Is superhero fatigue a real thing? Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe in trouble? That depends on who you ask. But according to one of the Russo brothers — directors of most of the most successful Marvel films including Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, the company’s recent box-office woes have nothing to do with an oversaturated marketplace or audience fatigue.

Instead, Joe Russo told GamesRadar the issue lies in something even more fundamental to movies as a whole: “A big generational divide about how you consume media.”

As Joe Russo put it...

There's a generation that's used to appointment viewing and going to a theater on a certain date to see something, but it's ageing out. Meanwhile the new generation are 'I want it now, I want to process it now’, then moving onto the next thing, which they process whilst doing two other things at the same time. You know, it's a very different moment in time than it's ever been. And so I think everyone, including Marvel, is experiencing the same thing, this transition. And I think that really is probably what's at play more than anything else.


READ MORE: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked From Worst to Best

Are generational tastes changing? Sure, and they do so all the time.

Still, even if Joe Russo is correct in his assessment that young people want to “process it now” then move on to “the next thing,” that could affect Marvel more than most Hollywood studios. Their whole business model is based on keeping viewers on the hook for the next thing and the next thing and the next; every few months they are supposed to be primed for the next chapter of the story. That’s Marvel Comics’ (and DC Comics) model for their core business dating back almost a century. They offer that endless promise of fun stuff just over the horizon ... which not be appealing to a younger audience who only wants to “process it now.”

On the other hand, audiences’ changing tastes didn’t seem to hurt other recent blockbusters like BarbieOppenheimer or even Dune: Part Two — which was the resolution to a big-screen cliffhanger audiences had to wait several years to get. When there’s stuff in theaters that moviegoers want to see, they still seem to show up in large numbers.

We’ll see how this younger generation responds to the next Marvel movie, Deadpool & Wolverine, when it opens in theaters in July.

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