Ranking Comic Book Movies...With Science!

Cardinals.Ken

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As a bit of background...

We've been arguing over comic book movies in the office the past couple of days. The main point of contention came about from my defending the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films as being not superior to the new Sony Amazing Spider-Man franchise, but that the Raimi versions were more significant to the genre.

So, armed with some free time in the office I set out to prove my point statistically. The criterion used was:

- Worldwide box office gross (adjusted to 2014 dollars)
- Profitability (as a ratio of box office vs. estimated production cost, not including advertising)
- Aggregate review rating from Rotten Tomatoes

Only movies based published comic books featuring a super hero (or super hero group), that were screened in movie theaters, were considered.

There weren't too many surprises, as far as I was concerned, but there were some interesting results beyond that overall rankings that I'll discuss in a later posts.

Without any further ado...here's the list!

1 The Avengers
2 Iron Man 3
3 The Dark Knight
4 Batman (1989)
5 Superman
6 Spider-Man
7 The Dark Knight Rises
8 Guardians of the Galaxy
9 The Mask
10 Spider-Man 2
11 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
12 X-Men: Days of Future Past
13 Iron Man
14 X2: X-Men United
15 Thor: The Dark World
16 The Amazing Spider-Man
17 Spider-Man 3
18 X-Men
19 The Crow
20 The Amazing Spider-Man 2
21 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
22 Wanted
23 Iron Man 2
24 Batman Returns
25 Batman Begins
26 Thor
27 Man of Steel
28 The Wolverine
29 Chronicle
30 Captain America: The First Avenger
31 X-Men: First Class
32 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
33 Superman II
34 X-Men: The Last Stand
35 Kick-Ass
36 V for Vendetta
37 Superman Returns
38 Blade
39 Batman Forever
40 Blade II
41 Hellboy II: The Golden Army
42 Constantine
43 X-Men Origins: Wolverine
44 The Incredible Hulk
45 Fantastic Four
46 Hellboy
47 Watchmen
48 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II
49 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
50 The Rocketeer
51 Dredd
52 Hulk
53 Daredevil
54 The Green Hornet
55 Ghost Rider
56 Blade: Trinity
57 Mystery Men
58 Kick-Ass 2
59 The Punisher
60 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
61 The Shadow
62 Green Lantern
63 Tank Girl
64 Spawn
65 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
66 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
67 The Phantom
68 Superman III
69 Judge Dredd
70 Punisher: War Zone
71 Howard the Duck
72 The Crow: City of Angels
73 Batman & Robin
74 Elektra
75 The Spirit
76 Barb Wire
77 Supergirl
78 Catwoman
79 Jonah Hex
80 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
81 Steel
82 Son of the Mask
83 Captain America

The following were omitted from the list due to insufficient data:

Batman (1966) - No Rotten Tomatoes scores
Swamp Thing - No box office gross information available online
The Return of Swamp Thing - No production cost information available online
 
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Cardinals.Ken

Cardinals.Ken

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Top 10 Worldwide Box Office Gross, adjusted for inflation:

1 The Avengers
2 Iron Man 3
3 The Dark Knight Rises
4 The Dark Knight
5 Superman
6 Spider-Man
7 Spider-Man 3
8 Spider-Man 2
9 Batman (1989)
10 The Amazing Spider-Man

Top 10 Most Profitable:

1 The Mask
2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
3 Batman (1989)
4 Chronicle
5 The Crow
6 The Avengers
7 Iron Man 3
8 Spider-Man
9 Superman
10 The Dark Knight

Top 10 Best Reviewed/Rated:

1 The Dark Knight
2 Guardians of the Galaxy
3 X-Men: Days of Future Past
4 Iron Man
5 The Avengers
6 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
7 Superman
8 Batman Begins
9 The Dark Knight Rises
10 Spider-Man 2
 

Chaplin

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Iron Man 3 at 2 and The Mask at 9 are very interesting. I also like The Crow in the top 20. Big fan of that movie.

Surprised that Amazing Spider-Man 2 is so high though--I guess the money put it over the top.
 
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Cardinals.Ken

Cardinals.Ken

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Iron Man 3 at 2 and The Mask at 9 are very interesting. I also like The Crow in the top 20. Big fan of that movie.

Surprised that Amazing Spider-Man 2 is so high though--I guess the money put it over the top.

The things that pushed Amazing Spider-Man 2 into the top 20 was the total gross, and the gross vs. production cost.I'm pretty sure that Sony pumped massive amounts of cash into promotion of the feature, but I can't account for that since it's not publicly available.

The (pleasant) surprise from this was Richard Donner's Superman. I knew it set-off the super hero genre and opened the doors for what we have today, but the fact that when I inflation adjusted it's gross ($300 million) into 2014 dollars that it came out to over $1 billion!
 

Chris_Sanders

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The best reviewed is almost my top 10 list except I really want the Crow in there. That and Spiderman 2 would slide ahead of Batman Begins. The wretched Dark Knight Rises would fall into the 20s.
 
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