ByTrevor Norkey, writer at
Writer, filmmaker, actor and film enthusiast.
Trevor Norkey

Over the weekend, Captain America: Civil War started quite a bit of buzz when it surpassed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office less than two weeks after Civil War's U.S. release. This is quite a shocking feat for Civil War, as some predicted it would not come close to Batman v Superman.

Though it includes the two most famous superheroes in history, Batman v Superman did not perform as well as one would expect at the worldwide box office. It earned nearly $869 million, currently placing as the 46th highest grossing film of all time. Though this is still an outstanding achievement, it also means that 45 other films performed better than BvS.

Let's take a look at a few of the more shocking movies that performed better than Batman v Superman at the world box office.

1. Zootopia

By: $102 million

This may not be as surprising to some of us, as Zootopia is still currently the highest grossing movie of 2016. Though Civil War is expected to beat it, it is still the top of this year's list. Zootopia is one of many of Disney movies that have made more than Batman v Superman. Movies like Frozen, The Lion King, Toy Story 3, and Finding Nemo have all earned more than DC's $869 million.

2. Every Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie


  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - $3 million
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - $57 million
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - $251 million
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - $152 million
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - $89 million
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - $87 million

Though a few of these movies, like Return of the King, don't come as an enormous surprise, given the overwhelming success of the Lord of the Rings franchise, a few of the less popular names on this list are quite surprising. The Hobbit trilogy was a highly anticipated franchise, but many people lost interest after the first movie. Even so, every movie in both trilogies somehow managed to perform better than Batman v Superman, even when the hype for Battle of the Five Armies wasn't nearly as high.

3. Despicable Me 2 and Minions


  • Despicable Me 2 - $102 million

  • Minions - $290 million

Though the Despicable Me franchise is entertaining, it's hard to believe it was that entertaining. The fact that Batman v Superman earned nearly $300 million less than a movie like Minions may put a damper on what they consider to be a success.

4. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Ice Age: Continental Drift


  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - $18 million
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift - $8 million

Now I'd understand if Batman v Superman did not do well against the first two Ice Age movies (which it actually beat out), but making less than the latter two movies of the franchise? Personally, I don't know anyone who went to see these movies in theaters, even with their kids, so I am appalled that Batman v Superman ranked lower than either of these films.

5. Shrek 2

By: $51 million

I honestly wasn't too shocked by this one, as Shrek and Shrek 2 are both terrific animated movies, and Shrek 2 was certainly quite popular when it came out. What is surprising about it, though (that also applies to many of the other films on this list) is how this ranks higher than Batman v Superman before inflation is even considered. There were 12 years between these movies. The price of a movie ticket has gone up quite significantly during that time, so even more people would have had to go to see Shrek 2 to get it up that high.

6. Every Harry Potter movie except Prisoner of Azkaban


  • The Philosopher's Stone - $106 million
  • The Chamber of Secrets - $10 million
  • The Goblet of Fire - $28 million
  • The Order of the Phoenix - $71 million
  • The Half Blood Prince - $65 million
  • The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - $91 million
  • The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - $473 million

The Harry Potter franchise was previously the most successful franchise of all time, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came around, so this list isn't all too surprising. However, though it makes sense for the later parts of the franchise to be better than Batman v Superman in the box office, I was rather shocked to see the first Harry Potter movie to beat out DC's super-fight. Noting that it beat it out by $106 million makes it even more surprising.

7. Spider-Man 3

By: $22 million

There are many who consider Spider-Man 3 to be one of the worst superhero movies of all time. It is even used as a reference point for over stuffing movies with too many characters. So, if the movie was really that bad, how then did it manage to make more money than Batman v Superman? As good as many of us believe Batman v Superman to be, if it can't even beat out Spider-Man 3, is it really enough to start an enormous franchise? However, it does seem DC is making necessary changes to improve their movies, so we should not be too worried.

Though it wasn't my favorite superhero movie of all time, Batman v Superman was enjoyable. I was very shocked to discover that it ranked lower than some of the movies on this list. It may have made quite a bit of cash, but when it ranks lower than movies like Spider-Man 3 and Ice Age: Continental Drift, is it really that great of a success?

Of course, this is not the last film in the DCEU franchise. With more and more films piling in each year, we should expect that each movie will make more money each time. And furthermore, money is not what is important in the long run, seeing as there are many movies with poor stories that ranked rather high in terms of gross (Transformers: Age of Extinction, etc.). Perhaps we should take this list with a grain of salt.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!



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