Mashups should produce something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The Justice League Snyder Cut didn’t just give us short scenes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It gave us a four-hour epic that, despite its bladder-squeezing length, was watched by 1.8 million households in its opening weekend on HBO Max alone. The formula behind the new Warner Brothers movie “Godzilla Vs. Kong” is at least as old as Universal’s “Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man.” That movie, with Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, came out in 1943. The meeting worked so well that, five years later, moviemakers introduced Frankenstein to Abbott and Costello. (The comedy pair had such a good time, they went on to meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, and the Mummy.)
Since then, Alien has fought Predator, Freddie Krueger has gone toe-to-toe with the hockey-masked Jason Voorhees, and Jesse James has met Frankenstein’s daughter. (They didn’t hit it off.)
What all of these mashups try to do is capitalize on the chemistry of at least two charismatic personalities to produce something entirely new.
When it works, the result can be more than double the fun. And when it doesn’t work… the result can still be a lot of fun.
It’s not just movies and television that have benefitted from mashups though. They’ve long been a mainstay of comics. Novels have taken characters from classic fiction and moved them into new landscapes. And the music world, of course, has long brought together artists from different generations and different genres to introduce their works to new audiences. Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing The Little Drummer Boy is as much as crossover as Superman teaming up with Batman.
In video games, Minecraft has used skins based on characters from Halo and Gears of War. Sonic the Hedgehog has raced against characters from Monkey Ball. Yoda has battled in the world of SoulCalibur.
One place that has struggled with crossovers though has been the world of NFTs. Tokens traded on one blockchain are difficult to move to a different blockchain. It’s like Superman turning up in the Avengers.