Film & History 2013 Conference
Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen

Larger Than Life:
Superheroes at the Box Office

Deadline for Abstracts: July 1, 2013

The superhero genre has been one of Hollywood’s most lucrative since 2000. The top two domestic money-earners in 2012 – The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises – were superhero films, while a third (The Amazing Spider-Man) finished seventh. Comic book adaptations continue to be as sure a bet as there is for Hollywood, and this year promises more of the same, with the releases of Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, and Thor: The Dark World. Fifteen superhero films have crossed the $200 million mark in domestic earnings since 2000, and the genre does equally well internationally.

This area, which will be comprised of multiple panels, seeks to identify and investigate the questions that this genre proposes. Why, after years of poor or mediocre performance, are these types of films now so popular at the box office? To what extent does that success depend on their adaptation of established properties, on A-list actors in the title roles, or on the unique vision of directors like Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon? Can they, or should they, be taken seriously by scholars and critics? Is their success a reflection – or a cause – of the increasing juvenilization of Hollywood?

Here are some topics for possible exploration:

Proposals for complete panels (three of four related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an email address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Deadline for Abstracts: July 1, 2013

For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see:

Please send submissions or queries to the area chair:

Zachary Ingle
Department of Film and Media Studies
University of Kansas

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