How much money has every DC movie made? That includes the money for every Batman movie, Superman movie and other DC Comics movie in the universe. The DC/Batman/Superman movie money total comes to $6.6 billion.
The total take for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to $420 million as of 3/28/16.
The top earning movie in the DC canon is still 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises with a cool $1.08 billion. Next comes 2008’s The Dark Knight with $1 billion and 2013’s Man of Steel with $668 million.
Adjusted for inflation, the two Dark Knight movies still lead the pack, but 1978’s Superman moves into the #3 slot.
Batman vs Superman is the big question mark for the franchise. In the coming weeks, will the new movie slay or tank? The answer will decide whether DC movies will emerge as solid competition for the Marvel movie juggernaut. So far, Marvel movies have earned twice as much as Batman movies and other DC movies.
The tables below show the money for every Batman movie, Superman movie and DC movie. The first table shows the numbers adjusted for inflation. So does most of this article. The table at the bottom has raw box office figures.
1. The Dark Knight Rises (Batman movie) $1,117,487,272
The Dark Knight Rises made the most money of any Batman movie or DC movie, including all Superman movies. The 2012 film took in $1.12 billion at the worldwide box office in inflation adjusted dollars. With a budget of $250 million, that’s a nice fat $750 million dollar profit.
Rises is not only the Batman movie that made the most money out of all of them, it’s also the 16th highest grossing movie of all time. It’s #4 for superhero films in terms of box office take, behind three Marvel movies: Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3. The film earned $77 million in it’s first day of wide release.
Director Christopher Nolan said the movie’s theme is “pain.” By contrast, the said the theme of Batman Begins was fear and for The Dark Knight it was chaos.
Actor Christian Bale is the only actor ever to appear in three Batman movies. Bale dyed some of his hair to appear older in the role. Tom Hardy said for him the fight scenes were the hardest part of the movie. This wasn’t because he shied away from getting physical but because he felt like he was beating up his childhood hero.
2. The Dark Knight (Batman movie) $1,105,014,288
The Dark Knight made the second most money of any Batman movie, Superman movie or DC movie in general. The 2008 film pulled in $1.1 billion inflation adjusted dollars at the worldwide box office. With a budget of $185 million, that’s over $800 million in profit.
The Dark Knight is the 24th highest earning movie ever. It garnered an impressive eight Oscar nominations. That includes a posthumous award for Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger. The movie was filmed mostly in Chicago under the name of Rory’s First Kiss. It pumped $45 million into the city’s economy.
The movie made $540 million in North America. It was the highest grossing movie of 2008.
Sir Michael Caine has said he feels Heath Ledger one-upped Jack Nicholson’s impressive performance as the Joker in the 1989 movie Batman. Where Caine described Nicholson as a funny, scary uncle, he said Ledger was a believable psychopath. In fact, during Ledger’s first scene with Caine, he frightened the veteran actor so badly he forgot his lines.
3. Superman: $1,092,793,702
Superman in 1978 made the most money of any Superman film to date. It also earned the third most of any DC movie, including all Batman films. The movie’s box office take is an inflation adjusted $1.09 billion. It made $300 million in real dollars on a budget of $55 million.
Marlon Brando reportedly sued Warner Bros. for $50 million because he was convinced he had been cheated out of his fair share of the movie’s Box Office earnings. During filming, Brando wouldn’t memorize his lines. In one scene, he is reading his lines off the baby’s diaper. Because of Brando’s salary for the part of Jor-El, he was the highest paid actor in the world at that time.
The part of Superman was originally offered to Clint Eastwood, James Caan and Robert Redford. Eastwood turned the role down because he was too busy. Redford said the pay wasn’t high enough and Caan said there was no way he was going to put on “that silly suit.”
Every Batman Movie, Superman Movie and DC Movie Adjusted for Inflation
The table below shows every Batman movie, Superman and DC movie adjusted for inflation. The Dark Knight Rises rules the belfry with $1.18 billion, followed closely by The Dark Knight with $1.1 billion and 1978’s Superman with an inflation adjusted $1.09 billion. The stinker of the bunch is Swamp Thing from 1989. Even adjusting for inflation doesn’t help this miasmic loser. It raked in just $368,471 adjusted dollars. That’s just one fifth of its production budget of $1.9 million.[gdoc Error requesting data: cURL error 28: Operation timed out after 5000 milliseconds with 0 bytes received]
Also see: Marvel Movies Are Worth More Than Belize
4. Batman: $785,677,572
1989’s Batman has made the fourth most money of any DC movie, including all Superman and other Batman films. The film pulled in $786 million inflation adjusted box office dollars. Without adjusting, it earned $411 million and is still #4 in the lineup. Its budget of $35 million gave it a hefty profit of almost $400 million. That was earthshaking at a time when DC movies for the past seven years had made on average $20 million for five films.
