Can Bloodshot Be Valiant Entertainment's Venom?

The first trailer for Sony's Bloodshot movie has been released, giving viewers a first look at what the adaptation of the popular Valiant Entertainment comic book character will be like. Hewing closer to a traditional sci-fi action blockbuster than say, a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Bloodshot doesn't give off the typical vibe of most superhero movies today. It does bring to mind one particular superhero film, however: Venom. Considering what's at stake with Bloodshot, the comparison is much more than superficial. Given the similarities, could the film do for the niche Valiant characters what Venom seems to have done for the wider Spider-Man characters?

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Dark and Gritty

Both Bloodshot and Venom eschew the traditionally family-friendly image of most superhero movies, namely those of the Marvel variety. Something missing from the Bloodshot trailer was a barrage of jokes and quips, replaced by intense, borderline graphic action. This tone easily sets it apart from many of its competitors in the genre. It's a key difference that will help it in its predetermined task of establishing its own universe of characters, a task which hardly any studio can compete with Marvel at doing.

Venom, while still filled with humor throughout, was similarly subdued compared to MCU movies. While that film was PG-13, it was believed by many to have been intended to be rated R. Bloodshot also seems to be PG-13, but from the trailers alone will be pushing the envelope for that rating. This tone could attract fans of more hardcore action movies, as well as those who might want to leave the kids at home for a change. There's also the fact that both of these characters hit their highest success during the grim and gritty era of the 1990s, and with '90s nostalgia right around the corner, Bloodshot may be able to find his niche again.

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Valiant Efforts

Valiant Universe

Both Venom and Bloodshot were made with the goal of not only becoming franchises for their respective protagonists, but also entire shared cinematic universes similar to Marvel Studios. In the case of Venom, if it had failed, then the plans for movies about much more niche Spider-Man villains would've easily fallen through. Now, Sony is moving forward not only with Venom 2, but also a movie for Morbius, the Living Vampire. While that film had been announced before Venom was released in theaters, if Venom had underperformed or been an unmitigated failure, there's no doubt that a movie about the C-list villain Morbius would've been shelved. Spider-Man himself couldn't appear in Venom, due to the dual custody of the film rights for the characters between Sony and Marvel Studios. Both the success of Venom and the tenuous situation currently between the two studios may allow the Wall-Crawler to appear in future installments, however.

Similarly, Bloodshot, a movie about arguably the most popular and iconic of the Valiant stable, will be the barometer of whether or not to bring the other characters to the big screen. Bloodshot is not only the most recognizable Valiant character but probably one of the cheaper ones to make a movie about. In other words, if the studio can't make a movie about Bloodshot work, they can forget a Valiant Cinematic Universe. Initially, Bloodshot was going to be the second movie in the universe, coming out after Harbinger. In September, however, Harbinger officially switched studios to Paramount. Though this may preclude any plans for a Valiant Cinematic Universe regardless, if Bloodshot is successful, it could, like with Venom and Spider-Man, make the separate studios play ball.

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Big In China

One big factor in today's blockbusters succeeding or bombing is their international box office intake, namely in China. Venom performed exceptionally well in China and owed much of its unexpected box office success to the country. Bloodshot should, and more than likely will, attempt to ride a similar wave. Vin Diesel is currently a big name, especially due to the Fast and Furious movies. Perhaps given their nature as quintessential American style blockbusters, those movies are very popular in China. Valiant themselves are also currently owned by the Chinese company DMG Entertainment, who, upon taking direct creative control in 2018, seem to be priming the characters for mainstream success. Both Diesel and Venom's Tom Hardy also had previous superhero movie ties, with Hardy portraying Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and Diesel voicing Groot in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy movies. By leveraging Vin Diesel's star power with the popularity of these types of movies in China, Sony could easily replicate what made Venom stay in theaters for so long last year.

Directed by Dave Wilson (VFX Supervisor for Avengers: Age of Ultron) with a script by Eric Heisserer (Arrival) and Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare), Bloodshot stars Vin Diesel, Guy Pearce, and Toby Kebbell. The film is slated to arrive on February 21, 2020.

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