The other night I was remarking to some friends at how surprised I was that we are already halfway through Marvel Studio’s Phase Two set of films and are just 14 months away from the premier of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Perhaps it was the anticipation of seeing if they could manage what they set out to do with their Phase One films that culminated with 2012’s The Avengers has now turned to excitement to see what will come next that has made the last two years zip by or maybe it has been the studio’s two-films-a-year release strategy, definitely a switch from the usual film-every-couple-of-years schedule we see from other franchises.
But Marvel may be looking to up that schedule to maybe three or even four films a year. Speaking with Badass Digest while doing the publicity rounds for next month’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios maestro Kevin Feige stated that while they currently have two films a year scheduled, a television series on ABC and a group of series recently set up at Netflix, the possibility of expanding their film production schedule to accommodate more demand for their characters is something that the studio remains open to.
I think television is filling some of that now, in terms of bringing out more product. That’s certainly the idea with the Netflix shows. But I don’t know that we will necessarily say “Okay, we’re now moving strategically to three a year, now we’re moving to four a year.” What I think is more likely – if [knocks on wood-like table] the next group of movies work and people want to see additional stories – we’ll have too many franchises and you can’t do one of each franchise every two or three years. We’d have to move to three a year, but that would have to be a natural move if it were to occur. We’d have a [script] draft, we’d have a filmmaker, we’d have a character the audience wants to see – let’s slot in a place for a third one. Or a fourth one.
Right now, Marvel has pretty much announced their release schedule through July 2016, the early part of their Phase Three group of films. So if the studio were to step things up, we wouldn’t see that until 2017 at the earliest. And as we’re seeing Phase Two and Three progress, we’re seeing the studio mixing up things in terms of the number of sequels and new titles that they are introducing. But with the number of projects that the studio states they are developing, I think it is only a matter of time before the do shift to a three-films-a-year schedule.