Special Report

10 Most Valuable Comic Book Movie Franchises

1. Spider-Man
>Franchise rank by worldwide gross receipts: 1 ($3.96 billion)
>Franchise rank by U.S. gross receipts: 2 ($1.58 billion)

>Number of movies in franchise: five
>Studio: Columbia

>Top grossing movie in franchise: “Spider-Man” (2002) ($403.7 million)
>Production budget: $139 million
>All-time domestic U.S. sales rank: 16
>All-time worldwide sales rank: 44

When the initial “Spider-Man” movie was released in 2002, the movie was the top grossing film in any genre that year, it boasted the top opening weekend gross receipts of any movie that year, and it sold more tickets than any other PG-13-rated movie. Spider-Man first appeared in a Marvel comic book in 1962 and his creation is credited to writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. Spider-Man was also among the first (or perhaps even the first) teenage superheroes who was not the sidekick of some older superhero. Four of the five franchise movies are among the top 12 of all time in gross ticket sales. The next live-action film in the franchise is on the schedule for summer of 2017 and the first animated Spider-Man film is due in 2018, both from Sony.

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2. Batman
>Franchise rank by worldwide gross receipts: 2 ($3.8 billion)
>Franchise rank by U.S. gross receipts: 1 ($1.9 billion)
>Number of movies in franchise: eight
>Studio: Warner Bros./Time Warner

>Top grossing movie in franchise: “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) ($1.08 billion worldwide)
>Production budget: $250 million
>All-time domestic U.S. sales rank: 7
>All-time worldwide sales rank: 12

Batman first appeared in a comic book published by DC Comics in 1939. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger and was originally called “the Bat-Man.” The character got his own self-titled comic book in 1940. “The Dark Knight” (2008) was released just a few months after actor Heath Ledger, who played Batman’s nemesis, the Joker, died. The next film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” posted the third-best opening day gross of the year in 2012 and the third-best single day gross that year. Only six of the seven “Batman” movies have been released internationally: 1993’s animated “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” sold just $5.6 million in U.S. tickets and was not released in foreign markets.

3. X-Men
>Franchise rank by worldwide gross receipts: 3 ($3.05 billion)
>Franchise rank by U.S. gross receipts: 3 ($1.3 billion)
>Number of movies in franchise: seven
>Studio: Fox

>Top grossing movie in franchise: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014) ($748 million worldwide)
>Production budget: $200 million
>All-time domestic U.S. sales rank: 107
>All-time worldwide sales rank: 60

The X-Men first appeared in a Marvel comic book in September of 1963, the creation of the writer Stan Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby. The first movie in the franchise, “X-Men,” was released in July 2000 and has grossed $157.3 million in the United States and $296.3 million worldwide. Of the seven films in the franchise, three place in the top 20 based on gross U.S. receipts for comic book adaptations, with “X-Men: The Last Stand” from 2006 at number 16, edging out “X-Men: Days of Future Past” at number 17 by less than $1 million. The next installment of the series, “X-Men: Apocalypse” is due in late May of 2016.

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