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Gal Gadot on Wonder Woman 1984 poster

Whew, what a year in movies it has been! But now that we're almost at the finish line, it’s inevitable: 2019 belongs to Marvel. The studio not only scored the highest-grossing movie of all time with Avengers: Endgame, but Captain Marvel also passed the billion-dollar mark, as did fellow MCU entry Spider-Man: Far From Home (which was co-produced by Sony). It’s been a monumental year for comic book fans and moviegoers to the genre, but looking to 2020, DC finally has the leg up again!

It’s been quite some time since Warner Bros’ DC properties have had as exciting of a slate as what’s coming in the new year. The studio has had a mix of wins and losses over the past decade, all while Marvel built up an expansive universe fans can't get enough of. Now, this isn’t to say 2020 is not going to be another huge year for Marvel, but DC will probably have an even bigger one. Let’s talk through why:

Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow standalone movie

Black Widow Takes A Step Backwards

Starting off on Marvel’s 2020 slate is Black Widow. Yes, the May release is going to be a summer hit, no question there. But among the larger scope of the studio’s projects over the years, it may not share the same appeal. Audiences already know the tragic fate of Scarlett Johansson’s character in the MCU. Some fans might be content with sitting out the standalone opening weekend for a reason such as this. Audiences have been so saturated with the lore of the MCU’s past, they may want to turn a new page. Black Widow is a step backwards. (Or looks to be anyway).

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And even when Black Widow makes its money, its impact on audiences may pale in comparison to what’s in play as a whole for the genre. The movie looks like an awesome spy thriller with an awesome cast, but action-packed spy thrillers are nothing new. It’s a tried-and-true genre that is exciting and has pulled some iconic entries in the past, but it’s on the smaller scale for big-screen comic book projects in 2020. Not to mention how high expectations are for Marvel Studios after 2019’s offerings. The release of Black Widow will be huge, but will it be forgettable?

Eternals team in Marvel comics

Eternals Is A Deep Cut For Marvel

Marvel’s other 2020 release is The Eternals in November. Many casual moviegoers have never heard of this team of heroes before. Not that this will stop The Eternals from becoming a big hit though. Just look at how big Guardians of the Galaxy became when it was introduced to the mainstream. The Eternals may have a similar effect on audiences – especially considering the star-studded cast at the center, which includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden and Kit Harington. And while Black Widow feels like a step back, The Eternals could be the very movie that marks a new beginning for the franchise.

The Eternals looks like a refreshing release amongst an often rehashed genre. But does the movie have enough power to become a phenomenon? It already has such a stacked cast (more than 10 on the team) and new mythology for audiences to digest that it might not have folks sprinting to their local cinema to see it. It’s too early to tell, and Marvel will certainly market the film to ensure the risky and expensive release peaks the interest of fans. But will it be as big as what DC has in store?

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman / Diana Prince in Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn Are Fan Favorites

DC’s two hopefuls in 2020 are Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) in February and Wonder Woman 1984 in June. Technically, both are sequels, and those frequently do better at the box office. The most casual of fans have had time to get acquainted with these two female comic book characters and they’re ready for more. It doesn’t matter if 2016’s Suicide Squad wasn’t universally loved. I think we all had at least two friends who dressed up as Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn back then and even this year!

Not to mention how Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins' first Wonder Woman movie made history when it came out back in 2017. It will always be the female superhero movie that broke the glass ceiling and give fans so much girl power in the genre. Diana is the most powerful hero hitting the big screen in 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 is the most blockbuster-y movie you could possibly see. It’s shaping up to be 2020’s biggest hit. DC’s slate has two massive pop culture phenomenons at the center of them, and Marvel won’t easily beat that.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey

DC’s Lineup Are Especially Unique Projects

With as many comic book movies as there are in a year these days, audiences are looking for something a little different. We recently witnessed this just a few months ago with Joker, an R-rated standalone villain origin story produced on a low budget. It’s completely different than what the traditional comic book movie. Now Birds of Prey looks to be going for an R-rating next. It will be the first of its kind, not just with the “girl gang" aspect, but also with how Harley deals with a breakup with the Joker himself and reenacts one of Madonna's music videos. Not to mention that there's interest in how Harley Quinn’s next outing will propel the universe forward. Let's not forget that she’ll return for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.

Back to Wonder Woman 1984, we’ve seen “period piece” comic book movies before, but this one takes place in the ever-fabulous ‘80s. This element of the sequel will only help the movie stand out, and then there are the questions about Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor flurrying. Wonder Woman 1984 is still a direct sequel to the 2017 flick, but it’s taking fans on a completely different adventure. Audiences are interested in the tide turning for DC and want to see how movies such as these define the bright future of the universe.

What do you think? Which slate will dominate in 2020? Marvel or DC? Leave a comment below, participate in our poll and check out which comic books to read to prepare for the new year!

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