Mamo #380: Yo, Megafranchises!


With the Ghostbusters III news and the release of Yo, Dracula!, Team Mamo has a look at the major studios’ race to construct their own Marvel-style megafranchises – with widely varying odds of success.

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Sean Kelly

Matt Damon is 44. Not far off from 50.


Well I’ll be glad when the mega-franchise business model becomes untenable.

I honestly don’t see how Marvel movie 4 phase 2, can be exciting to the fans or the creative people involved. Here is Marvel Studios output:

Iron Man 1-3
Captain America 1-2
Thor 1-2
Guardians of the Galaxy

I get that from a business perspective Marvel is doing well. From a fan of movies perspective, how many of these films are worth revisiting?

I’m much more excited to see creative people working on original projects than pieces of a mega-franchise.
I also don’t know what constitutes a mega-franchise. A cross-over style event movie? Because Disney has been able to market their Disney princesses from classic 2D movies (and now Frozen) extremely well.

That has been a cash cow for them for a long time.

Matthew Price

Multiple 1-3 character films that build towards larger multi-character films is how I would tend to think of a mega vs a regular franchise. Bond is a regular franchise, the Uni horror reboot is Mega. And everybody else wants in on that, which is the problem exactly as you put it. Outside of Marvel/SW it’s not clear anyone else can do it, and even if they do they’ll just have to do it again. And again.

Robert Reineke

Well, WB/DC could do it. Certainly Arrow/The Flash seem to be successful implementations of the model on a tv scale, not to mention the Dini/Timm animation model, although we’ll have to see if they can pull it off on the big screen. That said, I think Affleck has shown he’s a pretty smart filmmaker and all indications are that he’s throwing his weight around.

Otherwise, I agree that other studios are forcing things. It’s like everybody has forgotten the lessons of Alien vs Predator or Freddy vs Jason. You can plan all the connections you want, but you have to have a quality story to make it work.

And there’s still the risk of overexposure. Star Trek went through this phase previously, Generations was something of an event back in the day, and at a certain point they ended up spinning their wheels.

Even with Marvel/Disney, how confident are we really about Ant-Man and Doctor Strange? And is a young Han Solo movie starring someone other than Harrison Ford really going to excite people?

Dan Gorman

Chiming in on the design discussion: I dig the overall skew towards simplicity much more than the previous re-design. Not a huuuuge fan of the vertical-style branding on the left – though that could be something I personally am not into. I usually like a smaller branding at the top, above all of the content, but that’s just me.

Also, are there no clickable tag/categories on the posts? I can’t seem to see them and I’m not sure if I’m going mad. But usually clicking on a tag for a post is how I quickly filter, instead of say expanding the menu and finding the MAMO post category in the drop down, etc. I suppose clicking on the author could be a potential substitute, though. Maybe including it in the author line, like “By [Author] In [Category]”?

Andrew James

There are certainly more categories in our database other than those found in the drop-down in the upper right (such as “Star Wars” or “upcoming films” or “TIFF 2012”. However, the ones listed above are the ones most used these days. I can easily add another drop down with all categories included in about 2 seconds. In fact, have a look – it should be there now.

As for tags, they cluttered up the bottom of the post with words and links – I didn’t think anyone actually used tags for searching a site – to me they are mostly used as meta data. But we can add them in again if people actually use them. How do you use them? If we tag a post with Sigourney Weaver, do people typically click the Sigourney Weaver tag to find more posts about her? In that case, I recommend using the search function in the upper left. But I’d be genuinely curious if and why people use post tags.

Thanks for the input.

PS – the branding will be tweaked soon enough – gotta find some time though.

Andrew James

Instead of a full listing, I added a tag cloud and a category cloud to the sidebar. I still would prefer not to have tags displayed for each post if I can help it. It’s a bit cluttered – unless I can figure out a way to “hide/display” them.


The categories are still there in the database and are up in the top right. we are still using them currently, and that should accomplish a quick filter.

Tags are also being used, but currently are not set to display in posts, we are working on it.

Rick Vance

I think the comment about spectacle running dry is true and also happens in all art forms and then people go in one of a few directions.

-Keep watching what they have been content with what they are getting.
-Look for sophistication(this can mean a bunch of different things depending on the art and the part of it) in the place of pure spectacle.
-take breaks and jump around between different forms of entertainment

There was something else in there about comics but I forgot what it was and don’t think it was that important.

Rick Vance

Also it can not be forgotten that at the core these are things typically designed for younger audiences, and its the Japanese Comic market of the 50s that really nailed this.

You make the stuff for kids and then as the kids age you make new material to follow them because you will continue to get more kids and if it catches enough you have their comics market today which covers every demographic and interest you could think of.

In that sense that could be the plan for blockbusters, I mean spectacle may peak for a certain group of people and then by the time they swing around again it will peak for another group.