ByJohn Lally, writer at
It all started with Star Wars and it has never stopped. Unapologetic defender of under appreciated movies at Follow @jla
John Lally

"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 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...
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!


Are you convinced? Is Marvel winning the battle of the Cinematic Universe?


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