After years of teaming up together on television screens, comic pages and fanboy’s imaginations, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice finally brings The Last Son Of Krypton and The Caped Crusader together in the multiplex.
Despite more than a few negative reviews, the Warner Bros. tentpole film and DC Cinematic Universe stepping stone should be a sure thing at the box office, with $25 million in pre-sale tickets and $7 million from international markets already in WB’s coffers.
Even though audiences the world over will finally see super-powered fists fly, the two comic book icons have separately waged a decades-long battle for fans’ money. The following infographics show just how the Man Of Steel fares against the Dark Knight in the battlefield of financial success.
1. The Most Expensive Comics Sold
Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics #1 is easily the most coveted comic book in the entire medium, but Detective Comics #27, which introduced the world to a dark, purple-gloved, gun-toting vigilante named “The Bat-Man” remains a close second. The two issues’ fortunes continue to rise over the years, with both issues enjoying sales that eclipsed $1 million in 2010 within days of each other, but as they stand today, Action Comics #1 sits on the throne as the most expensive comic book of all time, with a single copy selling on eBay in 2014 for $3.21 million. That number easily eclipses the $1.38 million that remains Detective Comics #27′s highest sale.
2. The ”Classic” Era Movies: Box Office
Although Superman and Batman have both enjoyed decades of immense success in theatres, Superman was the first comic book superhero to attain true mainstream success on the silver screen (sorry, Adam West’s 1966 Batman: The Movie).
In 1978, dazzled audiences believed that Christopher Reeve could fly to the tune of $499.02 million in 2016 inflated dollars. Unfortunately, Superman films would never again reach such stratospheric heights, with the subsequent three films losing box office just as much as they plummeted in quality, culminating in a $34.89 million thud, courtesy of the ill-fated superhero cheapie Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
Batman had to wait until 1989 to enjoy his true debut on the big screen, with director Tim Burton’s dark tone and infectious Joker performance by Jack Nicholson transforming superhero movies, and the perception of Batman (sorry again, Adam West), forever. Like Superman, Batman’s subsequent three films experienced steadily decreasing box office, but they never suffered as hard of a drop as Superman. Batman’s classic era of films ultimately brought in over $400 million more than Superman.
3. The ”Modern” Era Movies: Box Office
From 2005 to 2013, Superman and Batman films finally coexisted within the same timeframe, making their box office battle more visceral than ever. Unfortunately for Superman, his two entries, 2006′s Superman Returns and 2013′s Man Of Steel, never came close to Batman’s big box office receipts. Anchored by the critically and commercially lauded The Dark Knight, Batman earned almost three times the money of Superman’s films, bringing in a inflation-adjusted total of $1.43 billion, compared to Superman’s $569 million.
4. Global Retail Sales
From lunchboxes and action figures to branded groceries and more (remember Superman Peanut Butter?), Superman and Batman are longtime reliable pitchmen for myriad different brands and products. However, according to The Licensing Letter in 2013, they simply can’t flex the same marketing muscle as Marvel’s Spider-Man, who lands himself in the three comma club with $1.3 billion in retail sales, compared to Batman and Superman’s $494 million and $277 million, respectively.
5. Movie Actors’ Salaries
Hiring a Batman or Superman for the silver screen requires two different considerations: Batman has often been played by a name actor, even if that actor, like Michael Keaton, wasn’t previously known as an action star. Superman, on the other hand, has a long tradition of being played by unknowns, although those actors often receive quite a career boost after donning the red cape.
As a result, Batman salaries have typically been higher than Superman salaries, simply because a higher dollar amount is required to net yourself a marquee actor. Christian Bale has earned the most out of all Batman and Superman actors, thanks to a $20 million bonus awarded after The Dark Knight vastly over-performed for Warner Bros.
However, Henry Cavill is starting to close the Batman/Superman pay gap, with his $14 million Man Of Steel paycheck only $1 million short of Christian Bale’s $15 million for The Dark Knight Rises, currently the highest movie paycheck for a Batman or Superman role.
As far as movies go, Batman still remains top dog in the DC superhero world . However, with the DC Cinematic Universe just getting started, and with a huge slate of releases to come, Batman and Superman will be sharing the screen, and box offices grosses, in the years ahead. Despite this newfound movie friendship, the battle for the dollars in fans’ wallets will surely continue, with fans taking sides with either Superman or Batman at the register.
Design Credit :Nick DeSantis, Forbes staff