8 Epic Movie Crossovers that Blew our Minds
Whenever you think of cinematic crossovers, it’s hard not to picture the success that Marvel has had with the B- and C-list characters they maintained in-house control over. They manged to wind these heroes into a big a ball of string that unraveled without knots.
With Marvel films now making billions at the box office, it’s easy to forget the many other film crossovers that came before. They may not have been as glossy or action packed as modern day cinema, but they all managed to stir the imagination and get audiences excited with their grand ideas. And that’s what we are looking at with this list. The bold films that tried something different by bringing together fan favorite characters in a glorious cinematic showdown.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Whilst Kong reigned in high when he first hit screens in 1933, the ill-advised sequel Son of Kong was rushed out that same year and quickly squashed any hopes of a continued franchise. It was in the 1960’s that Ishirō Honda decided to set the giant ape against Japans own flagging monster franchise, Godzilla. It was the very first time two titans had clashed, and it launched the kaiju crossover sub-genre that is still very much active to to this day. Whilst Kong reign supreme, Godzilla soon reappeared with clashes against Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah. A new Kong vs. Godzilla film, from Blair Witch director Adam Wingard, is due in 2020.*
Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)
In the very early 1970’s, Hammer was churning out some of its best Dracula films, with Taste the Blood of Dracula and Scars of Dracula both hitting cinema screens in 1970. With Dracula riding high, many other film-makers wanted to get in on the act, such as Al Adamson, who had a movie that he was in desperate need of salvaging. Originally titled, The Blood Seekers, the film had shot in 1969 starring B-film legends J. Carrol Naish and Lon Chaney Jr. However, the film was a mess and it Adamson needed something special to bring it back to life. After discovering that there had never been a Dracula vs. Frankenstein film before, he quickly wrote in the two monsters, and created a non-sensical, crazy crossover that every wanted to see. But thanks to its dark scenes and terrible plot, the film was hit with very negative reception, and much like the titular creatures, died in a tangled and burning mess.
The Incredible Hulk and Thor (1988)
Long before the MCU exploded onto the big screens, Marvel sold off most of it’s film and TV rights to various companies. One of the more successful of these was The Incredible Hulk TV series that ran from 1978 to 1982. It was at the end of the TV run that the franchise changed hands to TV network NBC, who desperately wanted their very own success story with characters owned by Marvel. As a way of launching the TV show based on the comic book character Thor, a made-for-television film, The Incredible Hulk Returns, was launched in 1988. Brining back Bill Bixby as Banner and Lou Ferrigno the Hulk, the film was to be a backdoor pilot for Thor, played by Eric Kramer. It was a huge deal, with TV fans of the hulk excited at a reunion show and comic fans hyped by the prospect of seeing the God of Thunder on TV. Despite huge success, Thor never did get a live action show, but the green meany went on to have two more TV films thanks to his popularity. It’s easy to see how Marvel picked Hulk to be their first feature film in 2003, considering him to be a pretty safe bet.
Freddy Versus Jason (2003)
Freddy vs. Jason is a crossover between the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, pitting Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees against each other in a dark and bloody showdown. Unlike many of the films on the list, the films premise was concepted long before it happened, with New Line and Paramount wanting to give the fans what they wanted, a show down between the great horror icons. The film was first discussed in 1987, but neither sides could agree on a story. Sean Cunningham, the co-creator and director of Friday the 13th, was the films champions for many years, slipping in a Freddy Kruger Easter Egg into Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and even created Jason X just to keep the dream of a crossover alive.
After years of collapsed discussions and rights battles, the film finally made its way onto the big screen in 2003, much to the applause of the horror circuit. They had never been a show down of this proportion, between two franchise giants that had dominated the market for so many years. Whilst critics were not keen, horror fans the world over celebrate the film for its grand vision, strong story and performance from Robert Englund, who starred as Freddy Kruger for his very final cinematic screen appearance.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Alien vs. Predator started life a 1990 comic book published by Dark Horse Comics. The original idea of combining the Aliens with Predators was the result of a brain-storming session between the comic’s creators in the late 1980s. The success spawned a HUGE franchise which span for around 30 comics and even had a few crossovers with the likes of The Terminator, Witchblade and even Batman vs Superman.
