This topic comes out of a recent discussion at work about what movies are coming out this year and what ones my co-workers and I were planning to go see.
Sometime in the near future I expect to go and see Thor in theaters, spending money on a movie ticket and maybe some popcorn and a drink. So far I've enjoyed all of Marvel movies that are all aimed at the Avengers movie slated to come out next year. In fact, I can honestly say that my enjoyment of those movies has positively influenced my decision to see them in theaters and therefore has had an economic effect. I'm paying to go see them or buying them when they come out on Blu-ray.
Then there's the opposite effect. The last two X-Men related movies, X3 and Wolverine were such utter piles of crap that even though the trailers that were just released actually look interesting, I have almost no desire to see this movie. Same with the planned Spiderman reboot after Spiderman Three stunk up the screens. I will not be investing any money in experiencing these films.
What I'm wondering is, is my behavior atypical or is it shared by others? While these movies are tangentially related to the others, does the fact that a portion of fandom experienced a negative reaction to them influence the amount of money they will take it? And what about what the genres they represent overall? Will we see a slackening of superhero movies if people avoid these movies based on previous experiences with the same characters but dealt with by a different director/writer/actor?
I wish I could collect data on this, but it would be such a daunting task. I mean, even a well funded research team would have a hard time. You'd need to run surveys on patrons entering and exiting theaters to find out what film there are going to see and if previous films in the genre or "series" (stretching the term a bit) influenced their decisions. How many bad films does it take to kill a genre, or is it just shifting tastes in society over time that cause it?
Yes, I spend way too much time thinking about these things. Sometimes it does lead to interesting story ideas.