Fast Company

MARVEL RULES THE UNIVERSE

EVERY COMPANY WANTS TO DOMINATE ITS INDUSTRY THE WAY THE SUPERHERO FACTORY HAS TAKEN OVER HOLLYWOOD. A GUIDE TO FINDING YOUR CAPE AND TAKING FLIGHT.

A giant squidlike creature commands the screen and breathes fire. “The fate of the universe lies on your shoulders,” a voice-over intones, and for the next two minutes, viewers of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser trailer are treated to a mashup of exuberant space battles, cool gadgets, and comic vignettes, set to the 1975 power-pop anthem “Fox on the Run.” Marvel, the studio that created the Guardians franchise, posted the trailer online in December, five months before the highly anticipated sequel was due to hit multiplexes. Within 24 hours, the clip, featuring the film’s ragtag superhero vigilantes—a foulmouthed raccoon, a baby tree, and the hunky-but-relatable Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt—racked up 81 million views. Even the song hit No. 1 on the iTunes rock chart. Hearing the news, James Gunn, who cowrote and directed both the first, $773 million–grossing Guardians and its sequel, jumped on Facebook to exclaim, “Holy crap!,” adding that the trailer was “the biggest Marvel Studios Teaser ever! No kidding—I’m, like, floored.”

For Marvel, though, outdoing itself has become something of a regular occurrence. When Guardians Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, it will mark the studio’s 15th movie since it started making its own nine years ago, and each one has been a hit. Just as impressive as Marvel’s box-office record (these films have grossed more than $10 billion globally): the billions more in revenue it has generated from toys, merchandise, fragrances, and even cruises (yes, there is a Marvel Day at Sea). Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009 for $4 billion, has seen

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Fast Company

Fast Company1 min read
19 For Bringing Pro-level Science To Everyday Athletes
The Whoop fitness band, which measures a user’s heart rate variability and offers insights into everything from workout intensity and recovery to sleep performance, was initially designed for elite athletes. It’s now going mainstream. Last May, the c
Fast Company1 min read
37 For Facilitating The Rise Of Equitable Private Markets
When WeWork CEO Adam Neumann was forced to resign last year, he sold around $1 billion worth of his stock on his way out the door. Many of Neumann’s employees, in contrast, have seen the value of their WeWork options go up in smoke. In the murky worl
Fast Company1 min read
04 For Mobilizing (and Monetizing) Music Fans
Seoul’s Olympic Stadium was packed during pop band BTS’s three soldout shows last October, but some fans bypassed long merch lines by preordering items via the e-commerce app Weply, which offers exclusive band-related products. Others checked wait ti