Marvel vs. DC Movie Ratings Box Office Battle

Marvel vs. DC revenue and ratings comparison

It feels like Superhero movies have taken over, right? Since 2000, there has been a steady flow of these films including reboots of classics, reboots of reboots, and edgy versions (can we give Dark Knight a hollah?).

Here at Reviews.org we wanted to explore the quality of these blockbuster films — specifically, we were curious to see how critic ratings impacted performance. So, we took all the Superhero movies from 2000, looked at the money they made at the US Box Office on IMDB, and added the score they earned from Rotten Tomatoes. Here are our findings—assembled!

A FEW TAKEAWAYS

The graph follows the order you would expect, with better rated films earning more money, but if we look a bit deeper there are some more interesting findings.

Films made in the past five years tend to do better with higher scores on Rotten Tomatoes, where the early 2000s saw a lot more flops. This could be because of our advancements in special effects in the last ten years or the need for edgier movies to hook modern audiences.

DC Movies

DC vs. Marvel? There is hardly a debate when looking at the scores. Yes, DC was the publisher for Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Batman series, but other than that trilogy, most blue DC dots are chilling in the lower left hand corner of the graph: not well rated, not well watched. I guess DC may be the publisher we deserve, but not the one we need right now.

2016’s Suicide Squad (Oscar Winning, remember?) and Batman vs Superman have their own DC island, living it up in the low Rotten Tomatoes Score but high gross box office section. Does quality not matter anymore? Or do some people just like to watch the world burn? Wait—wrong Batman reboot.

While we’re talking about the Dark Knight, LEGO’s hilarious 2017 film scored highly with critics but didn’t break the $200 million mark in the United States. Why so serious, Batman fans?

…the ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Superman Returns’ score well with critics and made bank at the box office.

Superman, of course, is one of the most iconic superheroes, and his original tale is often linked to the American Dream. There have been countless TV series, movies, and merchandise made of the caped crusader’s story, buff figure, and down-home cowlick. Despite this, films about the man of steel made this side of 2000 have struck more kryptonite than gold. Aside from the disastrous 2016 Batman vs Superman, the Man of Steel and Superman Returns score well with critics and made bank at the box office, but it feels less culturally significant than say The Dark Knight, Captain America, or Wonder Woman. Maybe Kal-el’s time in Smallville has something to do with it?

Speaking of Wonder Woman, she has a paradise island of her own in the charts. Of 70 movies (that’s taking into account Marvel and DC), only three featured women as the protagonist. Catwoman (2005, DC Comics, 9% RT score), Elektra (2005, Marvel Comics, 10% RT score), and the most recent and record-breaking Wonder Woman (2017, DC Comics, 94% RT Score). Were the terrible scores of the 2005 films enough to keep women from playing these roles until DC decided to up the ante? Apparently so. But praise Zeus, because Wonder Woman’s popularity proves people shockingly enjoy stories about women, too. Who would have thought?

Marvel Movies

Let’s start with the obvious—this summer we will see our third Peter Parker in seventeen years. Tobey Maguire’s early 2000s series sits up with high-grossing and highly rated films. This could be on merit, or because these films came at the start of the of superhero film surge. Andrew Garfield’s Amazing Spider-man did okay on the chart but not amazing as the name would suggest, so we see a decline in quality and interest for the franchise. This poses the question: why are we getting a third Spider-man?

The Reviews.org team would have its doubts about the film’s success—if it wasn’t finally being co-produced by Marvel Studios itself. Since 2008, Marvel’s been striking gold while assembling the Avengers movie-by-movie, so it only makes sense they take back their friendly neighborhood Spider-man in the upcoming Homecoming. But only time will tell how the web-slinger re-debuts on July 7th.  

Iron Man’s films pretty much live in the <70% Rotten Tomatoes score and earn way over $400,000,000 in the box office.

Speaking of the Avengers, it is the most successful movie in this genre. You’ll see the first film in the top right hand corner, earning well over $600,000,000 in the US Box Office, with the sequel scoring less with critics but second in earnings. Independently, those who make up the team have films that do well, too. Iron Man’s films pretty much live in the <70% Rotten Tomatoes score and earn way over $400,000,000 in the box office. Chris Evans was forgiven for the disastrous early 2000s Fantastic Four films he starred in, eventually becoming Captain America and similarly crushing the box office.

And now Marvel has announced that it’s finally giving a woman superhero her own movie; it’s frustrating that it’s being pushed back for Infinity Wars. Look at Wonder Woman, Marvel! She’s crushing it and empowering people everywhere. Give us Black Widow!