Jack Nicholson reportedly made $6 million for portraying the Joker, plus a huge cut of the box office profits. His total take for the movie is estimated at $75 million. The cathedral Nicholson’s character climbs in the movie’s climax is actually a $100,000 scale model.
Costume designer Bob Ringwood studied over 200 comic books to get the inspiration for the Batman costume. He designed more than 25 different costumes and charged the studio $250,000 for his work.
5. Man of Steel: $681,406,428
2013’s Man of Steel made the fifth most money of any Superman or DC movie. It out-earned Batman Forever by $160 million in inflation adjusted dollars. The movie’s budget of $225 million made it less profitable at the box office than the other movies higher up the list.
Man of Steel made $291 million domestically. In real dollars it’s the highest grossing Superman movie of all time. In adjusted dollars it’s #2. The film made $117 million during its opening weekend. That’s despite only a 56% positive response on critic aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
Movie site IMDB claims star Henry Cavill refused to go on steroids for the role. That begs the question, do other superhero actors take steroids? Possession of anabolic steroids in the United States is a crime, punishable by as much as a year in jail. Either way, after Cavill’s shirtless scenes in the movie, Director Zack Snyder gave him a pizza and a tub of ice cream as a reward.
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6. Batman Forever: $524,985,465
The #5 film on our list of Batman movies, Superman and DC movies that made the most money is 1995’s Batman Forever. The movie made $525 million inflation adjusted dollars. It earned a non-adjusted $337 million on a budget of $100 million. The movie earned $53 million its opening weekend. That made it the biggest opening weekend for any movie at the time.
Batman star Michael Keaton turned down $15 million for the role because he had lost interest in the franchise. The film gets only a 41% positive rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
Star Jim Carrey originally planned to shave a question mark on his scalp. He had to abandon the idea because of a date in divorce court. Robin Williams was the studio’s first pick for the role of the Riddler. Williams turned down the role because he was upset that he’d been used as bait in the past. Apparently the studio had been in talks with Williams to play the Joker and had used him as a bargaining chip to woo their real dream actor: Jack Nicholson.
Also see: How Much Money Does J. J. Abrams Make?
7. Superman Returns: $461,475,807
Superman Returns made the seventh most money of any DC movie, including all Batman and Superman movies. The picture took in $461 million at the box office after inflation. It earned a real $391 million on a budget of $270 million. With a worldwide marketing budget of another $100 million, the movie only wound up $21 million in the black. Veteran X-Men director Bryan Singer deleted a “Return to Krypton” sequence from the movie. The deleted sequence added $10 million to the picture’s budget.
Superman Returns filmed in New South Wales and pumped $100 million into the economy there.
During filming, Kevin Spacey apparently drove around the set on a golf cart, dragging a Superman mannequin and shouting, “Superman must die!” through a megaphone. Spacey signed for the part of Lex Luthor without ever reading the script.
Also see: How Much Money Does John Boyega Make?
8. Batman Begins: $452,804,594
With $453 million at the worldwide box office, Batman Begins has made the 8th most money of any DC movie. That includes all Superman movies too. The 2005 movie made $374 million real dollars on a budget of $150 million. The movie made an impressive $48 million its opening weekend and opened to positive reviews. Development of the “Tumbler” Batmobile alone cost several million dollars.
Christian Bale said his Batman costume helped his performance. That’s because the suit was so uncomfortable that it put him in a constant nasty mood. Bale’s mood might have been lightened by the Batmobile if the director had let him anywhere near it. He didn’t. Bale never got to drive the multi-million dollar car.
During the scene where Bale and co-star Liam Neeson fight on the ice, the ice is real and it is really cracking. The following day it had completely melted.
9. Batman Returns: $450,929,799
1992’s Batman Returns starring Michael Keaton made the ninth most money of any Superman movie, Batman movie or DC movie. That’s $451 million inflation adjusted dollars or $267 million in real dollars. The movie’s budget was $80 million.
