Can Superhero Movie Spin-Offs Catch On?

Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
 The FIRST time Rhodey got a solo spin-off.
G-Man gave me the head’s up to this Tweet from Pajiba which asserts that a War Machine solo spin-off movie is in the works and that the project’s currently “being pitched to writers.” This is still just a rumor, of course, but I think the idea of it’s enough to warrant a discussion, especially given the lingering talks of Black Widow and Deadpool solo movies. He wonders if these project, if they go through, might end up pushing things a bit too far. He also wonders if any movie spin-offs have ever actually gone through, in any genre, and the only ones I can honestly think of are the strange FUGITIVE spin-off U.S. MARSHALS (which featured Two-Face, Iron Man and Blade in the same movie!) and, of course, THE SCORPION KING.

When it comes to entertainment, I’m of the opinion that habits - - both those of the producers and the consumers - - never actually go away; they simply change form. So, like I said way, way back in my very first Comic Vine editorial, I don't think it's a coincidence that the Best Buy shelf is resembling the spinner rack more and more. What manifested in the smaller arena of the comics business will eventually manifest in this bigger multi-media arena, guided by the same "invisible hand" of demand. So, while we may look at all of this as an extension of comics right now, kids who are growing up on the stuff now are going to perceive it as something sui generis. They'll fall into the same habits we have without even being aware of the antecedents.  

In simpler terms, spin-off comic movies popping up shouldn't be a surprise, because spin-offs happen so often in comics that readers rarely even notice them anymore. == TEASER ==

 Was this a spin-off movie, or just X-MEN 4?

What exactly defines a spin-off is tricky, anyway. Was the WOLVERINE movie a spin-off of X-MEN or, for all intents and purposes, X4 in the same way that the next Jack- Sparrow-centric PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is basically just the fourth entry in its series? Would a DEADPOOL movie be a spin-off of a spin-off? Going back farther, would you consider any Wolverine title a HULK spin-off simply because of how he debuted in the 70s? Is the Punisher a spin-off since he started off as one of Spidey's villains? What it comes down to, I feel, is whether the character’s got enough conceptual weight to stand on his own. You might think that, say, Pyro is awesome as a supporting character in X2, but would you want to see an entire movie about him? When there was talk about a WEREWOLF BY NIGHT or movie, I wasn't sure how it could work, as that monster's basically just the wolfman in the Marvel universe. Take him out of that, and... he’s just the wolfman. 

Anyway, I think the real answer is that these spin-offs will come out as long as the demand is there. And, getting back to what I was saying about habits transferring, you've already got an example of a field where the demand superheroes, and all their spin-offs, hasn't diminished  for decades.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS! &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

#1 Posted by sora_thekey (8149 posts) - - Show Bio

If we think about it, you could say that the 2012 Avengers movie is just a spin-off from Thor, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and Captain America. 
Elektra was a Spin-Off from the Daredevil movie.  
 
Spin Offs work, they just have to be made from the correct character. I think a spin off for Black Widow could work because she is her own character in the movie with her own unexplained origins and past mysteries. 
War Machine would be hard to pull off since his Super Hero origins were in IM2, and it's hard to see him away from a cast of characters already established as a joint group (ie. Tony, Pepper and Rhodes)

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#2 Posted by rlmay3 (256 posts) - - Show Bio

I think an important factor that decides a spin-off's success is whether it's truly stand-alone or building off of what was already established.
 
For example:
@sora_thekey said:

"War Machine would be hard to pull off since his Super Hero origins were in IM2, and it's hard to see him away from a cast of characters already established as a joint group (ie. Tony, Pepper and Rhodes) "
This would be an example of one that could easily flop because so much of the appeal of Iron Man is RDJ's performance. While Cheadle did a great job of stepping into a pre-established role, I'm not sure he could really hold his own or bring anythign we haven't already seen. Not to mention, establishing a villain that is specific to War Machine might be difficult since so far the IM villains are after Tony. Wolverine tried to establish itself as a stand-alone, but it really couldn't hold it's own.
 
Because Deadpool can function completely free of anything previously established in movies, I think it has a far greater chance at success. Likewise, Black Widow doesn't have to be a summer-action movie, but can function as more of a spy-action movie. Because they can really break away and be there own story, they seem more likely for success IMO.
 
