How Marvel’s Movie Risks Paid Off & How The Studio System Could Stand To Pay Attention To Them

In Steven Soderbergh‘s state of cinema address earlier this week, he remarked that, “Art is a very elegant problem solving model.” He went on to describe his ideal model for a studio: “I think if I were going to run a studio I’d just be gathering the best filmmakers I could find and sort of let them do their thing within certain economic parameters.” Now, the point of his impassioned address, which included such other applicable witticisms as “it’s about horses, not races,” is about what the studios should be doing versus what they aredoing. But there is a studio that has followed his exact advice and it’s not one you would expect: Marvel Studios.

When the comic book movie craze was starting out, Marvel had licensed its characters out to various studios (this happened for a number of reasons, and we refer you to Sean Howe‘s excellent, encyclopedic “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story,” for a better grasp of the hardships that befell the company right before its soaring comeback). Blind vigilante “Daredevil” fought crime in Hell’s Kitchen but was stationed at Fox; rage-choked scientist-cum-monster “The Hulk” was detained at Universal; and “Spider-Man” swung through the urban canyons of New York City but always came back to Sony. After the success of “Spider-Man,” Marvel started to develop the characters that it still retained the rights to (second-stringers like “Iron Man” and “Captain America“), in house. Without the help of a bolt of lightning from Asgard or a radioactive spider-bite, Marvel Studios was born. Click here

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