Hollywood keeps cashing in on comics

Marketplace Staff May 4, 2007

Hollywood keeps cashing in on comics

Marketplace Staff May 4, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The summer movie blockbuster season in the U.S. officially kicks off today when Spider-Man 3 opens, but the movie is already a big hit overseas. In Japan the box office take for the premiere beat out the two earlier films in the franchise. Mike Speier is the managing editor for Daily Variety. I asked him just how big could this film be in terms of revenue both here and internationally?

MIKE SPEIER: Pretty darn big. It’s already started out that way and no one thought anything different because the second Spider-Man made more than the first and . . .

THOMAS: But there’s always pressure when you have a good second one right, for the third one?

SPEIER: Absolutely. Now we’re talking quality or we’re talking money?

THOMAS: We’re talking money.

SPEIER: Moneywise it’s just got the right rhythms to it. It opened overseas first, it’s getting that audience. It’s a big event movie. It’s got two weeks to itself in America before another major movie opens. It’s just that kind of film and it’s that kind of popularity and it’s gonna make a lot of money.

THOMAS: A big box office haul pretty much assumes there’s going to be a Spidey 4 doesn’t it?

SPEIER: You’d think so and that’s what happened with number 1 to 2 to 3. While you’d think money would dictate everything in Hollywood — and it usually does — three Spider-Mans might be enough. You don’t really see a lot of 4 movies and these actors might be going different directions. It might be just time to end it because they say three is enough.

THOMAS: Does the success of Spider-Man mean we’ll see even more comic book characters on the big screen?

SPEIER: It seems to be that Hollywood has reached into the comic book trove for all of their kind of movie successes over the past few years. And so I don’t know if you’re gonna see more because a lot of them are already being developed already. What we might see now is kind of brooding characters on the big screen that have to do with comic books. You saw that with the latest Batman. Now with this latest Spider-Man you see Tobey Maguire in a much more sensitive role. So you do see that different kind of comic book.

THOMAS: Aside from the box office haul, how much money are we talking about with comic book films in terms of other things like video games and other tie-ins?

SPEIER: That’s exactly why this is such a big deal for the movie industry. If anything is going to be tied in together with video games and DVDs and kind of the new technologies, it’s the geek world. It just has the right mojo in terms of the people that go to the movies and that also have the technologies like video games where that kind of ancillary revenue can come from.

THOMAS: I gotta ask you, a lot of the reviews I’ve read so far have been sort of C+ to negative. No one’s raved about the movie. Is that gonna slow the momentum?

SPEIER: It doesn’t feel like this is a review-ish movie. People go to this anyway. This is where movie critics really don’t have the pulse of America.

THOMAS: Well I’m gonna see it.

SPEIER: Good, I’ll go with you.

THOMAS: Thanks Mike.

SPEIER: My pleasure.

THOMAS: And in Los Angeles, I’m Mark Austin Thomas. Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend!

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