Superhero films go ‘up, up’, not away anytime soon
By Natalia Ningthoujam
New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Some have speed, flight and strength, others have special suits to take down the big bad guy. It’s the age of larger than life superheroes who save the day, and the appetite for films based on caped crusaders or star-spangled hero or the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is only expected to grow irrespective of the threat of online piracy.
On May 14, trade analyst Taran Adarsh declared the star-studded superhero film “Avengers: Infinity War”, which hit the screens in India on April 27 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, a “blockbuster” as it had earned Rs 213.94 crore (net box office Collection) in the country.
Echoing this, Devang Sampat, Director – India Strategic Initiatives, Cinepolis India, told IANS: “Just talking about the recent release ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, our multiplex in Thane – Cinepolis Viviana, featured as the top collecting cinema for ‘Avengers’ in India across all languages in the first week, earning Rs 12,814,661 followed by Cinepolis Pune (approximately Rs 90,00,000).”
Yogesh Raizada, Vice President, Wave Cinemas, also shared that Delhi/NCR has been getting an encouraging number of booking for superhero movies.
Superhero films have cultivated a huge fan following in India in the last decade and consequently, they mostly enjoy a good box office run, said Ashish Saksena, Chief Operating Officer-Cinemas, BookMyShow.
Among Hollywood, films like “Superman”, “Batman” series, “The Wolverine”, “Spider-Man” series, “Iron Man”, “Wonder Woman”, “Black Panther” and “Avengers” have performed well in India.
“Metro cities and tier 1 towns including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai definitely show an immense appetite for superhero films. However, Hindi and other regional cinema continue to dominate many geographical pockets. This is why, we now see most Hollywood studios releasing dubbed versions of their films to reach out to a wider audience,” said Saksena.
But what makes such films so popular and defeat piracy?
“Superhero films are mostly released in 3D, 4D and IMAX formats, which give an immersive experience to the audience. These films represent something which is larger than life and are coupled with great visual effects, phenomenal sets/locations and ultimate graphic designing which are able to pull the audiences into the theatre,” said Saksena.
“The other reason, of course, is the fact that these films have a large fan following in India and their release is always highly awaited.”
Most of the films in this genre are based on the comics by Marvel and DC.
“Marvel has a bigger fan base in India than DC. Also, the Marvel heroes are larger than life personalities as compared to ‘C’s dark heroes,” Rahul Kadbet, Programming Head, Carnival Cinemas, told IANS.
“Overall, Marvel films tend to do better than DC films because of better presentation and connect, not just in India but across the globe. Marvel has also released a lot more films than DC (nine for Marvel and five for DC from 2015 onwards),” he said.
While the American superheroes get a warm welcome in India, the same can’t be said about Indian superheroes barring Shaktimaan and Krrish.
“In terms of technology, we are way behind making these larger than life movies as also the budgets for these films run into hundreds of crores,” Kadbet said.
Raizada also said: “Superhero movies in India are yet to create a benchmark as the technology used in Hollywood movies is far advanced than Bollywood.”
But they have pinned hopes on Indian vigilante action film “Bhavesh Joshi”, which will release on June 1.
Sampat said: “This film is different from conventional superhero movies. It is expected to do well at the box office.
In Hollywood, “Deadpool 2” is set for this Friday release. It will be followed by films like “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Captain Marvel”.
And so, the trend of making superhero films will continue.
“The fans keep adding and growing and as the franchise grows and as the legacy in the movie continues, so does the fan base,” said Kadbet.
There is an important reason why the stories of superheroes, who have faced tragedies in life and are backed by superpowers, are told.
“I think these characters represent something to everyone who watches the films. You see a certain part of yourself in these films and root for the characters that you identify with,” Joe Russo, who directed Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” with his brother Anthony Russo, told select media including IANS in Singapore.
Sharing an example, he said: “Bucky Barnes is an emo (emotional) character. People who relate to him are passionate. He is very vulnerable. People want to see him succeed and be healed.”
So, continue to get thrilled by death-defying action sequences and inspired by their stories.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])