How Fans Change Disney Movies

Fans have more power than ever before to kill a movie.

Between Rotten Tomatoes, Facebook, and blogs, a movie’s fan base can literally swing the box office by millions of dollars. What you may not know is that even fan speculation can change the course of a movie.

In a recent interview with The Wrap, Marvel head Kevin Feige talks about how they changed the ending of Avengers: Age of Ultron simply because fans were speculating that Marvel would do a Planet Hulk movie. Originally, Director Joss Whedon planned to have Hulk fly into space, until the executives read a story that placed fan speculation on Planet Hulk before Ultron even wrapped production. (At the time, Marvel had no plans to make a Planet Hulk movie).

“We said, ‘Joss, we can’t do that because he’s not going into space and people are going to think we’re doing ‘Planet Hulk’ because Umberto has some big hot scoop that we’re doing ‘Planet Hulk,’” Feige said in the interview. “So, if you go back and look at that shot of the movie, he’s in the sky. It’s blue sky.”

A fan story changing such a small detail at the end of a film may not sound like a big deal, but it does point to the power of fans to affect studios. This week Disney canceled Gigantic — the movie they said would be the definitive version of Jack and the Beanstalk. In addition, Lucasfilm released the title for the new Han Solo film — (un)creatively named Solo.

Those stories are completely unrelated. But Disney has received a lot of questions from fans about these. How did Disney go from confidently announcing Gigantic on a stage at D23 in 2015, to canceling the film as quietly as possible? How did the title “Solo” ever make it out of the blue sky session?

Ordinarily, these questions would seem like random things Disney would never answer or pay attention to. However, the story regarding Age of Ultron proves that Disney is not only listening, they are actively pivoting based on the fans. Time will tell whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.

To listen to our full discussion on this and all the Disney movie news from this past week, click on the link below.