The Marvel Cinematic Universe : uncovering the secrets behind its Big Bang
Goh, Si Han
Date of Issue2016
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Eight years since its inception, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the highest-grossing film franchise worldwide in the history of film with a box office record totalling more than nine billion US dollars. Showing no signs of slowing down, the studio even plans to accelerate its production schedule and release three films, up from two, every year from 2017 onwards. While critics have attributed the franchise’s commercial success to the rise of the comic book movie genre, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s exceptional popularity in a market saturated with similar superhero competitors cannot be explained by genre alone. More compelling is the franchise’s shared cinematic universe premise of tying together stand-alone films in the same diegetic world, a rising trend amongst upcoming film franchises across all genres. Through a qualitative textual analysis of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this paper argues that the franchise’s comparative advantage comes from its world-building processes constructing a complete and consistent world that assimilates genre signifiers without disturbing audiences’ conceptual immersion and that is structured for synergistic growth, ultimately leading to the diegetic world’s applications in audience engagement that ranges from the self-conscious management of audience expectations to the transmedia extension of cinematic audience engagement. Concurrently, this case study also demonstrates how world-building concepts can be integrated with an approach to film genre to derive a more effective approach to analysing contemporary blockbuster franchises as the industry shifts towards world-building practices.
DRNTU::Visual arts and music::Film::Criticism
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University