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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Is Superhero Movies Poll a Concern?

 by Ray Keating



August 6, 2022


Disney continues to go all in on Marvel superhero movies, with Kevin Feige recently announcing Phases 5 and 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For good measure, Warner Bros. Discovery, amidst controversy over its cancellation of Batgirl, is pointing to a 10-year DC superheroes plan.

At the same time, Morning Consult released a poll of American adults on whether or not they enjoy superhero movies. The title of the survey piece was “Superhero Film Fatigue Is Up From Last Year — Even Among Marvel Fans,” and it naturally grabbed online attention. But what are the key points from this poll?


First, in July 2022, 59 percent of adults said they enjoyed superhero movies, compared to 64 percent in November 2021. Those that do not enjoy superhero movies went from 36 percent in November 2021 to 41 percent in July 2022.


Second, among Marvel fans, those who enjoy superhero movies declined from 87 percent in November to 82 percent in July, and those saying they do not went from 13 percent in November to 18 percent in July.


Third, while this move in a negative direction warrants watching, it also must be noted that the poll has a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. That means that each poll percentage can be as much as two points higher or lower. So, the changes in survey results between November and July just barely lie outside the margin of error, meaning that the relatively small changes cited might actually be even smaller.


Fourth, Gen Z adults were the only age group that had a larger share saying that they enjoyed superhero movies, going from 47 percent in November to 53 percent in July.


So, what can we really take away from these results? Even with a small move down between November and July, superhero movies remain highly popular with the public. However, no one in the superhero movie business should simply rest easy with these results. 


But I doubt that the slight move down in polling is about so-called “superhero film fatigue.” Instead, it has to do with the quality of movies. After Avengers: Endgame in 2019, the Marvel movies have fallen off notably in quality. 


The best of the lot were thanks to Sony’s Spider-Man films - Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) in the directorial hands of Sam Raimi. The other four movies – Black Widow (2021), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Eternals (2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) – ranked as middling to simply bad.


It also should be noted that other than Loki, the MCU streaming shows on Disney+ have not exactly been “wowing” many.


In general, movie-goers don’t suffer genre fatigue. Instead, they grow fatigued with uninteresting, forgettable, poor quality movies. That’s the lesson for Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and anyone else in the superhero movie game – indeed, in the movie game in general.




Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.


The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?


Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is Ray’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here


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