top spot as of this writing.

Coming in at number two for the year is Captain America, thanks to his heroic performance in The Winter Soldier. While the X-Men have made a number of movie appearances, their digitally altered appearances in Days of Future Past propelled the film to the year's sixth slot for domestic box-office take. Spider-Man, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, grabbed the eighth ranking for 2014. And, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles maneuvered to number 11 for the year.

The trend of comic-book heroes saving the box office has occurred for the past few years. In 2013, Iron Man (Iron Man 3), Superman (Man of Steel), and Thor (The Dark World) dominated the top 12. And, in 2012, The Avengers (Marvel's The Avengers) and Batman (The Dark Knight Rises) were the top two domestic grossing films, followed by Spider-

Man (The Amazing Spider-Man) in seventh place. Internationally, Iron Man 3 holds sixth place on the all-time box-office list, trailing Marvel's The Avengers, which is in third place.

You get the point. And so, too, does Marvel.

Marvel and Disney have been enjoying a successful partnership, and one that will continue. Recently, Marvel Studios revealed Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, featuring fan-favorite characters and several heroes that will be making their big-screen debuts.

Next year (2015), The Avengers will make another appearance, in Age of Ultron. They will be joined by newcomer Ant-Man in a film with the same moniker. In fact, The Avengers will be busy fighting crime and box-office competition, with appearances in 2015, 2018, and 2019. Captain America is scheduled for another film in 2016, while the Guardians of the Galaxy will have an encore performance in 2017. Thor will return, as well, in 2017. Meanwhile, a handful of other comic-book characters will spring into action, hoping to top the charts alongside their hero brethren. 

No matter your preferred genre, get ready for a super time at the movies.