March saw the release of London has Fallen, the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which was paired up with the similarly themed White House Down in 2013. White House out-earned Olympus by nearly $50 million.
So, why did Olympus get a sequel while White House hasn’t? Because although both films received similar mixed reviews, Olympus nearly doubled its $70 million budget with $161 million worldwide gross, while White House barely skimmed over its $150 million budget a $205 million global take.
But, I’m not here to talk about the business of film-making, but rather the craft. I discussed Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down back in 2013 as an example of the strange duality of storytelling in film. There seems to be a pattern of twin films being released together, one relatively serious and the other more over-the-top.
This year we see a similar pairing in Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Both pit a patriotic powerhouse (Superman and the super-soldier) against a gritty billionaire whose powers are purely technological. It’s too early to say which film will do better at the box office, but Dawn has broken records.
Ironically, the two films are reversals in the respective story arcs of their franchises. Civil War is about an established super-hero team falling apart while Dawn is about a super-hero team coming together. It will be interesting to see how this match-up plays out!