An Ongoing Marvel Tradition Has Gifted Kevin Feige With Some Unforgettable Moments

03June2024

Despite what the Russo Brothers may think, it is not the children who are killing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is a clear, tangible decrease of interest in superhero movies that has been happening over the past couple of years as the Infinity Saga ended and the Multiverse Saga stumbled out of the gate (and continues to do so)

Hopefully, the new Disney mandate to release fewer movies and shows in the future will bring back the sense of wonder and awe that characterized early Marvel movies and made them must-watch events. Particularly of note here is the TV shows. Sure, the Disney+ TV era of Marvel Studios has given us some truly fantastic gems of superhero storytelling that weren't possible even just a few years ago, like the weird and twisty world of "Loki," but also giving smaller characters a chance to break out in a big way on the smaller screen, like Kamala Khan quickly becoming the best MCU character thanks to the charm of the Disney Channel-inspired teen comedy of "Ms. Marvel."

Still, for as much good as these shows have done, they inherently ignore what is arguably the biggest key to Marvel's success and cultural dominance — the communal experience. There is a reason Marvel movies are amongst the first to come up when asking about great movie theater reactions, because these movies are made with an eye for that opening weekend theatrical experience, literally. As Kevin Feige told Variety, there is a tradition at Marvel Studios that got started with the very first "Iron Man" back in 2008. "For every new release, the cast, producers, director, and I will drop in on an opening night showing and watch the movie with the fans," Feige said. 

Fans come first

Feeling the excitement in the theater, hearing cheers or gasps from the audience, is always a reminder of what these movies and characters mean to fans," Feige continued. "Being there on opening night of 'Avengers: Endgame,' hearing the crowds, is something I'll never forget. Also, the feedback we received after 'Black Panther' came out. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would have the kind of impact it did."

There is a reason the Marvel movies have sparked such heated debates among film fans, a reason people are interested in what legends like Martin Scorsese think of these movies. If a movie can cause the kind of thunderous cheers and reactions in theaters that something like "Avengers: Endgame" did, or like "Black Panther" did, it's understandable to want validation, to be reaffirmed that you're not just getting excited for a silly superhero movie, but a cultural moment. The greatest thing Marvel Studios has done is to think of the communal theater experience first and foremost, crafting (sometimes painfully obviously so) moments specifically to break into cheers. Given the monumental success of "Avengers: Endgame" and its record-shattering box office run, the approach pays off.

This also explains even a tiny bit why the MCU feels so different since "Endgame" — the theatrical experience changed since the pandemic. Whether it's the thought that you can just wait to watch the latest Marvel movie on Disney+, or that the big break during lockdown simply made us change how we experience cinema. It's a shame, but hopefully Feige and Marvel Studios can reclaim that spark before the next big "Avengers" movie.

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