# Super Hero Movie Math – DC Films Edition

Chris Morris

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#### Super Hero Movie Math – DC Films Edition!IMHOby Chris Morris

This all started a while back when I wrote the article Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Final Verdict. That lead to me wondering about the box office “profits” of other such films, namely Super Hero Blockbusters! Last week I wrote about Marvel Studios Movie Math and this week it’s DC Film’s turn! While they don’t have the same linear timeline as the Marvel Films, and potential momentum going from film-to-film (with exception to the Nolan-Batman films) these are modern examples of DC’s brand of “superhero movie”.

##### RELATED: Super Hero Movie Math – Marvel Studios Edition!

Here’s the math I used to determine this…I’m going to copy and paste from my last article, cause writing about math makes my head hurt…

“So how does this whole math-thingy work? As I said before, Marketing, on an average, costs around \$100 million, so we’ll assume that for all the films mentioned, even though some could have spent more or less. Foreign Box office numbers out of China are a mystery to most Hollywood insiders, so we’ll keep those numbers the same. But Domestic, on average, usually ends up divided in half between studios and theatres. So Budget + Marketing = Total Expenses. Then Domestic + Foreign Box office = Total Box office. But Domestic is divided by two. So Domestic in half plus Foreign = Total Box Office. Then Total Box Office minus Total Expenses and we have our overly-simplistic-most-basic-possible-for-a-non-math-guy-like-me “Total”. And using this rudimentary method, we get an idea of which movies were the most profitable….”

I started with Superman Returns, just as a way to compare Superman’s Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill, plus getting numbers on Bryan Singer’s Superman movie will be interesting later on when we talk about his X-Men films. I didn’t go back to, say, Superman with Christopher Reeve, cause that is like comparing apples to oranges. And it might be unfair to compare Batman/Superman movies with Watchmen and Jonah Hex (with Hex being a Western and no capes in sight) but they are all under the “DC” banner, so…

Superman Returns (2006)
Budget \$204 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$304 million

Box office:
\$200 million domestic
\$191 million foreign
= \$391 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$100 million)
Total Box Office = \$291 million

= – \$13 million

Batman Begins (2005)
Budget \$150 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$250 million

Box office:
\$207 million domestic
\$167 million foreign
= \$374 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$103.5 million)
Total Box Office = \$271.5 million

= \$21.5 million

The Dark Knight (2008)
Budget \$185 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$285 million

Box office:
\$535 million domestic
\$470 million foreign
= \$1.004 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$267.5 million)
Total Box Office = \$737.5 million

= \$452.5 million

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Budget \$230 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$330 million

Box office:
\$448 million domestic
\$637 million foreign
= \$1.085 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$224 million)
Total Box Office = \$861 million

= \$531 million

The Watchmen (2009)
Budget \$130 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$230 million

Box office:
\$107 million domestic
\$78 million foreign
= \$185 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$53.5 million)
Total Box Office = \$131.5 million

= – \$98.5 million

Jonah Hex (2010)
Budget \$47 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$147 million

Box office:
\$10.5 million domestic
\$356 THOUSAND foreign
= \$10.9 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$5.25 million)
Total Box Office = \$5.55 million

= – \$141 million

Green Lantern (2011)
Budget \$200 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$300 million

Box office:
\$116 million domestic
\$103 million foreign
= \$219 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$58 million)
Total Box Office = \$161 million

= – \$139 million

Man of Steel (2013)
Budget \$225 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$325 million

Box office:
\$291 million domestic
\$377 million foreign
= \$668 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$145.5 million)
Total Box Office = \$522.5 million

= \$197.5 million

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Budget \$250 million
Marketing \$100 million
Total Expenses = \$350 million

Box office:
\$330 million domestic
\$542 million foreign
= \$872 million
– 1/2 domestic (\$165 million)
Total Box Office = \$707 million

= \$357 million

So, in order of profitability or unprofitability:

1- The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
= \$531 million

2- The Dark Knight (2008)
= \$452.5 million

3- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
= \$357 million

4- Man of Steel (2013)
= \$197.5 million

5- Batman Begins (2005)
= \$21.5 million

*and this is where Profitability ends…

6- Superman Returns (2006)
= – \$13 million

7- The Watchmen (2009)
= – \$98.5 million

8- Green Lantern (2011)
= – \$139 million

9- Jonah Hex (2010)
= – \$141 million

So…this is awkward…

No wonder WB has been hesitant and patient when it comes to DC films. Unless a movie has “Batman” in the title, it doesn’t make much money. This actually explains ALOT about what WB/DC has been doing with the brand over the past ten years. Why every cartoon/home video release has to have “Batman” in the title…why every toy is somehow Batman-based…

Now, if you are just looking at THIS list, and you see the Profitability of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, then if you were a WB exec, you’d be doing cartwheels. But, compare these numbers to Marvel Studios and you really see how far behind WB/DC is.

If we combined the two lists, there are four Marvel movies that were more profitable than Dark Knight Rises (Avengers, Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3 and Civil War). Man of Steel, the big reboot of the greatest super hero of all time, made almost \$200 million profit. BUT you know what made more money? The Ant-Man movie! The Guardians of the Galaxy movie made WAY MORE money than Superman. Does that mean those are more recognizable characters? Not at all. It points to the afore-mentioned momentum that Marvel has right now. Right now, they have a rep like Pixar did a few years ago…that if they make a movie, it will be good. DC doesn’t have that. Frankly, they have the opposite of that. Bizarro-momentum if you will…

Hopefully Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman are going to turn the ship around…FINGERS CROSSED!

Biggest surprise…Batman Begins only made \$21 million? I guess WB had a lot of faith in Christopher Nolan in order to make two Batman sequels, and it paid off!

Not really a surprise but…I knew Green Lantern and Jonah Hex both bombed but DAMN!

Next time…Fox’s X-Men Universe!