There’s no question that Marvel Studios has been working hard over the past few years to work a number of its franchises into other mediums. Its movies, from Guardians of the Galaxy to its Avengers films, have been making big box-office bucks. Even Ant-Man, a franchise based on one of the comic giant’s lesser-known heroes, had no problem generating $518 million. But one other avenue that is paying off for the company is its partnership with Netflix, which dates back to late 2013. With it, other Marvel franchises would get their shot as a separate series available exclusively on the streaming network.
Daredevil, the first of the four to premiere from the deal, made its debut this April and fared well with audiences. Variety reports that based on numbers provided by the streaming service, an estimated 10.7 percent of subscribers tuned in to at least one episode in the first 11 days of its arrival. That’s bigger numbers that some of Netflix’s more popular series, including The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the award-nominated House of Cards.
With that, the second series of the deal ‘ Jessica Jones ‘ arrived to Netflix today. The series, featuring Krysten Ritter in the title role, focuses on a no-nonsense private investigator who maintains mysterious powers, and finds herself face-to-face with an evil presence (Doctor Who‘s David Tennant), who continues to torment her.
— Jessica Jones (@JessicaJones) November 20, 2015
The series is arriving with a huge amount of buzz on social media, as well as mainstream advertising across both the Internet and regular television ads. Critics have also given the mature-rated series high remarks, indicating that it’s another asset in Netflix’s growing collection of original programming.
So what is the appeal behind this mega partnership between Netflix and Marvel Well, it certainly benefits both parties in certain ways.
On Netflix’s end, it has programs that appeal more to the comic book/”geek” viewer, a demographic that some networks don’t quite appeal to. ABC does have its own Marvel series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that appeals to such an audience, but one episode a week may not be enough to get their fill – which is where Netflix comes in handy for “binge” sessions.
As for Marvel, it allows for expansion of franchises that would have difficulty finding a venue elsewhere. For example, making a movie based on Daredevil might be a risky endeavor, especially considering 20th Century Fox released one years before, featuring Ben Affleck in the title role. (It received lukewarm response as a result, and also from its PG-13 rating.) Trying to maintain the maturity of that franchise on the big screen would result in an R-rating, shutting out potential box office as a result. Meanwhile, on Netflix, the series seems like a perfect fit, with no restraints as far as content is concerned.
Jessica Jones fits a similar mold, as the main “hero”, so to speak, does a lot of drinking and other violent acts, as part of her character. That’s not to say that’s unlikable, though – the comic book version had a similar nature, and with its deal with Netflix, Marvel and its producers can present a “no holds barred” approach to these characters, giving them the kind of gusto needed to appeal to die-hard comic book fans, as well as potential viewers tired of the same old kiddie fare.
Surprisingly enough, more mature-themed shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones are highly marketable. The content may not be for all ages, but the approach Netflix has taken to advertising them is, whether it’s online, through television or other promotional means.
— Daredevil (@Daredevil) February 4, 2015
This will certainly benefit both partners as the deal goes on, since two more series – Luke Cage and a rumored Iron Fist series (though that may change), all of which will tie together into a mini-series titled The Defenders, which will air exclusively on Netflix once completed. There’s also potential of new characters being introduced as well, such as The Punisher, a gun-toting vigilante who will be the key focus for Season Two of Daredevil, which is already in production and set to premiere sometime next year.
This partnership with Netflix is allowing Marvel to expand in ways it couldn’t have imagined just a few years back, and it’s also benefitting fans by giving them more of an outlet aside from the big-screen efforts, allowing smaller characters within its sprawling universe to steal the spotlight. There’s no question Netflix is benefitting as well, gaining viewers that show heavy interest in seeing said programs, even if it is on a “binge” basis.
Here’s hoping it continues to endure for years to come – it’ll be interesting to see where Jessica Jones and company go from here.