What We Learned This Week: May 7-13

LESSON #1: DISNEY UNDERPAID WHEN THEY BOUGHT MARVEL— In 2009, The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion dollars.  I’m sure that seems like an astronomical sum, but the Disney/Marvel films have been printing money, with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” bringing home $425 million worldwide this weekend on its way to almost certainly $1 billion-plus before it’s done in theaters.  In eight short years starting with “Iron Man 2,” Disney/Marvel films have earned approximately $9.8 billion at the theater box office alone (that will cross $10 billion this week).  That’s a total without all of the regular comics, home media, toys, and other merchandise sold on top of that.  Four billion dollars is looking like a pittance.  We’ll be doing this same math for Disney again in December when “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” drops and makes another killing at the box office.

LESSON #2: JAMES GUNN HAS EARNED CREATIVE CREDIBILITY— When the official word came down that last month that James Gunn will return to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it was also revealed that writer/director would be joining the inner circle of the MCU’s braintrust.  Gunn stated “I will be working side-by-side with Kevin Feige and the gang to help design where these stories go, and make sure the future of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is as special and authentic and magical as what we have created so far.”  Retaining a mind and a talent like James Gunn should call for backflips.  He has earned artistic respect and is the right man to join that team.

LESSON #3: THE 1970s WERE THE BEST DECADE OF THE CENTURY OF AMERICAN POP CULTURE— This lesson statement is designed to inspire debate.  Maybe I’m loving too hard on the stellar soundtracks of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, but I’m ready to call this prize fight.  No great decade of pop culture since silent film and recorded music began around 100 years ago can top the 1970s.  The music was eclectic and transformative, no matter the genre from rock and disco to soul and jazz.  In film, the 1970s were the peak of the New Hollywood era, a stratosphere of seminal films, emerging filmmakers, and dynamic performers that changed the entire industry and still inspire it to this day.  While there have been strong singular years or small stretches elsewhere, it’s not even close to volume of the 1970s.

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and the current directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

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