Marvel vs. DC Superheros: Which Movies Make More?

by Adam Benjamin | June 11, 2013 10:57 am

spiderman[1]The Marvel vs. DC debate has been going on for decades, and right now Marvel holds the advantage — at least at the box office.

According to Bloomberg[2], Marvel’s comic book films have generated 47% more revenue than DC’s. Marvel, now owned by Disney (DIS[3]), has also produced more films than its rival. Marvel properties have been featured in 28 films in the past 15 years, compared to 23 films in 35 years for DC, a Time Warner (TWX[4]) subsidiary. The average gross for Marvel’s films is $190 million — far better than DC’s $129 million average.

A few things boosted Marvel’s average, most notably The Avengers, whose $623 million domestic total is the highest of any superhero film. A strong Spider-Man franchise also helped, earning more than $1 billion across four films — with one more in production.

DC’s best performer was 2008’s The Dark Knight, which brought in $533 million dollars. The film’s success came partially from Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, which earned him a posthumous Academy Award. No doubt, Batman is DC’s most successful superhero at the box office, accounting for six of the company’s seven highest-grossing films. This week’s Man of Steel, the latest Superman movie, should boost DC’s average. (A rumored Justice League movie, with its potential to spin off a Wonder Woman franchise, would also help.)

A final note: The Bloomberg article notes that Marvel was helped by inflation. Adjusting ticket prices to reflect that rise puts the averages much closer. DC’s adjusted average is $194 million[5], compared to $215 million[6] for Marvel — a 10% difference.

Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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  2. According to Bloomberg:
  3. DIS:
  4. TWX:
  5. $194 million:
  6. $215 million:

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