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Marvel takes a chance with "Guardians of the Galaxy"

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Hollywood rarely goes out of their wait to take a chance on their big-budget movies. It’s the reason why sequels and reboots are constantly being churned like an assembly line process. If something succeeds the first time, Hollywood will try to wring as much money out of the franchise as possible. Sometimes franchises continue to improve their quality (“Planet of the Apes”) and others just continue to descend into the junk pile (“Transformers”).

But this summer, it looks like Marvel is taking a chance. Yes, they already released the new Captain America, Spider-Man and X-Men films and made enough money to continue making sequels forever, but now they are releasing a new franchise which not many people know anything about. “Guardians of the Galaxy” will premiere on August 1st, and it could either be a huge success or a flop.

According to rottentomatoes.com, reviews are coming in and they are very positive. But will that translate to people actually going to see it? The film is about a group of misfits who are trying to save the galaxy from evil (a basic premise) but it looks unique in the aspect that the main characters are so abnormal from anything else seen in Marvel. There is only one human-looking character played Chris Pratt, two humanoid-alien characters played by Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, and finally there is a talking alien raccoon and a tree. They are voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, but the idea of these characters banding together to save the galaxy is as far-fetched of an idea as the Pope becoming the president (maybe not that far-fetched).

The reason why this seems like a big chance for Marvel to take is because these characters and this comic series aren’t well-known by the general public. Comic-book fans might know them, but most people will say, “Who is Peter Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy?” The trailer plays to this fact by having Quill, played by Pratt, saying his name repeatedly to a bounty hunter and he still doesn’t know who he is. Even the commander makes fun of the group of misfits by saying they aren’t going to save the galaxy. Marvel acknowledges that people will probably not know them, so they put a lot of money into the visual effects and the cast to beef up the attraction and made the trailers represent the film as an action-adventure comedy. Marvel also put the names of their other franchises on the posters and trailers to make sure the general public knew it was made by the same people that made their beloved franchises.

Now this might work, but sometimes people love familiarity (just look at the box-office returns for “Transformers” and the other Marvel films). Like Hollywood, people like to play it safe. Spending more than $10 for a movie they think might suck or is not what they are looking for rarely happens. But maybe the intrigue is what Marvel is banking on. Marvel is trying to create a new franchise, and maybe the curiosity will win out. Perhaps Marvel’s name alone will be enough to sell the film. What is a fact though is Marvel took a big chance making this film, and they hope people will be intrigued enough to see it. Marvel did something most studios balk at, and that has to be commended. The film might or might not be a success and Marvel can go on making sequels to its giant franchises, but at least Marvel can say they tried something different.

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