There are plenty of superhero movies coming out next year. Justice League, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and lots more with keep the spandex set in theaters throughout the year. Two of the biggest, most anticipated comic adaptation releases of 2017 are Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The former is the first movie to feature a solo female character starring in her own story. Black Widow has been part of Marvel’s Avengers universe since 2010 and other female characters have appeared in that series as well. But Wonder Woman is the first time a woman has lead her own movie franchise, with Gal Gadot continuing in the role after debuting in this year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Her part there was pretty small, though, and only hinted at the amazing potential of the character.
The latter, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (GotGV2) is the sequel to 2014’s huge box-office hit. Coming again from director James Gunn, it continues the story of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon, Groot and the rest of the rag-tag crew as they zoom around space and cause all kinds of mayhem.
The two come out just a little over a month from each other - Wonder Woman on May 7th and GotGV2 on June 17th - and are both, of course, based on existing intellectual property. But the respective studios, Warner Bros. and Marvel/Disney respectively, are taking very different approaches in selling them. Wonder Woman is a grim, gritty war movie about a warrior princess while Guardians is a light-hearted space comedy involving a sentient tree and his best friend, a talking raccoon.
There’s also quite a bit of difference in how the movies are being anticipated by the movie-going audience. The marketing/audience intelligence platform Affinio crunched some numbers surrounding the social media audience for both movies and found some startling differences in what segments are counting down the days to release.
Surprisingly, the demographics don’t seem to be very much in play. The age breakdown isn’t that different - there’s only a percentage point’s gap or less in any of the age groups - but there’s a notable change when it comes to gender. Wonder Woman’s audience breaks slightly more female, unsurprisingly, but not by much, 46.6% compared to Guardians of the Galaxy’s 42.3%. That’s unexpected considering Wonder Woman’s role as, again, the first female-starring super hero movie.
Where the differences become more pronounced is when you start to look at the other entertainment areas these audiences are interested in.
Wonder Woman’s fans identify as “female comic fans,” “teen girl pop culture,” “Marvel fans” and more, with the biggest clusters in “Democratic women” and “DC Comics,” the latter making since considering Wonder Woman is a DC Comics property.
Compare that to the Guardians audience. That group self-identifies as “Marvel super fans,” “hardcore gamers” and “sports fans.” The biggest clusters in this group come from interests like “movie buffs/Star Wars fans” and interestingly “moms.”
The combined groups overindex in categories like “comic book nerds” and “comic book movie buffs.”
If you look at the communities around “Marvel Fans” and “DC Comics Fans” you see that each one follows other accounts related to the company’s media properties. So the Guardians fan base follows accounts for Captain America, Thor, Avengers, Agents of SHIELD and more. Similarly, Wonder Woman fans follow DC Comics, Batman v Superman, Arrow and others, including the completely-unrelated Star Wars. Interestingly, the accounts people follow are representative of how Marvel and DC properties are represented outside comics, with DC fans following more TV shows (where the company is stronger) and Marvel fans more movies (where that company is stronger).
The location of each kind of fan is also notable. DC Comics fans in the US are more heavily focused on the east coast while Marvel fans are more spread out, with concentrations on both coasts as well as in the heart of the country, particularly the southwest.
There also seems to be a difference in the broader interest in the Marvel/DC characters among these fans. Guardians fans are tweeting primarily about the movie, whereas Wonder Woman fans, according to Affinio, are tweeting not just about the movie but about DC Super Hero Girls (the line of action figures that also has a tie-in cartoon and other products), Supergirl and. So there’s broader interest in other characters and properties based on DC Comics material.