The 2004 film was just the next step in 20th Century Fox’s Aliens franchise, with the film actually being delayed thanks to the production of Aliens: Resurrection. Whilst the film took some of the comics elements, it was mostly original content, with its very own story, set on earth.
Film fans were eager to see the duo fight it out after production designers placed a Xenomorph skull on the Predator ship in Predator 2. Whilst the hype behind the film was huge, but thanks to ropey CGI, fast paste editing and shocking PG-13 rating, the film received negative reviews from both critics and fans alike.
Sadako vs. Kayako (2016)
For those non-horror fans that may be confused by this listing, the tile refers to the sprits that haunted both the Ju-on (The Grudge) and The Ring series. The film was first teased as an April Fools’ joke on April 1, 2015, but the response obviously made a huge wave, as by December that year, the film was officially announced.
Many fans of the series were thrilled at the prospect of the battle, with the films official twitter page running promotions, videos and discussion s right up until the films release. There was even a press conference where Sadako vs. Kayako came to weigh-in, much like Freddy and Jason had done for their film. Sadly the film bombed, but the idea behind it still resonates with fans.
The Avengers (2012)
Ideas for a film based on The Avengers began in 2003, with Avi Arad, the CEO of Marvel Studios, first announcing plans to develop the film in April 2005, a few years after Hulk smashed his way onto screens. The studio’s intention was to release individual films for each of the main characters, as a way of establishing their identities and familiarize audiences with them, before merging the characters together in a huge crossover film. It was an extremely successful formula, and one in which other studios tried to replicate.
The Avengers hit cinemas in 2012, with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Hawkeye and The Black Widow all coming together in a single film. The ensemble cast was unprecedented in scope at the time, with each of the cast members expecting to get around the same airtime, and with supporting actors finding time to shine too. But, all the efforts paid off with The Avengers hitting 1.5 Billion pounds at the box office. Critics loved it, fans were ecstatic, and the world looked at Marvel with a new interest. Not bad for a company that started off it’s live action years by selling away it’s biggest assets.
Using the same formula as before, and with an overriding story arch forming, Marvel went on to create three more Avengers films, with more planned for the years to come. Many looked upon Marvels success with green eyes, and some even attempted to replicate the success that they had created for themselves.
Justice League (2017)
A year after The Avenger hit cinemas, Man of Steel was released. The film was the long awaited reboot of the Superman franchise which had been booted around Warner Bros. for a while. The 2006 Superman Returns film had not pushed the series ahead as planned, but Christopher Nolan’s Batman series had proved that a change of pace can make a huge difference. Whilst the idea of bringing Batman and Superman together had been kicked around, the decision to reboot the Superman series was given priority over the idea of a shared universe. It was only after Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Rises had released that the ideas of bringing the two heroes together started to form. However, the series downfall seem to be its reluctance to steadily build a franchise such as Marvel had done.
Rather than introducing characters in their own films, Batman Vs Superman brought in a new Batman and Wonder Woman without ever establishing them. This rushed introduction grated on many fans, and it’s quick follow up with a Justice League film, made the same mistakes.
Justice League arrived in cinemas in 2017, with fans excited about seeing the DC group on the big screen. However, the awful script, chopping editing and no time to establish any of the characters, made for a very un-enjoyable film. The movie underperformed with Batman Vs Superman being more profitable. Whilst the future of the series is still unclear, DC still have at least two more DC related films due to be released, with the studio more concentrated on it’s more successful TV series spin-offs.
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“Hello Horror Fans – It’s hard to get CROSS over this little list, as the films on this list are all enjoyable in their own special way. If only there were more films willing to make the LEAP and bring two or three movie GIANTS into the same film. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.