Superhero movies are all about pure escape – they transport audiences to a world where good always conquers evil – lifting comic books off the page and onto the big screen. Today’s superhero films use technology to its limits, depicting ever more incredible scenes as new advances are made in CGI, IMAX and motion-capture. Let’s take a look at two hero movies that have simply stormed the box office in recent years – Marvel’s The Avengers and Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.
The Avengers was released in May 2012 and it tells the story of a determined gang of Marvel comic book heroes including Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who join forces under the leadership of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to save the world. The Dark Knight Rises came out two months later, in July 2012, and was the third film in the Dark Knight Trilogy following Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). In the film, Batman, played by Christian Bale, must leave self-imposed exile to once battle with Bane and save Gotham City from terrorist forces.
Each film received a great reception from fans and critics alike but which of these two fantastic stories stole the show for its studio and enjoyed the biggest success?
For market experts, it is the share price performance that is the mark of success. During the seven days following the release of The Avengers, IG noted that the share price of Disney rose by 3.4%. Meanwhile in the same period following The Dark Knight Rises’ arrival in cinemas, Time Warner’s share price actually dropped a little, by 0.9%.
The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises took $1.52 billion and $1.08 billion respectively, and in terms of all-time box office rankings claimed 4th and 14th places. In fact, it must be said that, overall, The Avengers comes out on top. For Disney, who released The Avengers, it contributed to record profits of $5.6 billion and a market cap of $78.27 billion. However, The Dark Knight Rises also did exceptionally well on behalf of its studio, Time Warner, which exceeded profit expectations and achieved a market cap of $34.5 billion. During the first three days after release, the Batman film claimed $160.8 million, a figure that starts to look less impressive when compared to the $207 million generated by The Avengers in those vital few days.
Looked at side-by-side, it’s clear to see that The Avengers was the most successful film overall and, likewise, Disney walks away as the overriding winner in the battle of the superhero movies. Furthermore, since Disney bought Marvel Entertainment is 2009, its share price has rocketed by 250%, an impressive (and heroic) rise.