Comic book movies have always been popular. Show more Show less
Comic book movies have, with few exceptions, always been box office hits. The recent boom in comic book movies is simply a result of studios being more willing to make diverse superhero movies with characters other than Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman.
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Comic book movies have long been popular, they just haven't been very successful
Over the last couple of decades, nothing has really changed to effect whether comic book movies are popular or not. Rather, Hollywood has finally perfected the formula for a good comic book movie after decades of minor successes.
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From Superman (1978), to Batman (1989), to Blade (1998), comic book movies have always been popular, they just haven't always been perfect. Comic book movies have spent a lot of time coming up with the perfect formula for an adaptation to the silver screen, and they have only recently perfected it. Through many decades of trial and error, comic book movies have seen their fair share of failure as well. From overly campy takes on the Dark Knight, to excessively dark depictions of traditionally upbeat and honest characters like Superman, comic book movies have had time to see what works and what doesn't. This, in part, is what allowed Christopher Nolan to make what is considered to be the gold standard of comic book movies, The Dark Knight (2008). Comic book movies are so successful because they have had time to fail. Hollywood has learned from its mistakes and come to understand how to best adapt these characters to the silver screen after years of trial and error.
While comic book movies have had decades to perfect the way that the source material is adapted to the silver screen, this doesn't account for the extent to which comic book movies are successful today. The James Bond and Indiana Jones franchises have both had decades to perfect their craft, but neither are anywhere near as successful as the comic book movie industry.