Both The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers should be huge box office hits and make tons of money for their respective studios. However, only one of the films can ultimately hold the title of box office champion for 2012. So I decided to compare the two films in various categories in order to pick who is currently “winning.”
The Dark Knight Rises movie trailer vs. The Avengers movie trailer – I personally liked the first Avengers trailer better than the first Dark Knight Rises trailer, but I liked the second Dark Knight Rises trailer better than the first Avengers trailer. For a completely objective comparison, let’s go to the iTunes Movie Trailers views data. On it’s first day of release, the second trailer for The Dark Knight Rises was viewed a record 12.5 million times, shattering the previous record of 10 million views held by the first Avengers trailer. Marvel Studios really needs to release another trailer for The Avengers to get back in the game. The Dark Knight Rises is currently “winning” based on iTunes views data.
The Dark Knight Rises posters vs. The Avengers posters – The Avengers movie posters are very cool, but The Dark Knight Rises posters are works of art. The first Avengers poster with the big “A” and the words “Assemble 2012” is simple and goosebump inducing. The subsequent Avengers banners showing the cast members are pleasing and well-done. The first Dark Knight Rises poster cleverly recreates the Batman logo through falling buildings (and possible sneaks in the Superman logo as an easter egg). The second Dark Knight Rises poster provides the shocking words “The Legend Ends” with Bane walking away from Batman’s broken mask. While the Avengers posters deliver what fans want to see, The Dark Knight Rises posters actually elevate the conversation about the movie. In my opinion, The Dark Knight Rises posters are “winning” in this comparison.
The Dark Knight Rises buzz vs. The Avengers buzz – For this comparison, I looked to social media to see which movie appears to be generating the most buzz. While The Dark Knight Rises has certainly been the topic of conversation of late because of the second trailer, I wanted to look back at how both movies have been doing in the long run, so I turned to the Facebook fan pages of the two movies. While there are tons of fan pages for both movies, the official Facebook page for The Dark Knight Rises has over 325 thousand likes, while the official Facebook page for The Avengers has over 356 thousand likes. It’s a close battle, but currently The Avengers is “winning” the like battle on the biggest social media network.
The Dark Knight Rises cast vs. The Avengers cast – Both movies are jam-packed with stars, so it’s like two championship teams playing each other. However, if you had to pick the title star of both films, then it’s Christian Bale as Batman in The Dark Knight Rises and Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man in The Avengers. For comparison purposes, I went to Box Office Mojo, which revealed the lifetime gross total and average gross total for each star. Movies including Christian Bale have a lifetime gross total of $1,458,861,820 and an average gross total of $50,305,580. Movies including Robert Downey, Jr. have a lifetime gross total of $1,848,067,720 and an average gross total of $39,320,590. Looking at supporting cast, it becomes an even tougher comparison, as you have Samuel Jackson in The Avengers at a lifetime gross total of $2,812,941,488 and an average gross total of $52,091,509 compared to Morgan Freeman in The Dark Knight Rises at a lifetime gross total of $2,952,088,182 and an average gross total of $65,601,960.
It’s tough to say if lifetime or average gross is more important, because a star with a longer career would tend to have a higher lifetime, but the average number calculation can be thrown off by appearing in just a couple low grossing movies. This one is a very tough call, because both movies are “winning” in this category. In order to declare a winner, I’m going with The Avengers, just because of the longevity of Robert Downey, Jr.’s career.
The Batman franchise vs. The Avengers franchise – Ok, it’s time for a tiebreaker. While lots of arguments can be made over who is “winning” in terms of posters, trailers, buzz, and cast, historical performance is one of the best predictors of box office success. For this comparison, Box Office Mojo has a breakdown of the box office for the Batman franchise vs. The Avengers franchise (the solo films featuring The Avengers characters). In total gross, there is a clear winner with Batman at $1,449,683,452 compared to The Avengers at $1,123,337,474. However, the average gross becomes a little more complicated as The Avenger is ahead, unless the numbers are adjusted for inflation, which puts Batman ahead. The inclusion of the animated Batman: Mask of the Phantasm also really throws off the average for the Batman numbers. However, with The Dark Knight at #3 on the all time list and the only movie in either franchise to cross the half-billion mark, I’m going to have to declare The Dark Knight Rises is “winning.”
So overall, The Dark Knight Rises is “winning” in three of the five categories I selected for comparison. Of course, arguments could be made both ways in most categories, and there is still a lot of time before either movie is released, so things could change. Which of the two movies do you think will ultimately win the 2012 box office battle? Make your comparisons in the comments below.