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And You Thought It Would Fail

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"If I had a penny for every time someone said making a Marvel movie with a talking raccoon was dumb and that Guardians was going to bomb, I'd probably have just about the amount of money Guardians has made so far."
James Gunn on the expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

There are two ways the It Will Never Catch On trope could play out: it actually doesn't, or this. A work of literature, film or television — just getting started, purely original (if there is such a thing), unaffiliated with any previous book, movie or TV show, or if it is an adaptation, the work is relatively obscure — has little hope of standing out among the established goldmines of franchises. Critics mock it. The public isn't expecting it. It gets even worse if things go awry on its production. Then, when released, it pulls a megaprofit stunt and becomes an instant classic. Contrast with Vindicated by History, where a work initially fails but then gradually builds a very high reputation.

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Subtrope of Sleeper Hit; in this case, the work must be actively derided before release, not just ignored. Compare It Will Never Catch On. See also Magnum Opus Dissonance when it's the creator who doesn't expect the work to succeed. It can also be combined with Hollywood Hype Machine, if the contrast between expectations and popularity is too great, and some of the audience turns to the initial fears as still meaningful.


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