With Superheroes Slumping, Hollywood Turns to Video Games

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As millennials step into the C-suite and superhero movies come off a truly awful 2023 at the box office, video games are the next big thing

Superhero vs video game adaptations
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, Pedro Pascal as Joel in "The Last of Us" and Sonic the Hedgehog (Credit: Chris Smith for TheWrap)

The superhero genre, once the bastion of bankability for studios like Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony, is in a slump. In 2023, all three of Warner Bros.’ DC films vastly underperformed. Sony’s February release “Madame Web” bombed so hard Sydney Sweeney joked on “SNL” that no one saw it. And even Marvel Studios, which routinely cranked out $700 million to $1 billion-grossing hits, stumbled with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “The Marvels” — both critical and commercial letdowns.

The superhero genre isn’t dead — Hollywood is still investing heavily in the years ahead — but it is wavering, which is causing studios to consider the “next big thing” should the genre go the way of the Western.


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