Marvel Vs DC: Which Hero Will Come Out On Top?
Monday 21st December 2015 | Ben
Fancy seeing Batman and Superman slugging it out on the big screen? If so, you won’t have long to wait much longer as their creator, DC Comics, is releasing ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ in 2016. It’s all part of its strategy to take on the hugely successful Marvel Studios with their superhero film releases.
A crowded battleground
Marvel has released twelve films since 2008 and, over the next four years, is scheduled to release another dozen at the rate of nearly three a year.
If this sounds like a lot of films in a shortish period, then bear in mind that DC is going to add to this total. Its offerings will mean at least 25 superhero-based films are scheduled for release over the next four years. Marvel and DC’s old comic book rivalry is officially switching to the silver screen.
DC has clearly watched Marvel’s huge success. With combined box office revenues approaching $9 billion across all its films to date, the Disney-owned subsidiary is the most successful franchise of all. A combination of multiple releases per year and films performing steadily at the box office - with some achieving genuine blockbuster sales - makes for a formidably successful movie making machine.
It certainly makes for an attractive investment option; shares trading company IG considers Disney the stand out film company with a “strong stock performance and decent valuation” according to Chris Beauchamp, a senior market analyst for the company.
The ‘Avengers’ line of films are especially successful: ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ - released earlier in 2015 - has passed the $1.5 billion barrier.
The strategy is clearly to expand the range of franchises and mix releases up so that no one ‘line’ such as ‘Avengers’ or ‘Iron Man’ becomes over exposed.
Working with its parent company Warner Bros, DC embarked on building its own franchises with ‘Man of Steel’ in 2013 which took a respectable $668 million at the box office. 2016 sees the release of the Batman v Superman film mentioned above with Ben Affleck playing the caped crusader.
Along with hopefully being a big hit, DC intend this film to act as a launching pad for other characters in their stable such as Wonder Woman and The Thor to wow film goers. DC has previously struggled to make big successes of anyone other than their ‘main men’ - Superman and Batman.
The company is clearly putting a lot of effort into grabbing Marvel’s crown; they’ve created ‘Justice League’ - its answer to ‘Avengers’ - and is looking to use Wonder Woman as an example of women playing the central superhero role.
Marvel plan to enhance female superheroes too - Angelina Jolie is discussing a possible ‘Captain Marvel’ film that may reverse the run of unsuccessful female superhero films of the past.
Can DC topple Marvel?
It’s obviously a tall order. Marvel has built a formidable operation with successful films and huge revenues along with a diverse range of franchises that the company carefully rotates film releases for.
DC will be hoping that Batman and Superman act as the gateway for its other superhero creations to engage with audiences. There’s also the concern voiced by some film industry observers that the whole superhero genre could become over-saturated with not one but two film makers releasing films in large numbers. Only the audience will know when its appetite has been over-whetted.
For now it’s hard to see Marvel losing its crown - but who knows what a combined force of Superman and Batman are capable of? It’ll certainly be an interesting battle.