Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Punisher: War Zone Teaser Movie Poster

Today I’m happy to post about a pretty cool new teaser promotional movie poster for the upcoming feature film Punisher: War Zone directed by Lexi Alexander and starring Ray Stevenson (Rome) as Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, and Dominic West as the villain Jigsaw. This movie is an official sequal to 2004's The Punisher starring Thomas Jane as the vigilante hero and will be in theaters December 5th, 2008. The fact that The Punisher is now already on his second feature film brings me to an interesting topic, the dramatic rise in fortune of Marvel Comics super hero movies compared to DC Comics films.

Punisher: War Zone Teaser Movie Poster
DC Comics current logoI just can’t get over the different direction the two companies’ movies have gone in in such a short period of time. In the 80’s and 90’s, DC Comics, with its parent company Warner Bros. behind it, ruled the super hero movie landscape with two very successful franchises, Superman and Batman, and a mildly successful syndicated television show in Swamp Thing. Once the Batman franchise deteriorated, so too did DC’s ability to make movies. Back then DC’s affiliation with Warner Bros. was considered a huge benefit to the company and a drawback to Marvel’s ability to get projects green lit. Marvel was then regulated strictly to television where it could only muster a series of made for TV movies including The Incredible Hulk spin-off movies, where the Hulk would team-up with other heroes like Daredevil and Thor, as well as pretty bad Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D starring David Hasselhoff (I won’t even get into the disaster of a flick that was Howard the Duck and the Dolph Lundgren Punisher film).

DC Comics original logoWhat’s amazing now is that what was once a benefit to DC has now become a major nuisance. Having to always use Warner Bros. to develop the company’s movies, when other studios may be better equipped to handle their stable of characters, has become a huge problem. It’s amazing that a studio can have so many well crafted stories handed them on a silver platter and they still seem to screw it up. As it is, Batman seems to be their only stable franchise, with Superman Returns stumbling out of the gate and the many rumored movies centered on Wonder Woman, the Flash, the Justice League and the Teen Titans all stuck in perpetual limbo. In fact, the only movies DC seems to be able to jump start anymore are their non-super hero titles coming from their adult oriented content such as V for Vendetta, Watchmen and Constantine.

Marvel Comics current logoOn the other hand, Marvel has now been dominating DC for over a decade and found a way to utilize their “free agent” status among the big movie studios. Not only that, but Marvel has been able to parlay their success into creating their only studio to move their summer blockbusters in house and reap a larger portion of the profits. Because of their success we not only have movies based on their top tier characters like the Spider-Man trilogy, X-Men trilogy, and Iron Man, but have gotten a whole slew of movies centered on the publisher’s second tier heroes like Punisher, Daredevil and Elektra. While many of these movies may not have all been great, they all did relatively well at the box office.

Marvel Comics 1980's logoSince the first X-Men film in 2000, Marvel has made a ton of super hero movies while DC has made three. Heck, in that amount of time Dark Horse Comics has gotten two Hellboy films in theaters and Image now has Wanted coming this summer. All in all, as a DC Comics fan this is really disappointing. I just can’t figure out what DC’s problem is. Super hero movies are at an all time high in popularity and yet DC seems stuck in neutral. How hard is it to write a great script for a Green Lantern or Aquaman movie? The first thing Warner Bros. should have done after the success of Entourage two years ago is get an Aquaman movie into theaters ASAP. Instead, I’m sure we won’t ever see the Wonder Woman or Justice League films that have been in preliminary production for months. In the meantime Marvel is pushing head with movies focusing on other second tier characters such as Ant Man and the Black Panther. This is just another reason why Marvel seems to dominate the comic book sales chart month in and month out, because they know how to satisfy their fan base. Hopefully DC will get their act together soon before it is too late and the super hero craze dies out.
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