Michael Keaton earned $10 million for the role of Batman. Michelle Pfeiffer made $3 million for playing Catwoman plus a cut of the box office profits. She replaced the studio’s first choice: Annette Bening. The costume department made more than 60 catsuits for Pfeiffer at a cost of $1,000 each. Pfeiffer has since said the costume was vacuum sealed to her for filming. She could only wear the suit for short periods because of the danger that it would make her faint. After filming, the actress said she never wanted to see another catsuit costume, ever again.
During the shooting, there’s a scene where Catwoman has a bird in her mouth. Pfeiffer insisted on using a live bird because she thought the puppets looked too fake.
Also see: Leonardo DiCaprio Net Worth
10. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: $420,008,398
Warner released a statement saying there’s a disconnect between critics and regular moviegoers with this movie. That may be true. The movie gets only a 31% on critics aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Even the “positive” reviews are along the lines of, “It’s not terrible” or “It’s not the worst Superman or Batman movie ever.” Yet audiences do seem to be shelling out big time to see the flick. Whether that continues through the movie’s second weekend remains to be seen. Films that audiences hate seem to see big falloff to the tune of 60% or more their second weekend. Either way, the movie is likely to turn a solid profit, even with its super budget of $250 million. That means whether the critics like it or not, we’ll be seeing more of the same from Warner in the years to come.
11. Batman & Robin: $352,546,541
The #10 DC movie and Batman movie that made the most money is 1997’s Batman & Robin. The movie pulled in $353 million at the worldwide box office in adjusted dollars. Without adjustment it earned $238 million on a budget of $125 million.
Arnold Schwarzenegger earned $25 million for the role of Mr. Freeze. The movie had a $43 million opening weekend. After a terrible critical reaction, the movie’s earnings dropped 64% by the second weekend. The movie only gets an 11% favorable score on review site Rotten Tomatoes. Director Joel Schumacher has since apologized to fans for making the film.
Schumacher has since blamed commercialism for the film’s failure. The director has said he bowed to the studio’s pressure to make a movie that would serve as a marketing springboard. The idea was to sell a lot of toys.
Every Batman Movie, Superman and DC Movie in Real Box Office Dollars
The bulk of the data above is in inflation adjusted dollars. The table below gives the straight money dope, without adjustment. Seen this way, The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight still made the most money of any Batman movie or DC movie in history, with $1.08 billion and $1 billion each. The turkey of the bunch? 1951’s Superman and the Mole Men with an estimated $50,000 in earnings.
Batman/Superman/DC Movie Money Rank
Batman/Superman/DC Movie Title
Worldwide Box Office
|1||The Dark Knight Rises||2012||Warner Bros.||$1,084,939,099||$250,000,000|
|2||The Dark Knight||2008||Warner Bros.||$1,004,558,444||$185,000,000|
|3||Man of Steel||2013||Warner Bros.||$668,045,518||$225,000,000|
|4||Batman v Superman||2016||Warner Bros.||$420,008,398||$166,008,398|
|6||Superman Returns||2006||Warner Bros.||$391,081,192||$270,000,000|
|7||Batman Begins||2005||Warner Bros.||$374,218,673||$150,000,000|
|11||Batman & Robin||1997||PolyGram||$238,207,122||$125,000,000|
|13||Green Lantern||2011||Warner Bros.||$219,851,172||$200,000,000|
|15||V for Vendetta||2006||Warner Bros.||$132,511,035||$54,000,000|
|16||Superman II||1980||Warner Bros.||$108,185,750||$54,000,000|
|18||Superman III||1983||Warner Bros.||$59,950,695||$25,000,000|
|19||The Losers||2010||Warner Bros.||$29,379,723||$25,000,000|
|20||Superman IV: The Quest for Peace||1987||Golan-Globus||$15,681,758||$17,000,000|
|22||Jonah Hex||2010||Warner Bros.||$10,903,312||$47,000,000|
|23||Swamp Thing||1982||Embassy Pictures||$10,000,000||$3,000,000|
|25||The Return of Swamp Thing||1989||Lightyear Entertainment||$192,917||$1,000,000|
|26||Batman: The Movie||1966||20th Century Fox||$100,000||$50,000|
|27||Superman and the Mole Men||1951||Lippert Pictures||$50,000||$20,000|