Also the only other movie spin-off I can think of is the Ewok Adventure. Not quite a resounding success, although it apparently got an Emmy.
#3 Posted by Thunderscream (1809 posts) - - Show Bio
@sora_thekey said:
Elektra was a Spin-Off from the Daredevil movie.   Spin Offs work
Electra? I got Electra for Xmas 3 years ago and since then it's been in the card-board box of shame. What an awful, terrible, wispy-fluff, blahgittyshpluck of a movie. 
Wolverine could've been awesome but ranks about as high as Lava Girl & Shark Boy for me. 
A War Machine movie would just be redundant, another guy in neat-o armor. I'd rather see a Squirrel Girl flick.
#4 Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme (315 posts) - - Show Bio

A Venom Or Deadpool movie would be nice

#5 Posted by baker1skter (163 posts) - - Show Bio

For some cases, yes a spinoff could work. It just depends on the character. For war machine,i dont think so, hes too similar to ironman. I mean not for a comic nerd but lets face it these Marvel movies have a larger audience then just us. I don't know it would be that successful, and may be confusing to others thats don't have a comic "background". The Ironman franchise too well known and has such a large audience, thats what people would be expecting.
#6 Posted by fACEmelter88 (607 posts) - - Show Bio

I must admit Electra was a great piece of cinema.....................ok it was painful

#7 Posted by Gylan Thomas (2727 posts) - - Show Bio
@baker1skter said:
" For some cases, yes a spinoff could work. It just depends on the character. For war machine,i dont think so, hes too similar to ironman. I mean not for a comic nerd but lets face it these Marvel movies have a larger audience then just us. I don't know it would be that successful, and may be confusing to others thats don't have a comic "background". The Ironman franchise too well known and has such a large audience, thats what people would be expecting. "
This guy said what I was gonna.
#8 Posted by ComicCrazy (1537 posts) - - Show Bio

Eh I'm not sure what can be called a spin off and what can't but I know that some things like the War Machine movie or the Venom movie I don't want to happen.
#9 Posted by theiconic (924 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gylan Thomas: i disagree  war machine is far diff , he's a soldier  tonys a biz man  not a soldier, look at war machines firepower  and his own movie would clips iron man if it has a team like ironman did!  has to have  great writer , directing, actors, effects, movie score  simple plot such as  war machine vs ultron would do...bring in hank pym...add doom...one more cameo  say...banner....man u know how much money that movie would make?!!   now picture other spin offs with such caliber
#10 Posted by NightFang (9810 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the spin-off could work, if done right but Marvel has proved me wrong 3 or 4 times now.

#11 Posted by Mediant (329 posts) - - Show Bio
@sora_thekey said:
" If we think about it, you could say that the 2012 Avengers movie is just a spin-off from Thor, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and Captain America..."
I guess you could say that, but really the Thor and Captain America movies are largely happening at all as a way to establish them for the larger property of the Avengers film. It's like a reverse spin off (spin-on?), where the smaller parts are creating a larger whole rather than the other way around. 
This is part of what really excites me about the Avengers movie: I've never before seen multiple established characters with their own films combine (crossover) for a group flick.
#12 Edited by ArtisticNeedham (2218 posts) - - Show Bio

I think some spin off movies can work, it just depends on the character.  To me War Machine wouldn't work as a spin off, he is just another Iron Man.  He is too similar to the other character whose movie he came from.  I know James Rodes (spelling?) is a different guy than Stark is, but he wears a suit of armor just like Stark's Iron Man only painted different and with some more weapons.  His differences, to me, aren't enough to warrant a spin off.  
 

Iron Man 2 Poster

A character like Wolverine could have worked in a spin off if they didn't mess up the script and force several unnecessary characters into the plot.  A Robin movie could work, a Nightwing movie perhaps, a Supergirl movie could work or a Catwoman movie could work but they would have to have good scripts and be done right. 
Another character that wouldn't work as a spin off to me would be the Green Lanterns, you couldn't do a movie about Hal and the Green Lanterns and then do a spin off about Jon or Kyle and call it Green Lantern Corp.
You could do a movie about the Avengers and then make a successful Hawkeye movie, or a JLA movie and a spin off for Martian Manhunter or Wonder Woman.
So, for me it depends on how similar the character that might get a spin off is to the character starrring in the movie.  And I guess when its a movie about a team its more likely one of the team members could break away and have a successful spin off.
OK, for example, if Green Arrow got a movie and Speedy was shown in it or the sequel, it would be redundant to give Speedy his own Spinoff.  He is too similar to Green Arrow.
#13 Posted by Soldier zero (250 posts) - - Show Bio