For many reasons, results show the X-Men film franchise to be one of the more consistent and popular. While the movies themselves have certainly had their ups and downs in quality (X-men Origins, go to the corner, you’re grounded), they do get a lot of things right—according to the data, anyway. Maybe it’s because the series breaks from the usual beat-up-the-bad-guy formula of this genre and actually includes women and people of color for more than plot points? Or maybe people just really like Hugh Jackman? Who knows. But it is indisputable that these films scored highly (give or take an Origins) and earn a decent amount. In fact, together these eight films have made $12,808,780,630 at the box office.

THE DATA

YearFilmPublisherRotten Tomatoes ScoreGross (USA)
2000X-MenMarvel Comics81%$157,299,717
2002Spider-ManMarvel Comics89%$403,706,375
2002Blade IIMarvel Comics57%$81,645,152
2003The League of Extraordinary GentlemenDC Comics17%$66,462,600
2003X2: X-Men UnitedMarvel Comics86%$214,948,780
2003HulkMarvel Comics61%$132,122,995
2003DaredevilMarvel Comics44%$102,543,520
2004HellboyDark Horse Comics81%$59,035,104
2004CatwomanDC Comics9%$40,198,710
2004Spider-Man 2Marvel Comics93%$373,377,893
2004The PunisherMarvel Comics29%$33,682,273
2004Blade: TrinityMarvel Comics25%$52,397,389
2005Batman BeginsDC Comics84%$206,852,432
2005ConstantineDC Comics46%$75,500,759
2005The Legend of ZorroGrosset & Dunlap, et al26%$45,356,386
2005Fantastic FourMarvel Comics27%$154,695,569
2005ElektraMarvel Comics10%$24,407,944
2005Sky HighOriginal73%$63,939,454
2005The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-DOriginal20%$39,177,541
2006Superman ReturnsDC Comics76%$200,069,408
2006V for VendettaDC Comics73%$70,496,802
2006X-Men: The Last StandMarvel Comics58%$234,360,014
2007Spider-Man 3Marvel Comics63%$336,530,303
2007Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver SurferMarvel Comics37%$131,920,333
2007Ghost RiderMarvel Comics26%$115,802,596
2008Hellboy II: The Golden ArmyDark Horse Comics85%$75,754,670
2008The Dark KnightDC Comics94%$533,316,061
2008The SpiritDC Comics14%$19,781,879
2008Iron ManMarvel Comics94%$318,298,180
2008The Incredible HulkMarvel Comics67%$134,518,390
2008Punisher: War ZoneMarvel Comics27%$7,948,159
2008HancockOriginal41%$227,946,274
2009WatchmenDC Comics65%$107,503,316
2009X-Men Origins: WolverineMarvel Comics38%$179,883,016
2010Jonah HexDC Comics12%$10,539,414
2010Kick-AssMarvel Comics76%$48,043,505
2010Iron Man 2Marvel Comics72%$312,057,433
2011Green LanternDC Comics26%$116,593,191
2011The Green HornetHolyoke Publishing/NOW Comics80%$98,780,042
2011X-Men: First ClassMarvel Comics86%$146,405,371
2011Captain America: The First AvengerMarvel Comics80%$176,636,816
2011ThorMarvel Comics77%$181,015,141
2012The Dark Knight RisesDC Comics92%$448,130,642
2012The AvengersMarvel Comics92%$623,279,547
2012The Amazing Spider-ManMarvel Comics72%$262,030,663
2012Ghost Rider: Spirit of VengeanceMarvel Comics17%$51,774,002
2013Man of SteelDC Comics55%$291,021,565
2013Iron Man 3Marvel Comics79%$408,992,272
2013The WolverineMarvel Comics69%$132,550,960
2013Thor: The Dark WorldMarvel Comics66%$206,360,018
2013Kick-Ass 2Marvel Comics31%$28,751,715
2014X-Men: Days of Future PastMarvel Comics91%$233,914,986
2014Guardians of the GalaxyMarvel Comics91%$333,130,696
2014Captain America: The Winter SoldierMarvel Comics89%$259,746,958
2014The Amazing Spider-Man 2Marvel Comics52%$202,853,933
2014Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesMirage Studios22%$190,871,240
2015Ant-ManMarvel Comics81%$180,191,634
2015Avengers: Age of UltronMarvel Comics75%$458,991,599
2015Fantastic FourMarvel Comics9%$56,114,221
2016Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeDC Comics27%$330,249,062
2016Suicide SquadDC Comics25%$325,021,779
2016Captain America: Civil WarMarvel Comics90%$408,080,554
2016Doctor StrangeMarvel Comics90%$232,597,113
2016DeadpoolMarvel Comics84%$363,024,263
2016X-Men: ApocalypseMarvel Comics48%$155,333,829
2016Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the ShadowsMarvel Comics38%$81,987,616
2017Wonder WomanDC Comics93%$206,343,175
2017LoganMarvel Comics93%$225,885,681
2017Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Marvel Comics81%$355,474,332
2017Power RangersOriginal46%$85,067,486
2017Lego BatmanOriginal90%$175,686,290