Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Fall of Heroes

There is another social trend that has been unfolding in the last several months, which again indicates that we are in a bear market. This has to do with the correlation between the stock market and people's perception of "good vs evil." that was uncovered a number of years back.

Social mood apparently plays a role on the perception of "good vs evil" as follows:

Bull market trend -- Good guys vs bad guys, heroes are celebrated.
Peak of bull market -- Everyone is a good guy
Bear market trend -- There are no good guys or bad guys. Heroes are trashed. Anti-heroes are embraced.
Bear market bottom -- Everyone is a bad guy

The place where this trend is most apparent is the movie industry. Just this year alone, Thor, X-Men: First Class, and now Green Lantern, all amounted to box office disappointments. Although the movie industry is declining in general, the disappointing debuts of this year's superhero movies, then much larger drops in subsequent weekends, are all indicative of declining social mood as the larger bear market trend resumes with the advent of Primary wave [3] down. This trend is already being noticed by movie pundits, as evidenced by the recent article on Box Office Mojo.

In contrast, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 both came out during Cycle wave b (2003 - 2007), a blow-off top in social mood. Both movies scored large opening weekends and large domestic grosses. Even Iron Man 2, which came out last year during the second half of Primary wave [2] up, scored well with the movie going audience. Iron Man and The Dark Knight both came out in 2008 when social mood was still at very high levels, although The Dark Knight managed to blur the lines between hero and anti-hero to a large extent.

In a stunning development that made the news a couple of days ago, Spider Man is going to be killed off. There is more information about the development here. From a socionomic perspective, this is a very big deal. Killing off a major character was considered unthinkable. Spider Man debuted in 1962. Over many years, the iconic character weathered through the major recession of 1966 - 1974, the recession of 1977 - 1982, and the recession of 1990 - 1991. This development underscores the larger social trend at work, namely, the trashing of heroes and the embracing of anti-heroes.

In the near term, expect movies that feature superheroes to continue to disappoint at the box office. By 2012, social mood is expected to decline to a sufficient extent that movies featuring superheroes will possibly outright bomb, not just disappoint. Expect movies featuring anti-heroes, such as pirates, to find increased success at the box office starting next year.

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