My guess is that a spin-off requires either a very skilled production team or a very recognizable character to work, possibly both.
A Wolverine spin-off from the X-Men movies was a natural prosecution since Logan is one of the most recognizable icons of the Marvel Universe today. This gave the product an immediate possibility to be recognized and appreciate by the great public (aka thos who don't read comic books on a regular basis).
On the other hand a decent probuction team, especially one that knows the character, is needed just to make things right. Elektra might have been a recognizable character, but the overall work of the production, starting with the awful script, killed the project even before the release.
 
Now as much as I love War Machine - he's probably my favourite Marvel character - I don't think that a spin-off based on him could work, because Jim isn't that recognizable for anyone outside the comic book community. While the casual reader might know him from a couple of issues, or remember him from Iron Man 2, the details will probably be too fuzzy to allow a quick definition of the character.
More than that, Marvel just made a major mistake in the past, the horrible script/execution of Elektra and Wolverine killed a lot of the casual fans' interest for spin-off movies, making them too risky.

#14 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

spin-offs work for movies the same it does for a comic book or a t.v. show.  If its written well then it'll be good.  If it's not then it won't. 
#15 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

As usual as spinoffs are in comics, they don't tend to work well on screen.
Most of the times they end up quite cheap or silly...I mean movie spinoffs..

#16 Posted by Gylan Thomas (2727 posts) - - Show Bio
@theiconic said:
" @Gylan Thomas: i disagree  war machine is far diff , he's a soldier  tonys a biz man  not a soldier, look at war machines firepower  and his own movie would clips iron man if it has a team like ironman did!  has to have  great writer , directing, actors, effects, movie score  simple plot such as  war machine vs ultron would do...bring in hank pym...add doom...one more cameo  say...banner....man u know how much money that movie would make?!!   now picture other spin offs with such caliber "
We know this because were comic fans but the general public probably wouldn't see it that way.
#17 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

Elektra....... That all I need to say.....

#18 Posted by Norusdog (203 posts) - - Show Bio

I love War-Machine but a spinoff movie for him will not work.  To the general movie goer he's just Iron Man with more guns and a different paint job. 

#19 Posted by DarkSyde79 (214 posts) - - Show Bio

Spin-offs can work if the character is rich enough and engaging enough to demand a sequel. In a lot of ways, I never understand why they do these spinoffs. Where do they get the idea that the public is clamoring for a Deadpool, Electra or War Machine movie??? Are people tweeting it up, dressing up like them for Halloween/Cons or are they just trying to astro turf some hype for a character that was liked in a movie??? 

#20 Posted by Icemizer (181 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that spinning them off to tv would be a better idea.  Both Highlander and Buffy come to mind as successful transitions from the large to the small screen . Even Terminator might be considered a success as it lasted 2 seasons. This would be a much cheaper alternative than trying to make a feature movie centered around Electra or having yet another failed attempt at the Punisher. Being on tv also gives you the ability to throw out other characters that you might spin into their own series or the ultimate goal spinning them up into their own movie. 
Characters like Moon Knight, Hawkeye, Batwoman, and the Question would be excellent candidates for the small screen, but not the big screen.
#21 Edited by Catastrophic (312 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe a War Machine movie could be an darker/R-rated version of Ironman? Think of an The Expendables type of scenario, where War Machine is sent to take down a dictatorship, assisting the soldiers in that war. Put in some Paul Verhoeven or Saving Private Ryan, level of gore. I would watch that movie. Maybe they can put in some *nuclear missiles about to be launched to the US* type of scenario too. 
 
Edit: How about another idea, where this time, the dictatorship above, managed to keep Tony hostage and demands *insert typical rogue nation demand*. So War Machine is sent by the DOD trescue Tony as he is considered a valuable asset to the military. With that, we can keep War Machine relevant at the same time, sticking with the Ironman roots.
 
Then again, I'm one of those bastards that watches Commando too many times. lol.

#22 Edited by The Impersonator (4899 posts) - - Show Bio

War Machine and Black Widow solo movies could work since they have their own comic book series.

#23 Posted by daredevil21134 (10579 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Impersonator:
War Machine dosen't as far as I know

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