Marvel Studios to do less, while ‘Lord of the Rings’ to do more

While Disney scales back MCU production, Warner Bros. is ready to ‘Hunt for Gollum.’ PLUS: ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ is fantastic, James Gunn unveils his Superman, and trailers for ‘The Acolyte,’ ‘Twisters’ and more.

Marvel Studios to do less, while ‘Lord of the Rings’ to do more
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Andy Serkis as Gollum. / Marvel Studios, Warner Bros.

Hello. Welcome to the latest Friday edition of Popculturology. Hopefully you’re having a better week than the 44-foot whale that got dragged into Brooklyn on the front of a cruise ship.

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We live in a world of movie franchises. Sequels. Prequels. Reboots.

That’s not going to change. Star Wars is forever. The Marvel Cinematic Universe will never die. And Warner Bros. will keep trying to make Batman movies.

There is an ebb and flow to these franchises, though. Over the past few days, we heard from two studios going in two different directions with their major franchises.

On Tuesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that Marvel Studios will scale back its output.

“We’re slowly going to decrease volume and go to probably about two TV series a year instead of what had become four and reduce our film output from maybe four a year to two, or a maximum of three,” Iger said during the company’s earnings call. “And we’re working hard on what that path is.”

On the flip side, we have Warner Bros. Discovery. Since Warner Bros. and Discovery merged, CEO David Zaslav has been hungry to ramp up the studio’s franchise game, whether it’s done by putting James Gunn and Peter Safran in charge of a rebooted DC Studios or clasping hands with JK Rowlings to make a Harry Potter TV series a reality. One franchise that Zaslav has been eager to get back into theater is Lord of the Rings — and he’s ready to do so in a big way.