Over the long history of Marvel Comics, they’ve built some of their most memorable stories on “What If” scenarios. What if this character fought this character? What if this universe crossed over with that one etc. So, we posed our own “What If” to the president of Marvel Studios.
We asked Kevin Feige, what if The Avengers was met with the same critical response and box office drop off as Warner Bros. had with Batman v Superman?
Before we give his answer, let’s line these two up a bit. The Avengers was Marvel’s first major attempt at putting their big superheroes on screen together. It came after five movies of lead-up, has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, opened to $207 million and ended up with a domestic gross of $623 million and a total of $1.5 billion.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was DC’s first major attempt at putting their own heroes on the screen together. It came after one movie of lead up, currently has a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, opened to $166 million and has so far grossed $296 million domestic and $784 million total. Those numbers are still going up, but the film is expected to end up around $900 million worldwide.
Let’s be clear about this. Batman v Superman is a massive success. But it’s also not hitting the same level of success as The Avengers. But Warner Bros. hasn’t tapped the brakes—the studio already has Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman coming out, with two Justice League movies starting production right now. So we were wondering: If Avengers had received Batman v. Superman’s critical response and box office, would Marvel still be about to release its 13th movie in May 2016?
Here’s what Feige told io9.
Realistically, I don’t know. I think [Warner Bros.] is in a very different position than we were, when we were doing those early movies. We were just trying something, and now there’s a golden ring to try to grab.
But I’ve always believed, since Iron Man 1, that things have got to work. Things have got to work, or people won’t let us make another one. I don’t think that’s the case for [DC].
Which sounds like his way of saying: No. If The Avengers hadn’t worked as well as it did, the MCU most likely would have stalled out, and we’d be looking at a very different movie landscape today.