Posted on Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 by Russ Fischer
The battle between Marvel and DC was fought in the aisles of comic book stores and in the minds of fans for decades. In the past decade it has moved to the movie screen and box office. And despite being a relative newcomer to the movie business, Marvel isn’t just trouncing DC in the world-building department. The company is winning at the box office, too. (These things may be related.)
Below, check out a chart that graphs the global box-office performance of major features by Marvel Studios and DC movies produced through Warner Bros. over the past decade.
While it isn’t included below, the most interesting number might be the per-film average: $365m for DC pictures and $620m for Marvel. DC has many more films on the chart, but each studio has two big earners that make up for some of the smaller movies. (Nolan’s second and third Batman movies for DC, and The Avengers and Iron Man 3 for Marvel.)
Take out DC’s three lamest dogs (Catwoman, Jonah Hex, and The Losers) and their per-film average leaps to $473m per film. That’s a lot better, but Marvel’s sense of control is working in the company’s favor. If Marvel had made The Runaways and released it as effectively a B-picture, we could have seen the company’s per-film average dip by $100m. Was DC taking chances with those films, or was each just a calculated risk based on then-current factors?
And while Constantine may have been a risk, it still outperformed Green Lantern, which featured a more familiar character, and was more heavily marketed.
The /Filmcast’s Dave Chen created this graphic, and based it on Marvel Studios productions and WB’s work with DC over the past decade. Fox and Sony’s licensed Marvel output are also not factored in. Finally, revenue from merchandizing, product placement money, and other ancillary revenue streams is outside the scope of the chart.
Marvel clearly has a good thing going, and we’re seeing other companies begin to emulate that approach. Now the question will be whether or not DC can catch up as it implements the Batman vs. Superman plan and puts other heroes on screens.