The thing with Aquaman is that I suspect general audiences are, in fact, still going to be impacted by Super Friends or how he's been depicted outside comics on who he is.
I really don't think that's true. The last time Super Friends
was on television was nearly 30 years ago. The primary target audience for a blockbuster motion picture is males in their teens and twenties, people who weren't even born yet when the show was cancelled. Most of the people these movies are being made for would either never have seen Super Friends
or would only have picked up a few memes about it from Cartoon Network promos and Robot Chicken
In fact, a target audience in their teens and twenties would know Aquaman mainly from his appearances in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold
, and Smallville
, if they were aware of him at all. And all of those have portrayed him as a powerful and effective character.
General audiences are afraid to go into movies that may have story behind them they're not familiar with.
Since when? That didn't stop Iron Man, Thor
, and Captain America
from succeeding. It didn't prevent the Bourne movies from succeeding.
I've said it many times -- blanket generalizations about what categories of movie can work and which ones can't are always wrong and misguided, because if it were that simple to predict success and failure, then everyone would know how to make a successful movie and nothing would ever fail. But obviously that's not the way the world works. You can't predict success or failure by category. A movie of any category can succeed if it's done right, or fail if it isn't. Heck, that should be obvious by the vast number of failed copycats of any successful film or TV series. Imitating the category doesn't result in the same success, so the category was not the reason for success or failure.
Blanket generalizations like the ones you're making are just myths that people invent out of a desire to get a handle on how the world works. They want there to be simple, predictable patterns that they can understand. But the fact is, you can't predict what will work, can't lump successes into one easily defined category and failures into another. The success or failure of any given film is going to be the result of any number of factors -- including the skill of the filmmakers, good fortune in casting and actor chemistry, the efficacy of the promotion, the strength or weakness of the competition, and a lot of luck. You just can't generalize, can't predict what's viable and what isn't. The only valid generalization is that any movie of any category has a better chance of success if it's well-written, well-cast, and well-made than if it isn't. But even with the best imaginable talent on a project, it can still fail. And conversely a film that nobody expected to work can be a breakout hit.