Though it's easy to have forgotten over the last few years, the superhero genre was not always the incredible success that it is today. Other than a few scattered hits like Batman in 1989 and X-Men in 2000, superhero and comic book films were largely a disappointment both at the box office and in the eyes of critics. They werent popular, couldnt be counted on to make money, and were mostly looked down upon by the rest of the industry. However that all changed with the release of Spiderman in 2002. Armed with a great script and crisp directing from Sam Raimi, Spider-man shrugged off the cliché and camp that had previously defined the genre and blew away expectations at the box office. Spider-man ended up making over 400 million in the U.S. and over 800 million worldwide - including 147 million in the opening weekend in the U.S. - and that changed everything. Today the genre accounts for close to 10% all movie tickets sold in the United States and that market share is even higher internationally. Stand-alone movies have turned into franchises, franchises have become cinematic universes and now this formerly ridiculed genre is considered one of the safest bets in Hollywood. Nothing lasts forever though, and there are more than a few tell-tale signs that the genre is starting to come apart at the seams. Then again, there are also some suggestions it's got a long way to go yet.