Quick—pick your favorite superhero movie. Is it The Dark Knight? The Avengers? Ghost Rider? (Ha. Kidding.)
Outside of anything from the Dark Knight Trilogy, the film you chose probably fell somewhere in the Marvel universe. Despite DC's characters having a much longer presence in Hollywood, i.e. Batman and Superman, Marvel's movies have killed DC's in terms of combined box office numbers. For the two biggest comic book companies in the world (each owned by much bigger media companies), the grudge match isn't even a contest. Take this report by The Verge:
Taking every Marvel and DC property that made it to film into account, DC has made approximately $8.9 billion in ticket sales since 1978 after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, Marvel's characters (regardless of studio licenses) have taken in a cool $16.9 billion in a much shorter timeframe.
Yikes. The Avengers and Iron Man 3 are Marvel's two biggest gems, pulling in nearly $2.7 billion combined in worldwide receipts. The entire Dark Knight Trilogy, DC's claim to fame in the face of flops like The Green Lantern, earned about $2.4 billion. So, Marvel made more in two movies than DC was able to do in three. Batman Forever and 1989's Batman each made more than Batman Begins, the start of the Batman reboot.
Yet, things can change. DC, for what it's worth, is putting all of their hopes into an upcoming Justice League movie (and throwing Superman's "standalone" movie under the bus to do it.) But that might not even be enough to turn the tide. So far, Superman isn't proving so invincible after all.