Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Since its inception in 2008 with the release of Iron Man, Marvel has had smash hit after smash hit with its Cinematic Universe comprised of 18 released films, six still in production, 11 TV shows on the air and three still on the way. While this has been a huge milestone for both the comic book genre and the studio, the same can’t be said for DC, whose Extended Universe is still struggling to catch up in a fast way.
Beginning with 2013’s Man of Steel, the DCEU has had a rough go at theaters from both critics and audiences, as four of the five films released have earned very low reviews from both ends of the spectrum for poor writing and over-reliance on special effects. The one glimmer of hope amidst the films so far has been 2017’s Wonder Woman, which earned praise for both its change in tone from previous DCEU films and the performances from its leads Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.
But despite their being a continued large fan base in DC films and comics, Marvel continues to win at the box office and in the reviews, begging the question just how do they do it? A recent study conducted by market research site ZappiStore might have a straight answer.
Using facial and emotional recognition technology, the study analyzed subjects watching trailers for both companies’ films and found that the viewers connected much deeper to the Marvel trailers than the DC trailers. The consensus among the viewers seemed to be that they held a higher respect for Marvel and the way they’ve treated their characters over the years versus the constant reboots and re-imaginings of DC characters.
Ernie Collings, a research architect for ZappiStore, said those behind the study were “surprised” to learn that audiences didn’t really care as much for “set pieces and special effects” as much as the development of the characters onscreen. Collings also notes that fans of DC characters find the continuation of characters on both the big and small screens, such as The Flash, very tiresome and improper.
After the large success of Wonder Woman, DC did stumble again with their latest Justice League, which still earned better reviews than the majority of the previous entries, but still received a lot of criticism for plotting and poor portrayals of the characters. Fans hope for a return to quality filmmaking with the next entry in the universe Aquaman, which is set for a December release.