Doctor Strange Director Explains Why Marvel Movies Succeed

Money is a hell of a sweetener...

Scott Derrickson
Evan Agostini/AP

Ask any angry DC fanboy and they'll tell you that the reason Marvel make loads of money with their MCU movies is a combination of a lack of imagination in Marvel fans, a rigid formula that stifles creativity, pandering, entertainment by numbers and some sort of witchcraft.

There are, of course, morsels of truth in there, but Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has a different take on the Disney model fundamentally. He says it's all about the reward, and that it's not all about money. At least not the way you might think...

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He does have a point: despite those accusations of identikit movie-making and a lack of variation in tone, the reality of the MCU is that they're now making wildly different movies, in different genres and with extremely brave choices as directors. They have a cosmic movie with supernatural elements directed by a horror helmer, an intergalactic roadtrip from a comedy actor, Captain Marvel (god knows what it'll be, but it's a major departure) and the provocatively different Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel.

If you look at any of those - even before release - and claim they're the same as the first Avengers movie, or Iron Man or Captain America, you're probably lying to yourself. And every one of those brave steps towards broadening the scope of the MCU and expanding the tone into different new worlds is precisely because the "safer" choices at the start paid off financially.

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Without The Avengers making a billion, Ant-Man wouldn't have been able to make $500m and still be counted as enough of a success to launch a sequel. So while they might rightly be called a business-driven creative studio, that's not always a bad thing, given that it pays off in more creative dividends further down the line.

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