It’s pretty common, in nerd circles, to be annoyed that DC and Warner Bros. can’t seem to get it together for a Wonder Woman movie. And it is annoying; if Superman can be boringly invincible and make $750 million, Wonder Woman will probably make the same amount of money.
But there’s also a double standard that most nerds seem to be ignoring, and needs to be called out: Namely, why Marvel isn’t buried under the same amount of vitriol for not delivering a Black Widow movie. Because as bad as DC is, Marvel, in this respect, is a whole lot worse.
To turn a common nerd meme on its head, stop and consider this: The talking raccoon is getting a movie before a superheroine gets a stand-alone movie. Marvel has hemmed and hawed about it, and has been since 2010, but it’s not on the schedule, and it’s not likely to be. And there’s no justification for that, at this point.
This isn’t about the character; to be honest, I’m not a particular fan of Black Widow. But the numbers speak for themselves that essentially an Avenger is an excuse to mint money at this point. Thor: The Dark World grossed nearly a third more than the original Thor. Before The Avengers, most of Hollywood was surprised Captain America: The First Avenger grossed slightly more overseas than in the US, because movies aimed at American audiences don’t do well overseas, for obvious reasons. Yeah, Captain America: The Winter Soldier made nearly double what it grossed in the US overseas, and was a bigger hit worldwide than in the US. And Iron Man 3 made $1.2 billion, doubling the already enormous $600 million gross of Iron Man 2.
By Hollywood math, a Black Widow movie shouldn’t be a “possibility.” It should already be filming. The formula of Avenger plus movie star name recognition equals ridiculous amounts of cash is fully established.
It’s true Marvel doesn’t want to pay Johansson millions when they can pay Evans and Hemsworth peanuts. But honestly, paying out a few million more than usual seems like a small trade for what could potentially be another billion-dollar franchise. And yet, nobody in fandom, not even the people angry over the lack of a Wonder Woman movie, seem interested on calling Marvel out on this. There aren’t a lot of good reasons for Marvel to leave a boatload of money on the table, and yet that’s exactly what they’re doing.
DC has an excuse; it’s a crappy excuse, but it’s an excuse. They don’t know how Batman Vs. Superman and Justice League are going to shake out. Movies go in cycles and audiences might burn out on superhero movies pronto considering the overload we’ll see in the next few years.
Marvel does not have that. They have potentially yet another massive franchise on their hands, and they’re not taking it. It’s time fans started asking why.