Superman v. Batman: Which Hero Has Fared Best at the Box Office?

Courtesy of Photofest
'The Dark Knight,' 'Superman'

The Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel will be seen for the very first time together on the big screen in 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.'

Who says people don't like bats?

Through the years, Batman has dominated over Superman at the box office, and by a wide margin.

The seven movies featuring the Caped Crusader have grossed $1.894 billion at the domestic box office, and $2.887 billion when adjusting for ticket price inflation, according to comScore and Box Office Mojo. (This list doesn't include the 1993 animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.)

The six Superman movies earned $810 million or so in North America, and $1.605 billion when adjusting for inflation. On average, the Batman films earned $270.6 million each, compared to $134.9 million for the Superman pics, not accounting for inflation.

Worldwide, Batman also beats Superman with total global grosses of roughly $3.714 billion, compared to $1.686.3 billion for the latter. (It's impossible to adjust for inflation because of the vagaries of foreign currencies.) Christopher Nolan's blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy, earning $2.464 billion worldwide, is the chief reason for Batman's dominance over Superman.

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, home of both superhero franchises, had a tougher time relaunching the Superman series and resurrecting the glory days of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Superman, starring Christopher Reeve and released in 1978, was Hollywood's first superhero tentpole and, when accounting for inflation, is the top-grossing title of any Superman film domestically with $499 million. Three more films were released before Superman stumbled badly. The series took a hiatus as Warner Bros. focused on the Caped Crusader, releasing Batman in 1989.

In 2006, Superman Returns failed to reboot the franchise, topping out at $391.1 million worldwide. Enter filmmaker Zack Snyder, who, with Nolan's help, turned out Man of Steel in 2013, introducing Henry Cavill as the latest Superman.

The movie grossed a solid $668 million globally and laid the groundwork for Snyder's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which marks the first time the two superheroes have appeared together on the big screen. Warner Bros. opens the $250 million tentpole around the world this weekend, including China.

And if prerelease tracking is any indication, that pairing could see Dawn of Justice gross north of $150 million. To date, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) boasts the top domestic opening of any Superman or Batman film with $160.9 million.

Here's a box-office breakdown not accounting for inflation.

Batman

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Domestic: $448.1 million domestic
International: $636.8 million
Total: $1.085 billion

The Dark Knight (2008)
Domestic: $533.3 million
International: $470.9 million
Total: $1.004 billion

Batman (1989)
Domestic: $251.2 million
International: $150 million
Total: $402.1 million

Batman Begins (2005)
Domestic: $205.3 million
International: $168.4 million
Total: $373.7 million

Batman Forever (1995)
Domestic: $184 million
International: $152.5 million
Total: $336.5 million

Batman Returns (1992)
Domestic: $162.8 million
International: $104 million
Total: $266.8 million

Batman and Robin (1997)
Domestic: $107.3 million
International: $130.9 million
Total: $238.2 million

Superman

Man of Steel (2013)
Domestic: $291 million
International: $378.1 million
Total: $669.1 million

Superman Returns (2006)
Domestic: $200.1 million
International: $191 million
Total: $391.1 million

Superman (1978)
Domestic: $134.2 million
International: $166 million
Total: $300.2 million

Superman II (1981)
Domestic: $108.2 million
International: $108.2
Total: $216.4 million

Superman III (1983)
Domestic: $60 million
International: $20.3 million
Total: $80.3 million

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Domestic: $15.7 million
International: $14.6 million
Total: $30.3 million

Source: comScore

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