Can superhero parodies rescue the porn business?

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 27, 2013 at 10:33 am •  Published: July 27, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — We all know he can leap tall buildings in a single bound and bend steel in his bare hands. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that during a time of crisis even the porn industry turns to Superman.

The same week in June that Warner Bros. released the Superman blockbuster "Man of Steel," Vivid Entertainment Group put out its own superhero flick, "Man of Steel XXX: A Porn Parody."

Although it's safe to assume that "Steel XXX" didn't quite match the $116.6 million opening weekend of the Warner Bros. hit, if it performs anything like 2010's "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody," it will become the most-rented and highest-selling porn video of the year. At a cost of more than $100,000, it will also be one of the most expensive porn movies made.

Parodies, once a cheaply filmed niche segment of the adult movie market, are big business these days — filled with expensive special effects, real story lines, actors who can (sometimes) actually act and costumes that even comic-book geeks find authentic.

The movies may also help save an industry looking to rebound from years of Internet piracy, illegal downloads and amateur videos that have caused a serious financial hit, said Mark Kernes, senior editor at Adult Video News. The business has gone from annual revenues of as much as $12 billion a few years ago to about $7 billion today.

"We certainly do have a problem with piracy ... and sadly no one seems to be able to do anything about it," said Kernes.

But now Superman is coming to the rescue, along with Batman, Iron Man and Spider-Man.

All four have taken star turns in full-length, slickly produced films that include hard-core crime fighting and, well, other hard-core scenes — although milder versions were made of some of the same films.

Neither the makers of the mainstream movies nor comic book writer and Iron Man creator Stan Lee wanted to comment. A person who answered the phone at Lee's office said he doubted Lee had heard of the parodies, and then hung up. Lee, himself, didn't respond to an email.

Marvel Comics also did not respond to requests for comment. Warner Bros.' DC Entertainment Division, which makes the Superman and Batman films, had no comment, said spokeswoman Courtney Simmons.

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