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  1. #1
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Default Can foreign superhero films ever reach mainstream status?

    Some months back I watched Valentine: The Dark Avenger, which...wasn't complete poo considering the obvious budget constraints and so-so English dubbing. I mean it wasn't great, but for the first Indonesian film I've ever watched it was okay. I didn't even know Indonesia had their own superhero comic books, hell I didn't even know Indonesia made films. And just yesterday I discovered through an offhand post somewhere the Philippine comics character Darna, which according to Wikipedia they're trying to make a movie out of. Likewise I didn't even know the Philippines had their own superhero comics, or again films (I get it, I'm too Euro-American centric). Now obviously I doubt they'll ever reach Batman or Spider-Man status without a big Hollywood movie, but could a foreign superhero or superhero film ever reach minimum or average "mainstream" status? And if so, how? Is anyone here even familiar with non-American/European originating comics and characters (as in they didn't come from an American or British/whatever publisher, so characters from other countries in Marvel/DC don't count)? Just something I'm kind of curious about learning more about.

    Edit: Just thought about this, but Japanese manga/anime heroes don't count, obviously they can become mainstream.
    Last edited by Vakanai; 08-10-2019 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #2
    Invincible Member XPac's Avatar
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    A Hong Kong martial arts flick with a super hero theme probably has the best chance of getting mainstream in the States.

  3. #3
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    apart from Japan, China, or Hong Kong?

    honestly, I don't think so. the problem is that most people in the US refuse to watch a subtitled film. and the dubs tend to not have very much money to work with and not get a good voice-acting cast. when people are, by and and large, comfortable with watching subtitled films I think this might be a possibility... but not right now.

    not even Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, or Michelle Yeoh could really break out as a mainstream star in the US back in the 90s... and if anybody could have done it... it seems like it would have been them. yes, they all have large cult followings in the US... but they never truly became 'mainstream'. you would need a really big name with lots of charisma to pull it off. people would need to love it so much to spread word-of-mouth praise and watch the sequels and so on.

    a mainstream franchise/status requires repeat viewings from a lot of customers so... I don't think it could happen... apart from the previously mentioned anime/manga stuff. which STILL isn't considered mainstream. I'm fairly certain there is fun and quality stuff out there to be had... but I just don't see it making a big break in Hollywood.

    PS... something like 10-15 years ago my brother and I were discussing the idea of a Hong Kong version of Batman with Donnie Yen as Batman and Chow Yun Fat as Two Face... and how much we would totally pay good money to see that in the theater.
    Last edited by Totoro Man; 08-10-2019 at 11:58 AM.

  4. #4
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    If China accounts for more and more of the international box office, isn't it just a matter of time before a Chinese movie becomes one of the most important movies in any given year? In fact, the American box office wouldn't even matter for such movies if they could make most of their profits in Asia. And wouldn't that give them mainstream status on an international level?
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  5. #5
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    If China accounts for more and more of the international box office, isn't it just a matter of time before a Chinese movie becomes one of the most important movies in any given year? In fact, the American box office wouldn't even matter for such movies if they could make most of their profits in Asia. And wouldn't that give them mainstream status on an international level?
    I suppose it depends on what your definition of mainstream is, certainly something can be mainstream in Asia but not in the West. So for clarity, we're talking about mainstream awareness in the west, particularly the English speaking west.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Britain's biggest hero has had several film adaptations over the years, including at least one animated version that I know of. But probably the most accurate one was this one;


  7. #7
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    Britain's biggest hero has had several film adaptations over the years, including at least one animated version that I know of. But probably the most accurate one was this one;

    I don't think that quite counts.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post
    Edit: Just thought about this, but Japanese manga/anime heroes don't count, obviously they can become mainstream.
    Arbitrarily cherry picking out the most obvious example seems...arbitrary.
    Why yes, I AM a Mark Goodson/Bill Toddman production.

  9. #9
    MYTH SMITH ∞ !!! G. Boney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Totoro Man View Post
    not even Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, or Michelle Yeoh could really break out as a mainstream star in the US back in the 90s... and if anybody could have done it... it seems like it would have been them. yes, they all have large cult followings in the US... but they never truly became 'mainstream'.
    Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh I agree with, but Jackie Chan? You must've been living in a different 90s than me, lol. That's the decade he did break out in the u.s. If you would've said 80s that would be on point.
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  10. #10
    Invincible Member XPac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G. Boney View Post
    Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh I agree with, but Jackie Chan? You must've been living in a different 90s than me, lol. That's the decade he did break out in the u.s. If you would've said 80s that would be on point.
    Yeah, I think Jackie Chan at this point is a legit icon. He had his own saturday morning cartoon.

  11. #11

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    It's hard for foreign ANYTHING to become big in America -- not just superhero movies.

    In order for something foreign to have any real type of success in America, it would have do the following:

    - do something America isn't already doing
    - do it better than America would be able to do it

    This is what made anime so popular in America, but even that's not as commonplace as, say, Tom and Jerry or Scooby-Doo for most American kids.

