When it comes to the massive growth of the comic book movie universe over the last couple of decades it can sometimes be tough to credit where and when it actually all started. There is debate around which movies or franchises were the most responsible for acting as the launchpad for the billion-dollar industry we see today. Recently, Wesley Snipes started trending with some saying that it was his Blade that should get the most credit for where the comic book genre is today.
This dust-up around Wesley Snipes came after a tweet went out saying that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Hugh Jackman and company’s X-Men were responsible for what we have with the Marvel Cinematic Universe today. This was met almost instantly with a clarification about which movie should actually get the most credit. You can see the original tweet and the response below with a few more details added by way of explanation.
To give some background on this response, one needs to look back to 1996 when Marvel was going bankrupt, filing Chapter 11 that year. It was around then, to save themselves from going completely kaput, that they began selling off the rights to characters and groups within their universe to anyone who would take them. Blade was sold to New Line Cinema a little before this which gave them the jumpstart on putting together a movie with Wesley Snipes in the lead. The film came out in 1998 and was a success for the studio, earning $131 million on its $45 million budget.
It ended up spawning a trilogy of movies with Wesley Snipes leading Blade 2 and Blade: Trinity which came out in the early 2000s. The first Blade movie beat X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002) by a couple of years or more. This timing led to others weighing in on Twitter about Blade being omitted from the list of original productions that helped save the Marvel brand. Here is what some other folks had to say:
While others wanted to even shift it away from Wesley Snipes with another Marvel character who took off during that time:
Overall, Wesley Snipes and director David Goyer ended up turning out more than $415 million at the worldwide box office through its three movies. By comparison, the Spider-Man trilogy took in around $2.5 billion and X-Men’s first three movies were at about $1.6 billion. From a size and scope standpoint, there is no doubt that the latter two more resemble the current form of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But Wesley Snipes began a trend of big-name stars taking on comic book roles to box office success. He most definitely should be included in this discussion.
Blade is set to get a reboot within the aforementioned Marvel Cinematic Universe with Mahershala Ali in the title role now. Wesley Snipes doesn’t appear to be involved with this new story which is a shame considering how he embodied this role early on. But in terms of the success of comic book movies and where they stand in the current movie landscape, there is no doubt Snipes should be mentioned in helping to bring the genre where it is today.