MarvelBlog News for December 17th, 2023
North American movie audiences have already forgiven Marvel for an inconsistent 2023.
I’ll explain in this week’s MarvelBlog News.
The Most Anticipated Movie Is…
Remember how a bunch of websites spent the past month writing off the MCU as a relic of the past.
Yes, people wrote about the Marvel brand like it was a curdled bottle of milk that’s been sitting in your fridge long enough to qualify as a science experiment.
In reality, the explanation is as simple as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania wasn’t very good, and few were interested in The Marvels.
I can say this with confidence because a data point suggests that movie-goers have already entered forgive-and-forget mode.
Fandango just performed its annual survey of the Most Anticipated Movies of the upcoming year. Guess what finished first…and fifth.
Yes, two Marvel titles, one of them a part of the MCU, are among the top five movies coming to theaters in 2024.
The fifth-place selection is the third Venom movie, which is part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe.
Venom won’t debut in theaters until November 2024, but there’s already enough awareness of it that the movie topped Dune 2 in the voting.
Other selections in the top five include Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Beetlejuice 2, and the Dune sequel.
As for first place, I probably don’t even need to tell you, as I think you can guess.
Yes, the answer is Deadpool 3, the film the entire industry hopes will save Hollywood next summer.
Fans Still Love Marvel
Notably, this is the second consecutive year a Marvel movie has topped Fandango’s list.
Last year’s Most Anticipated Movie was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which, as we recently discussed, turned into Marvel’s most profitable film this year.
So, Marvel and its corporate owner, The Walt Disney Company, should feel confident that the MCU will claim at least one blockbuster next year.
Meanwhile, Sony should feel confident that Venom 3 will perform in the same general range as Venom: Let There Be Carnage did.
Of course, none of this is set in stone. As we learned in 2023, movies that look good on paper don’t always excel at the box office.
Still, I had to laugh that just a month after everyone threw dirt on the MCU, audiences turned around and said, “I can’t wait to see Deadpool 3!!!”
Marvel Settles with the Ditko Family
Here’s some Marvel news that will make all of us happy.
None of the MCU stories we love would exist without the work of a few creators who kept the company going throughout its early days.
Chief among those content icons was Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man, Iron Man and Doctor Strange, among others.
Suffice to say that Marvel’s history would play out much differently if not for Ditko.
I mean, how would Avengers: Endgame have even worked without those three characters in particular?
Some reporters maintain that Marvel only survived its 1990s bankruptcy due to the popularity of Spider-Man as a revenue-generating brand.
That’s why we all felt uncomfortable when Ditko’s family filed termination papers against Disney, the owner of Marvel.
The family asked a court to authenticate termination notices on all the characters Ditko had a hand in creating.
In other words, Marvel would have temporarily lost the use of all of them.
Then, Disney would have faced a bidding war for the reacquisition of the rights to those characters, a negotiation it wasn’t guaranteed to win.
Thankfully, after nearly two years of discussions, the parties have reached an agreement to maintain the current status quo.
Disney has paid the Ditko heirs an undisclosed sum. This news comes after a deal earlier this year wherein Disney settled with other creators from Marvel’s early days.
We don’t know how much Marvel paid yet, but this agreement ensures that Marvel keeps its rights to its characters for the foreseeable future.
All the action this week occurred on Disney+, as several Marvel titles garnered headlines.
First, Disney+ suddenly removed a Spider-Man animated cartoon.
This move happened without any warning, which makes me wonder whether it was Ditko-related.
Anyway, you can no longer watch Spider-Man the Animated Series on Disney+. I have no idea whether this change is permanent or not.
Streaming services often shuffle content in and out, but Disney has recently emphasized its acquisition of new Spider-Man programming on Disney+.
For that reason, the move seems odd. However, we won’t wait long for another Spider-Man animated series. Another is coming in 2024.
Formerly known as Spider-Man: Freshman Year, this Disney+ original series has changed its name to Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
While Spidey has long gone by that moniker, I’ll miss Freshman Year. It organically set up future seasons as Sophomore Year and so forth. Ah well.
In other Disney+ news, we’re getting animated MCU series set in Wakanda.
Marvel used a sneak peek at What If…? season two, which starts next week, as an excuse to reveal the new program.
Coming soon, we’ll watch Eyes of Wakanda, which promises to tell the stories of various Wakandan warriors searching the planet for Vibranium.
We will apparently learn Okoye’s origin story during this series.
While Marvel didn’t announce anything official, the prevailing belief is that this project has been underway for quite some time.
So, we may get the show in 2024, although the frequent delays on What If…? season two and the Spidey series underscore how nothing is set in stone.
Finally, here is the new holiday trailer for What If…?
Doesn’t that look spectacular? We’re less than a week away from the first episode!
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