    Once you take England and anime out of the equation, the chances for success for a foreign product are significantly lower.

    Sure, a project or two might pop, but ongoing, long-term, mainstream success is pretty impossible -- not only because of a language and culture barrier, but simply because America already produces the best of the best in terms of pop culture.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    Britain's biggest hero has had several film adaptations over the years, including at least one animated version that I know of. But probably the most accurate one was this one;

    Um, I think you mean WHEN THINGS WERE ROTTEN.

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  13. #13
    Invincible Member XPac's Avatar
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    If you count Dr. Who and 007 as super heroes, we can say it's at least possible.

    Godzilla in the Showa era was SORT OF a superhero. Sort of.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member Killerbee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post

    Edit: Just thought about this, but Japanese manga/anime heroes don't count, obviously they can become mainstream.
    You eliminate the prime examples of yes it can happen? That does make any sense to me. They are literally the playbook

    A. Small amount of American people pick it up in it native form and become a cult hit
    B. It is super popular in its home country
    C. It pops on Hollywood radar because of America fans liking it
    D. Hollywood actually has respect for the material and put big budget into it and that is the most important thing imo

    Yes foreign superhero films can crack mainstream status,In India,Japan and China we are starting to see stuff that is about at Hollywood level. I should real show this RA.One trailer but this movie is on Netflix(But I can't resist showing off this clip)



    A better example is Wandering Earth which is the currently 7th highest gross movie of 2019 which made 700 million(691 million in China) this movie is also on Netflix. It is showing you example of how close other countries are getting with CGI and the budget(50 million). It is not hard to imagine in the future China going after some US stars to get the US audience in much in the same way US companies is doing the same thing now to get that audience. You are also seeing some small stuff other countries sneak in like The Protector which is a Turkish superhero show basically a Turkish Iron fist and I also saw Shadow which is basically South African Luke Cage . Once the money gets better they will do better in America

    Where you are going to see most success is with the Asian stuff we are already accepting of martial arts and subtitles from that area. So the biggest hurdles are mostly out of the way. It is not going to be a surprise in the next couple of years if a Korean show or movie break out in the US. I have seen some interesting looking normal dramas that have way better action for show of that genre I am not going to be surprised when one of them break out in the US. Finally I was watching the Wu Assassins on Netflix and 1 episode in It was easily better than Iron Fist so far and it has Iko Uwais(The Raid) Katheryn Winnick(Vikings) Lewis Tan(Enter the Badlands,Deadpool 2) Byron Mann(alter Carbon,The expanse) ,Mark Dacascos(John Wick,Brotherhood of Wolf). I am pretty sure the production is US but it has feel of type of project that could have been done as co production for a property from somewhere else.

    At some point a street level superhero character of batman/arrow style of show or Martial art superhero ala Iron Fist is going to break out from another country. The other styles of heroes is going to take a little longer because of the money but a couple years back The Guardians caught people eyes and if it is done right I don't see why people in America won't like it.
    Last edited by Killerbee911; 08-11-2019 at 04:10 AM.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Gaastra's Avatar
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    Yeah japan does show they can. Heck the last dragonball film was the first anime to hit first place at the American box office in years and it was only in limited release yet was a huge hit for a anime and highest ever fathom event in history. (the other one that made first place was pokemon the first movie.) Yes it was only for a day but it was a huge step for anime. Ponyo had a chance as Disney had ads everywhere for it but no one could find it as Disney only put it in a few showings! Why would you do a huge ad push then make it where no one can see it?

    Spirited away and your name could have done well but were buried also in limited release! Your name is getting a live action American movie remake by jj adams also.


    But your name and spirited away are not from comics (or manga) however one piece, our hero academia, bleech, Naruto, sailor moon, sword art online, attack on titan, death note, gundam, cowboy beboop and others are and have done well here with limited film releases (naruto's first film got a wide release as did tenchi's!) and toys, posters and other things! I can get a our hero academia and hunter x hunter poster at my Wal-Mart right now!

    One piece may pass batman's worldwide sales this year! Batman may get beat by a manga series!

    https://comicbook.com/anime/2019/03/...-record-manga/

    You can't just say "no japan" because they have tons of heroes based on comics (manga) and many have done well here. They show they can do well here! Japan is the big "they can work in America" Heck tom hanks was in a lone wolf and cub inspired movie!

    Japan cannot be thrown out here!

    For china we had tons of monkey king films and smurfs and tintin were based on comics from other countires and both have had movies here. Not a comic but harry potter is a book series from the uk right? It did well here complete with two lands at universal studios!

    Smurfs (if they count) had a high rated cartoon series that lasted over 9 years and one season was on for a hour and a half with over 8 prime time specials. Smurfs and the magic flute was the highest grossing non Disney movie of all time when it came out and the first live action film was a huge hit! (that awful smurfs 2 however---)
    Last edited by Gaastra; 08-11-2019 at 05:15 AM.

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