In addition to their franchise and tentpole films such as Spider-Man, Avengers, and Iron Man, Marvel is looking to develop some of their lesser-known characters for movies with lower budgets in the $20-$40 million range. Currently, Marvel is taking meetings with directors regarding B-list characters such as Luke Cage, Dazzler, Ka-Zar, Doctor Strange, and Power Pack.
I am hugely in favor of this idea. First of all, there is a greater chance of one of my favorite heroes, Luke Cage, reaching the big screen or being in a direct-to-DVD film. Lower budgets mean lower financial risks and an opportunity to take chances. Ka-Zar could be a really graphic action-adventure film. Luke Cage could have some Blaxploitation elements in the film. Heck, Dazzler could be set in the 70s disco era and be awesomely cheesy. As much as I love these characters, I am a realist. None of these characters mentioned really have the name recognition to headline their own big budget, tentpole films. The only property that I don’t want to see take this route is Power Pack. I still dream of seeing a Disney/Pixar animated Power Pack film, but I understand if they go the low-budget route.
I am also fairly certain that this will result in some R-rated superhero films that may one day become cult classics. I could easily see Marvel releasing a low-budget film in theaters or on DVD in the Fall, then following up with summertime, big-budget releases for the known properties. Also, less money at stake may result in better casting. Studios will not have to worry about recouping a ginormous film budget and can take a chance on some unknown or indie actors. I’d like to nominate Michael Jai White for the role of Luke Cage. These films will probably be slated for release in 2013 or 2014. If you’re a fan of the more obscure Marvel heroes, the future looks very bright indeed! I might need to polish up my script for a direct-to-DVD grindhouse-type film starring the Daughters of the Dragon…