Marvel has made a blockbuster franchise in less than a decade. Marvel had great comics but it was never so big. But over the last one and a half decade, they have delivered 22 films grossing $17 billion with over 84% average Rotten Tomatoes approval rating. Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios has been instrumental in this great turn-around for the franchise and he defined his mantra as trying to keep the audience coming back through unexpected patterns and story twists across the franchise. Marvel is great at experimenting and surprising its audience even after the first 22 movies. The success has not affected the Marvel franchise, if anything; it has made it much better. Lets look at some of the factors that have helped Marvel created this blockbuster franchise.
Select for Experienced Inexperience
Marvel has a technique for picking its directors. While most companies search for individuals with prior exposure to similar projects for all jobs, Marvel has a habit of picking Directors that can bring something new to the table. Apart from Joss Whedon, none of the other 14 Marvel directors had any direct exposure to filmmaking for superhero franchises. Marvel believed that this technique helps them to bring in a new vision into its projects. One of the best examples is Jon Favreau for Marvel’s first movie in the franchise, Iron Man (2008). This led to the popularization of Marvel’s most profitable character, Tony Stark. Marvel has made many such choices for its directors and it has paid off. It is commendable because not many companies are capable of taking such drastic steps.
Leveraging a Stable Core
There is no doubt that Marvel has brought in a lot of new talent and made them famous. But Marvel has a sweet technique for introducing new talent. It doesn’t just throw in the new talent, Marvel tries to carry on some of the characters from past successful movies, hence leveraging on a stable core created by the past blockbuster movies. In fact, this overlap is not limited to its characters, Marvel continues with many of the supporting staff in the movies as well. A stable core exerts a gravitational effect and this enforces the new cast as well.
Cultivate Customer Curiosity
One of the common factors across Marvel’s franchise that has really impacted its success is the ability to maintain customer curiosity and pulling customers to the cinemas. Marvel has created a cult following. It has invoked a great interest in its characters and plotline while compelling the audience to wait for the next movie and then rush to watch the new releases. In fact, the Marvel fans’ desperation can be likened to that of Gamstop-enrolled players who can’t hold back looking for non Gamstop options when the urge strikes! The mysterious endings have been a great concept from Marvel in creating demand for its consequent movies. It has also leveraged the curiosity of its large collection of comic book fans. The success of the franchise has truly been inspirational.
Keep Challenging the Formula
Organizations generally stick to their success mantra and don’t try much new stuff. But Marvel has always challenged its formula and tried to introduce something new. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther are a great example of how Marvel challenges the ongoing success formula and creates something really new and still continues its blockbuster success. Fans love the experimentation and it has now become a unique selling point for the franchise.