Back in October, I posted some thoughts about a movie being proposed to be based on George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards books (http://perrynomasia.blogspot.com/2011/10/wild-cards-movie.html). In that article, I thought some about what causes superhero movies to be a success and postulated that the movie either had to be a character that is widely known or have a big-name star to pull the audience in. To support this hypothesis, I went to a box office Web site, Box Office Mojo, and looked at the top 10 and 40-50 domestic grossing superhero movies of all time. I also lamented my inability to see the list based on numbers adjusted for inflation.
Well, Box Office Mojo recently upgraded their Web site, and now we can see the list based on adjusted inflation figures. The list reads as follows:
The Dark Knight
Iron Man 2
The two that fell out of the list were X-Men: The Last Stand and Hancock, to be replaced with Superman and Batman Forever. I think this more accurate list strengthens my hypothesis about the audience for superhero movies. Again with the exception of the Pixar movie—and I think it could be easily argued that Pixar acts as a big name for theatre-goers and promises good entertainment, the characters in the list are limited to Superman, Batman, Spider-man, and Iron Man. And I think Iron Man is there because of Robert Downey, Jr (how many people who don't read comics regularly know much of anything about Iron Man?).
These more accurate numbers also increase my confusion about why anyone makes comics movies and makes me wish I knew where to do research about the thought processes behind movies being greenlighted. It'll be an interesting case to follow if Wild Cards actually does get filmed.