In a recent interview, producer Michael Uslan discussed the nature of comic book films, particularly in regards to their target audience. Mike says that it is important for the comic book industry to remember the kid appeal on occasion; noting that not every movie needs to be intense, gritty and edgy. He feels that until recently, the comic book industry had “turned its back” on children, and that in doing so they were missing out on a whole new generation of readers. Uslan indicates that New Line has some exciting projects lined up (among them Shazam! and TheSpirit) targeted towards a younger audience.
Uslan certainly has a solid point- comic books have “grown up” with their initial audience, and as such have become somewhat less accessible to kids. Marvel is attempting to fix that with their Ultimates titles (clearing away decades of back story so new readers don’t feel completely lost), and I don’t think this is a bad idea. Likewise, comic book-styled movies targeted at kids isn’t a bad idea; although I don’t really think there’s a terribly profound shortage of them right now- Spy Kidsand The Incredibles have both done well for themselves. Will I want to go see new movies aimed at kids? Not really; at least not all of them. But I still think it’s a good idea. And I’m sure the marketing dollars potential has nothing to do with their interest to appeal to kids; they just want to make the small ones happy.