There are a lot of movie fans out there who aren’t particularly excited about the Power Rangers. For those that didn’t grow up with the series or those that were never fans of the classic tokusatsu programs much of the appeal is lost. Sure, the Power Rangers were incredibly popular but their grip on America only lasted for a few years compared to the cultural icons they are in Japan. In the U.S. their reign in entertainment was as much about action figures as it was about shows and films. They weren’t ingrained into society like the Marvel superheroes who had backgrounds in comics and 50 plus years of history before hitting it big with the movies.
But it’s exactly because of franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Power Rangers has a chance to succeed. One way of thinking of these heroes is that they’re a younger generation’s Avengers, and people who grew up fascinated by them will have a chance to enjoy the movies. One write-up of seven reasons to be excited about the upcoming movie mentioned that there is enormous franchise potential here, with six to eight total films planned, so it definitely looks like Lionsgate is planning to build an empire.
To better understand the potential for this budding franchise, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how much Hollywood has gotten into sprawling, interconnected movie universes—even beyond the aforementioned superhero movies. Take the upcoming Kong: Skull Island movie, which is already coming out with promotional content. This movie is expected to take place in the same “universe” as that of the 2014 Godzilla movie from Gareth Edwards (director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Both projects belong to Legendary, and it seems to be a given at this point that the two monsters will meet on screen at some point in the next few years. Whether or not other monsters and side narratives are introduced remains to be seen.
We’ll also be seeing plenty of other monsters in another connected movie universe, Universal’s upcoming “Monster Universe.” The company is planning to reboot its stable of classic, creepy characters from throughout cinematic history starting with The Mummy. The follow-up will be an adaptation of The Invisible Man, a horror character that many modern viewers might be less familiar with. The character has already been resurrected from literature in the form of an installment in Universal’s slot gaming series. The game gives audiences a taste for the classic story as cryptic clues and characters from the original film spin around slot reels. But when Johnny Depp brings the character to life on screen, possibly in 2018, we’ll have another massive franchise on our hands. After The Invisible Man, Universal is eyeing Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, and the rest of the monsters from the movies.
And then of course there are the new Star Wars films, which hardly need to be mentioned. Capitalizing on generations’ worth of fan support, Disney is poised to release a Star Wars movie every year from now until the end of time, if they so desire.
It’s because of the success and marketability of all these franchises that Power Rangers has a good shot of succeeding itself. There are plenty of people who were passionate about the Rangers growing up and continue to be fans of the Super Sentai adaptations today. These different clumps of characters are able to cash in on these audiences because the groundwork for them has been laid already. It helps if the movies are good on their own as well, but Power Rangers ought to have a built-in audience. Power Rangers comes out on March 24, and it could wind up being the start of something big.