Sony Is Harming Superhero Movies In A Dangerous Way

By Jacob VanGundy | Updated

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The past decade of film history has been defined by a flood of superhero movies, creating the superhero fatigue era we’re currently in. While Marvel and DC cut back on releases to restructure and give audiences a break, Sony has filled the gap with one release in February and two more before the end of the year. These releases tarnish the reputation of the genre and disrupt a much-needed break. 

Sony Didn’t Get The Memo

Earlier this year, Kevin Feige announced that the MCU would be cutting back on their number of releases, with only the upcoming Deadpool and Wolverine coming out this year. This willful cutting back by the biggest name in superhero movies demonstrates the industry reacting to fan desire for less frequent, higher quality superhero movies. Meanwhile, Sony is releasing multiple Spider-Man Universe movies in one year for the first time, and quality doesn’t seem to be a priority. 

Madame Web Is A Very Bad Movie

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Sony’s year began with Madame Web, which was a critical and box office flop. The movie, which starred Dakota Johnson as the Spider-Man side character, has been called the worst superhero movie ever made by some. It earned $100 million at the box office, just over its production budget, and received an 11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

When the audience is already complaining about the oversaturation and diminished quality of superhero movies, a flop like Madame Web only heightens the feeling that the genre is in decline. In previous years, such a massive flop would likely have been forgotten as audiences moved on to the next release, but in a year with so few releases in the genre, it’s become emblematic. The movie has become an indictment not of Sony but of the genre as a whole. 

Three Sony Marvel Movies In One Year

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While the upcoming Venom: The Last Dance and Kraven the Hunter could be great, they may contribute to the problem even if they’re hits. A year with minimal releases should revitalize audience interest going into 2025, but Sony’s October and December releases will diminish that effect. If MCU and DCU movies come out in early 2025, they’ll be coming out in the immediate wake of multiple superhero movies, bringing superhero fatigue back into the discussion.

Deadpool And Wolverine Has The Weight Of A Genre On Its Shoulders

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Of course, if those movies are disasters, the effect will be even worse. The current perspective on superhero movies is that they’re overdone schlock, if Sony’s follow-up movies are anywhere close to as bad as Madame Web that will only validate that perception. Even a good showing from Deadpool and Wolverine wouldn’t be able to overcome the negative stigma created if three of the four major releases bombed. 

Sony Is Embracing Superhero Fatigure

Sony has an impact on superhero movies in general but an even bigger impact on the MCU. While dedicated fans may distinguish between the MCU and the Sony universe, casual fans see all Marvel movies as one entity. With low quality and increasingly frequent releases, that association clashes with the MCU’s new “quality over quantity” strategy. 

Superhero movies are in a precarious situation, and while the MCU and DCU are taking steps to adapt, Sony may undo their efforts. When audiences take issue with an entire genre, individual companies can’t overcome those issues alone. A year with multiple movies like Madame Web could spell the end of the comic book adaptation era.