Monday, June 29, 2015

4 Reasons Why Super Heroes and Disney Appeal to Adults


I saw Avengers 2: Age of Ultron a couple of weeks ago. Based on the sales, I’m not the only one. I thought it was great. I loved the first one too. Also, I’m 40.

I listen to the Adam Carolla podcast regularly and he often laments about how the majority of movies for adults today are based on comic books and other nostalgia. His point is that our parents never clamored for these types of movies at the age we are now.

He’s mostly right, but why is that? It doesn’t seem odd to me that I still follow many of the shows and interests I had as a kid, but I can’t remember my parents doing the same thing.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and here are my ideas why movies with superheroes, the Muppets or other Disney characters still appeal to us.
Photo Credit: "FROZEN" (Pictured) OLAF. ©2013 Disney. 
All Rights Reserved. Jorge Figueroa (Flickr) License

1. Access to the content

To say that my parents didn’t pay attention to things they enjoyed as kids isn’t completely true. I still remember my dad enjoying the Three Stooges, the Little Rascals and Bugs Bunny. The difference is that we were limited to pretty much only watching what TV showed and when.

Now we can watch our favorite shows anytime on YouTube or Netflix. The Internet has blown everything wide open. Part of the reason our shows continue to survive is that we still can watch it…anytime we want.

2. Stories have continued to grow and are compelling

Especially with superheroes, the stories continue to grow and evolve. Comic books continue to create new compelling stories with our favorite heroes which extend to TV shows and movies.

In addition to the stories themselves improving, the technologies to bring those stories alive have grown. Special effects have brought new interest to watching superheroes. Movies and TV are able to bring the stories to life in ways that weren’t possible years ago.

3. Top actors seek these roles

The success of superhero movies, and even Disney movies and The Muppets, appeal to today’s top actors. Bottom line is that these movies make money, so actors want to be in the movies. It’s not lost on these actors that many of these films end up with multiple sequels. They can make a career out of these movies. The movies are already popular, but now the star power perpetuates that popularity. Steady, well-paying roles in movies that become hugely popular. What’s not to love?

4. Marketing for shared appeal

It used to be that movies would want to appeal enough to adults so that they could bring their kids to a movie and not totally hate it. But now, they’re not just tolerating the movies, they more excited than them to see it. It’s a shared experience like never before. They create quality family time and an ability to connect on a common experience that they all love. How many of those are out there?

In some cases, shows and movies are marketed directly to adults. The latest Muppet Show premiering on ABC this fall is being billed as an "adult" Muppet Show. Changing from the '70's variety show to a documentary style with side interviews similar to The Office. The first ads for Frozen featured Olaf and Sven and were targeted to males 18-24. 

When will this trend fade out?

With so many superhero movies planned up until at least 2019, can they withstand a burn out? It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I believe the big hero movies will be safe (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, probably Batman and Superman and any movies that combine these big names). However, Marvel is planning quite a few movies of lesser-known heroes, such as Ant Man and Black Panther. Time will tell if they’ll be surprise hits like Guardians of the Galaxy due to big stars, compelling stories and massive effects. Or, will the studios reach a little too far and usher in their own demise (to put in in superhero terms)?

Add the new Star Wars movies, more Disney/Pixar movies and comic book TV shows coming next season and there will be plenty of content available. 

I say as long as the movies are well made and tell a smart story, then continue making them. The trend will end as the movies and shows get lazier. But, until then, I’m enjoying it. And, keep making them in Cleveland!

What do you think? Are you enjoying these movies? Where do you want to see this trend go? What are you still waiting to see? Tell us in the comments.


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