The Enduring Power of Real Superheroes

Posted by Tony Bugg on April 14, 2016

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On the back of the premiere of the latest Warner Bros. movie, Batman V Superman, Dawn of Justice, there has been much commentary as to whether or not this movie would live up to the expectation of its superhero predecessors.

In reality, both Batman and Superman have been around since the 1930’s, firstly in comic book format and later as movie franchises. Warner Bros. has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into developing and sustaining these brands to ensure they continue to resonate with consumers of all ages.

Three weeks into its cinematic journey there have been rigorous reviews as to its ultimate connection with the viewing public. (28% on Rotten Tomatoes and 68% user score)

This got me to thinking about how the studios develop these blockbuster movie franchises.  How do they develop and position the storyline and characters within the movies? And as it is rumored this movie cost the studio $320 million USD to produce, what are they looking for in terms of return-on-investment? All publicity is good publicity, as they say – and three weeks in, despite mixed reviews, the movie has already taken in $680 million in the U.S. and $245 million Internationally.

Batman V Superman is obviously the next evolution of the two franchises and is in some way positioned to introduce Wonder Woman, who will appear in the up coming Justice League and Justice League 2.  The power of these great brands pretty much guarantees that, regardless of the reviews, enough people will view the movie to secure its success for the studio.

Then comes the merchandise!

Here in Australia, the movie has netted $13 million in its opening weeks. The toy line was already delivering promising sales prior to the movie’s release. Mass retailer Big W had been planning a retail activation centering around the franchise for the past eight months.

After spending time in the marketplace and particularly in Big W stores, it is clear that, along with their key partners in toys, apparel, dress up, inner and outerwear and bags, they have delivered a world-class concept shop activation. Supported by catalogue and key in-store Point of Sale, this consumer products campaign is set to delight consumers of all ages and deliver great results for Warner Bros., Big W and their strategic partners.

I am sure this is the case in many markets around the world.  It is great when a plan comes together!