Guardians of the Galaxy OBLITERATES August Record” – that headline is accurate – the huge opening of Guardians and the no doubt huge box office that will follow both domestically and around the world – has proven a big bet by Marvel has paid off. With the meteoric, and surprising success of this offering from Marvel – I think we should take stock of where the DC v. Marvel comic-to-movie battles stands. And full disclosure I lean towards DC, though I read Marvel and DC and have enjoyed movies from both sides….

We could look at ‘all time’, but I think that there have been many different era’s of comic crossovers, and the most relevant to this discussion (I believe) is the most recent decade. When Batman Begins hit the screens we entered a new era of investment by studios in comic franchises.

So how do we keep score? Well one easy answer is the box office – so we have all of that information at our fingertips and pull that in. We also have the fan and critic reviews – which we can look at thanks to IMDB Metascore / Fan reaction. So when we size all of that up – we can at least see what that tells us. Now film critics aren’t always right, and box office results don’t exactly translate to “better movies” – but these are out there and we can look at them.

Below is my “study” of these results and the conclusion is clear:

Marvel has more than double the film titles…

Marvel is dominating this new era of comic to movie film.

Now a very clear flaw with this look is that Marvel simply has more titles and more titles that have made it to the screen – so it’s not entirely fair to judge them on the basis of TOTALS. So let’s look at how they compare on averages, on a per film basis – who is winning?

Pound for Pound DC looking better…

Marvel is still winning at the box here – but the Fan’s and Critics give the edge to DC when you look on a per film basis. Part of this is just because Marvel has had more movies to dilute the quality somewhat, but still this does show that DC has the edge on quality in terms of audience and critic reaction. And don’t overlook Dark Horse Comics, who when looking at the per film results are very respectable, largely driven by the original 300.

Bottom line is this – DC Fan crew is not going to like the conclusion here – but Marvel is winning the Comics to Movie war at the box office…and they are starting to run away with it. Guardians only has 2 weeks of results in here – that franchise is going to be huge – probably going to be over $250MM in the US. Some may say, why should that matter (box office) – well it means for one thing Marvel is building a bigger audience, and that is important to any entertainment property.

What can change this?

Obviously DC is about to add a Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Justice League and Aquaman franchises to the mix. They need to hit all three of these out of the park – and, I believe they will need more. I also think DC has done great with Arrow (Green Arrow) – this post isn’t about TV, but I actually think DC could consider doing more long form TV to get their stories out there. Frankly, I think that is a better vehicle for the Justice League than a movie – but the Avengers has obviously got everyone worked up. I also think DC should make another stab at Green Lantern, it is one of their best titles and they simply botched it on the first try – there is no doubt in my mind that Green Lantern can be an amazing franchise for them in the same way Captain America and Thor have been for Marvel.

The outlook as I see it, is that Marvel is only going to build on their lead from here forward. They have so many franchises doing well.

OK fellow fans – what say ye? How does this look? What else should we be looking at? I hope we can get that DC v. Marvel rivalry stirred up here!

This post originally appeared on 

3 Responses to Marvel vs DC: Here’s Solid Proof That The Ultimate Winner Is…

  1. Lutz says:

    Great post. For me, there is no doubt that Marvel reigns supreme right now. Not only are Marvel movies more frequent and successful, but Marvel is making the movies themselves! They took the reigns and became their own studio maintaining total control. That control strategically built the Avengers, starting with Iron Man, then Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk. Brilliant work.

    All of that being said, I have enjoyed watching all these Marvel movies in the theaters. They are damn entertaining and I love watching my favorite comic book movies on the screen. BUT, would you really call any Marvel movie truly great? A great movie that will stand the test of time? The closest movie I think would be Iron Man – not the $600MM grossing juggernaut Avengers.

    But what IS a truly great movie is The Dark Knight, as is the entire trilogy. Does DC deserve the credit for this? Well, DC deserves the credit for getting Christopher Nolan. He and his brother co-wrote these movies and brought the Dark Knight to life. But without Christopher Nolan writing all DC movies, you end up with clunkers like The Green Lantern. When Christopher Nolan produces, you get a movie that LOOKS great and has ambition like Man of Steel. But in my opinion Man of Steel is NOT a good movie. If Christopher Nolan wrote/directed Man of Steel, I’m sure it would be different. I’m not holding my breath for Superman vs. Batman (but of course I will see it opening weekend!)

    My rank of best comic book films (not counting graphic novels):

    1. Dark Knight
    2. Batman Begins
    3. Dark Knight Rises
    4. X-Men 2
    5. Iron Man
    6. Spider Man 2
    7. Captain America 2

    It’s all a blur after 7…

    • John says:

      You and I are 100% in agreement on the “greatness” of the Nolan films. I think that quality wise, or “pound for pound” you have to give DC credit for the partnership that WB / DC have forged with Nolan. I honestly think Nolan will do less comic adaptation. He prefers original stories, and I believe that Batman afforded him an opportunity to get a huge production platform, but at the end of the day – his focus is on originality. I believe he wants to be the next Kubrick, not the next Speilberg.

      The Marvel universe can still do better. There isn’t as much of a “dark side” to the path they have taken. We see much more heroism and much less character complexity when Marvel puts stuff on screen. The one departure from that trend that I have seen is Bryan Singer’s more recent take on X-Men, I think that franchise has the opportunity to be more like what Nolan did with Batman. I actually would put Days of Future Past on your list after Cap2, I think it is hazy after Cap2 but I do think you could look at DOFP and compare it favorably to an Ironman 3, The Amazing Spiderman (either) or Avengers and give it the nod. I can’t say I agree with Spidey 2, I just don’t like Toby McGuire as Peter Parker – I loved Alfred Molina and I think that was the best spiderman yet, but I just feel that they have missed the mark consistently with Peter Parker now Andrew Garfield. It’s a VERY tough role to cast, but I think they have still missed.

  2. Lutz says:

    I hear you on less character complexity from Marvel on the screen, but that is only in comparison to the Nolan films. Without the Nolan films, what does DC have? Man of Steel? At best. And at worst Green Lantern. The more I see MOS, the more I don’t think it was a very good movie. There is a lot riding on B.v.S for DC to see if they really can build a franchise without the help of Nolan writing/directing.

    Good question on Peter Parker casting. I prefer Andrew Garfield vs. Toby Maguire, but agree that the casting isn’t yet spot on. Same of course for the supporting cast of Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone (although I like the Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield chemistry). Any Peter Parker suggestions? Very tough to cast indeed.

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