The Rise of the Comic Book Movie

Liberty (October):46-47 (2008)
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In this essay, I take up the question of why so many of the movies made by Hollywood are endless sequels, “prequels,” and remakes of prior blockbuster hits and so many are based on comic books (X-men, Superman, Batman, and so on). I tie the explanation in part to the aforementioned 1950 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting production companies, and in part to broader cultural changes. In particular, I argue that precisely because film producers can no longer make money from the concessions (i.e., the purchases within the theater), but only of the ticket sales, the producers keep producing remakes of known popular movies, rather than make deeply original movies.
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