Legendary director Steven Spielberg has revealed that it’s his opinion that the superhero genre will soon go the way of the Western and fade away when its cycle ends.
With superhero films slated for at least the next decade for studios such as Marvel, Fox, and Warner Bros., it’s interesting to hear that Spielberg has such strong feelings about the genre leaving us.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Spielberg says, “We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns. Of course, right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving.”
He continued, “I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture. There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.”
He’s not crazy to think that the superhero movie cycle will end at some point, possibly sooner than we even expect. There’s often a feeling of “oh, another superhero sequel” when news comes from WB or Marvel, but as of now they’re still popular and making boatloads of money.
The director has said this before, along with friend and Star Wars director George Lucas, who both feel that the superhero genre has run its course and they hope to see new genres become popular again.
One thing he’s right about is Westerns being so prominent for so long, and then it almost being impossible for anyone to get a Western to do well. Actor/director Kevin Costner has tried to keep Westerns relevant, but even when they’ve been a critical success, they never make money at the box office (essentially making them irrelevant to studios).
When superhero movies stop making over a billion dollars a film, maybe that’s when we’ll start to see a new genre pop up. For now, it looks like Spielberg will be waiting a bit until we go through about 25 superhero films over the next few years.
While there are some bad superhero films, many of them are still exciting and draw huge crowds. That, in the end, is what a studio aims for, and is also what many moviegoers hope to see. We look forward to seeing how the superhero genre pans out over the next five to 10 years, it should be an interesting ride.