Fox CEO Discusses Superhero Fatigue, Diversity

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The head of Fox spoke about the need to expand beyond just superhero movies, while also touching up on the issues of diversity in casting and stories.

Stacy Snider, the CEO of 20th Century Fox, made these comments at CineEurope, a conference of European film exhibitors taking place in Barcelona.

“If we don’t continue to reach out to the folks that come more than just to see The Avengers, we are going to have just the weekend business,” she said, and added “For the studios that expect that more of the same will always bring a result, there is folly in that.”

She noted that Fox does plan to continue with its own superhero movies, mainly X-Men and its sub-franchise Deadpool, but noted other tent-poles that they have tried in recent years, including Murder on the Orient Express, The Martian or The Greatest Showman.

In this, she may be trying to preempt a counterargument: while Fox has gotten into the habit of releasing two superhero films in most years, three new films are scheduled for both 2019 and 2020. That said, their recent entries have tried to integrate other genres into their stories, with Logan being part Western and Deadpool a sort of raunchy, violent comedy; this is seen as an attempt to counteract “superhero fatigue,” a malady whose existence is unconfirmed but feared by the big studios.

She also mentioned that Fox has been trying to speak more to a global audience. This also leads into the subject of diversity, which also took up a portion of her talk.

“There are plenty of examples out there that signal that including diversity and including a local perspective in these larger movies is great business,” she said. She specifically mentioned Pixar’s Coco (set in Mexico) and Marvel Studio’s Black Panther (set in the fiction African nation of Wakanda), and oddly also mentioned Deadpool, noting that it has a diverse cast despite its Caucasian lead (Ryan Reynolds).

She also mentioned that “We are mindful that these big franchise films need to be original, need to respond to local cultures, and local diverse casts.” In contrast, she noted that past attempts to appeal to a global audience used a sort of homogenized approach where stories were simplified down to a few basic clichés.

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