Despite the terrible tragedy in Aurora, CO, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ still broke records for a 2D opening as of Friday.  (Warner Brothers chose not to disclose any further grosses out of respect for the victims of the shooting.)  But with the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman franchise ending, how will DC proceed with adapting their super heroes to the big screen?  We have ‘Man of Steel’ on its way, but it’s no secret that Marvel has pretty much been pummeling it’s Distinguished Competition at the box office.  How can DC and parent company Warner Brothers give the Marvel Machine a run for its money?  Here are a couple of ideas.

5. Bring on the Bad Guys

In ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ Batman matched wits with Catwoman and Bane, two characters already adapted in the previous Batman franchise.  In ‘Man of Steel,’ Superman battles General Zod, immortalized by Terrance Stamp in ‘Superman 2.’  One of the biggest gripes about the poorly-performing ‘Superman Returns’ was that Lex Luthor was the main antagonist… again.  The DC Universe is rich with evil-doers, so there’s no need to keep going back to the same stand-bys.  ‘Batman Begins’ proved that even lesser known villains like Ra’s Al-Ghul and The Scarecrow could prove intriguing.  How about letting Brainiac or Metallo challenge Superman or pitting Batman against Clayface or Killer Croc next time?

4. Think Big

As entertaining as most comic book movies were before ‘Iron Man,’ they lacked one of the most exciting aspects of super hero comics; the idea of a shared universe where Spider-Man can cross over with Daredevil or The Hulk, and The Thing can trash downtown Manhattan to prove who is strongest.  When Nick Fury popped up at the end of ‘Iron Man’ and announced the “Avengers Initiative” fans were blown away by the idea that their favorite heroes may one day stand side-by-side on the silver screen.  DC needs to borrow this idea and plant seeds in their movies.  Going forward, DC needs to start building toward a Justice League movie… and beyond.

3. Life on the B-List?

It’s hard to believe, but just a few short years ago, if you’d asked the average 3rd grader if they knew who Iron Man or Thor were, they’d have replied, “Who?”  People forget that these characters weren’t household names before they appeared in their blockbuster films.  Heroes don’t need to already have a built-in audience as long as their movies are good and deliver what the viewer wants in an action movie.  No hero is too small… the upcoming Antman movie is proof of that!

2. Wonder Woman Works

I keep reading comments on how to make Wonder Woman work on the big screen.  What’s wrong with Wonder Woman?  Her TV show is a classic!  People still love it today!  ‘Super Friends’ ran for a decade, plus syndication.  She starred on ‘Justice League’ and ‘Justice League Unlimited’ and her animated movie is one of the best reviewed of all of DC’s straight-to-DVD features.  So why the hesitation?  She’s an Amazon, trained in combat from birth, sent to our modern society to combat evil and spread the message of love and equality.  There.  As for marketing, tap into the female market.  Remind women of how much they loved Wonder Woman when they were kids and sell them on the idea that this is ‘their’ super hero movie.  Tap into that ‘Magic Mike’/’Bridesmaids’ market.  Then count the money!

1. Why So Serious?

Going back to the first X-Men movie, the line most people recall the most is Cyclops’ wink-wink “What did you expect, yellow spandex?”  And what about ‘The Avengers?’  Despite being an action movie, that flick was HILARIOUS!  Comic movies don’t have to be deadly serious and dreary.  Lighten up!  These are based on comic books, not Dostoevsky.  Let’s have fun!

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Comment below!