I made an infographic in class that I thought was interesting. It shows the overall grosses for each tent pole superhero movie franchise. There is a Marvel Studios graph, a DC Comics graph, and a third one including Marvel’s licensed films by 20th Century Fox, Sony, Lionsgate, etc. Some of the information isn’t that shocking, but I still enjoyed discovering the highest moneymakers for each studio. For Marvel it was The Avengers, which should shock no one. For DC it is The Dark Knight, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice looks to overtake it soon. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Deadpool is now the highest grossing X-Film that Fox has made; hopefully he takes that stale franchise in a refreshing direction. Meanwhile, no Sony film has ever reached the market penetration of the first Spider-Man film.
The main thing I found while comparing graphs was that very few sequels actually gross more than the original. Look at Sony for instance; Spider-Man grossed $403 million dollars, with the two sequels each making $373m (million) and $336m respectively. Once they rebooted to The Amazing Spider-Man, grosses fell even further, hitting $262m and $202m. The X-Men films actually made more upon each sequel, starting at $157m, then $214m. Upon rebooting, X-Men: First Class made $146m with Days of Future Past almost becoming their highest grosser, partially due to the original cast returning. Fox’s Fantastic Four movies never made obscene amounts of money, with the first two making $154m and $131m, but no one expected the reboot to only pull in $56m.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Marvel Studios, whose MCU has never rebooted. Iron Man grosses grew with nearly each film, going from $318m to $312m to $409m for Iron Man 3. Thor grosses grew from $181m to $206m, and Captain America movies increased from $176m to $259m. The only main outlier is their flagship Avengers films, which went from grossing $623m to $459m.
I know this is a lot of dry numerical info, but I wanted it to spark a conversation. When a studio reboots a franchise, does it ruin your enjoyment of them? Everyone now seems to be tired of origin stories in general, especially for characters like Spider-man and Wolverine whose origins have been recounted multiple times. Do you think that the current movie universes will reboot any time soon? I doubt Marvel will attempt that, and DC, for better or worse, is locked into its BvS movieverse. Would you prefer to never see another reboot? Let me know in the comments.
Box office info for DC movies and Marvel movies from Box Office Mojo.