Back in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with the release of “Iron Man” starring Robert Downey, Jr. A little more than a decade later, and the conclusion of the film universe’s third phase and the end of beloved heroes Iron Man, Captain America and Black Widow in “Avengers: End Game” became the world’s highest grossing movie.
Meanwhile, the DC Extended Universe of movies hasn’t quite reached that type of success. It’s not for a lack of name recognition, either. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are perhaps the three most popular superheroes in the world. Iron Man was a bit of a B-lister for Marvel compared to Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy were a complete afterthought. So why was it that Marvel has been able to post higher numbers than DC at the box office? Here’s a few reasons why.
1. Mapping the Universe
Even before the acquisition by Disney following “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk”, Marvel had a plan to create hype and build a universe, beating DC to the punch. It was teased from the first film that there would be an Avengers team-up, and the order of the films led to a culmination that became several team-up films that were box office smashes.
With that many people invested already into the Marvel universe, DC was lagging behind and went a bit out of order. Aquaman, a member of the Justice League, didn’t get his own standalone film until after their team-up movie. A lot of the hype was also died down because of poor reception on “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”.
2. The Humor Aspect
The DC films, for the most part, have been dark and gritty to a fault, in the opinion of many critics. People want to feel a wide range of emotions when they go to the theaters, and most of the DC films had the same tone with dark colors and filters and serious subject matter. There wasn’t a lot of humor, while Marvel started using bright colors and humor from the very beginning.
Even outside of the MCU, Marvel has had films like “Deadpool” that relied mostly on humor that have broken box office records. Even “Infinity War”, which deals with half of the universe vanishing from existence was filled with laughs. People have embraced the humor in the same way that Marvel has with their characters, making them more than one-dimensional.
3. Marvel’s Deep Roster
It seems that Marvel has delved deep into their character pool by giving standalone films to the likes of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. However, they aren’t even close to being finished. There are a lot of characters left that could join the MCU, including ones that have had their own movies like the X-Men, Blade and the Fantastic Four.
As for DC, the roster is a bit top heavy with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Outside of the rest of the Justice League, there aren’t many heroes left to work with. There’s the Green Lantern, but audiences already have a bad taste in their mouth with the Ryan Reynolds film. Reynolds hated the role so much, he joined Marvel as Deadpool and offed the past version of himself that was accepting the script.