Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige speaks out about concerns that movie theaters are dying out

The movie landscape has undergone some major changes over the past decade, many of which were only accelerated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures briefly making the theatrical experience difficult, there’s been a lot of speculation about when and how things might get “back to normal” – and whether they were destined to begin with at all. In a recent appearance on The Movie Business podcastKevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, addressed that conversation and took a more optimistic view.

“I was talking to someone, and I won’t name it, but I was on a Zoom with a group of people and I sort of shared this, ‘Is it going to go away? Is the movie business going to go away?’ And this very smart person said, “It’s not.” He said, “It’s going to take a few years,” and this person said three years, and this was almost three years ago [around 2020]. [They] said, “It takes about three years to get better.” And I thought, ‘That’s terrible. I want it to take six months to get better.’ And this very smart person turned out to be right.”

“But this person also said, I’m not a sports fan, but this person said, ‘Look, anyone can watch any football game they want on television. But every week, hundreds of thousands, millions of people are still going to stadiums in freezing cold, in the rain, with lots of people, driving, parking, overspending on a beer and a hot dog, because that shared experience is necessary for humanity, and that if one day you start seeing stadiums empty at sporting events, then you can worry going to make about theatrical. But that’s not going to happen, because you need this shared experience.’ So my prognosis for the future is very positive, and there’s going to be a lot of change and a lot of disruption, but people still want to be in a theater and cry, cheer, and laugh together during the holidays and hopefully next year we’ll see it continue to build and grow. It’s unbelievable and I’ve seen quotes people presented about the fall of theatre, thinking, ‘Oh yeah, this is another hot take.’ And then you realize, it’s from Variety from July 1928.”

Will Secret Wars end the MCU?

The ongoing debate about the fatigue of superhero movies comes after confirmation that Marvel is working on one Avengers: Secret Wars movie, leaving many fans wondering if that multiverse-crushing story could end or reboot the MCU altogether, and how that might coincide with a sort of “superhero fatigue” felt by audiences.

“I’ve been at Marvel Studios for over 22 years and most of us here at Marvel Studios have been together for a decade or more,” Feige explained in the same interview. “From probably my second year at Marvel, people were asking, ‘Well, how long is this going to last? Is this comic book movie craze going to end?’ I didn’t really understand the question. Because for me it was like saying after “Gone With the Wind,” “Well, how many more movies can be made from novels? Do you think audiences will sour from movies that get made?” from books?’ You would never ask that because most people naturally understand that a book can be anything. A novel can have any kind of story. So it all depends on what story you’re translating. Non-comics readers don’t understand. that it’s the same thing in comics.”

“There are 80 years of the most interesting, emotional, groundbreaking stories told in the Marvel comics, and it’s our great privilege to be able to take what we’ve got and adapt it,” added Feige. “Another way to do that is to adapt them to different genres and what kind of movies we want to make. I found that if we tell the story well and we adapt them in a way that the audience still – knock on wood so far – follow us more than 22 years later … we can [make] all kinds of movies that have two things in common: the Marvel Studios logo above the title and an idea from our publishing history.”

What do you think of Kevin Feige’s new comments on the theater experience? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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