Contrary to popular opinion, the biggest superhero battle of the century won't be duked out with gadgets and laser eyes between the Dark Knight and the Man Of Steel on the big screen this March. It won't be a conflict between erstwhile allies Captain America and Iron Man this May. Rather, it will be fought with advertising and ticket sales between warring movie studios Warner Bros. and Walt Disney. The former, which owns the DC Extended Universe, and the latter, which owns the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will both release their superhero smashups within six weeks of each other this spring. So which will come out on top, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice or Captain America: Civil War ?
Obviously, we won't actually know the winner of this epic cage match until the tickets are bought and the profits are counted. But thanks to tracking reports, we can start getting a pretty good idea of what the picture will look like, starting with BVS's opening on March 25. According to Deadline Hollywood, the DC film is expected to have a worldwide opening gross of somewhere from $300-340 million. Doesn't sound too shabby, right? We won't have similar tracking numbers for Civil War until a bit closer to that film's May 6 release date, but we can at least compare BVS's numbers with previous Marvel films for now.
So, let's be gracious and assume that BVS will open at the high end of that estimate, with $340 million worldwide. Despite the rampant anticipation of seeing the world's two biggest superheroes punch each other in the face, that would only give the DC film the fifth-highest opening weekend for a superhero movie, coming in behind Iron Man 3 ($372.5 million), Spider-Man 3 ($381.7 million), Avengers: Age Of Ultron ($392.5 million), and The Avengers (also $392.5 million). Notice something about all four of those top-grossing films? They're all Marvel heroes — although one (Spider-Man 3) is from Sony, not Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A $340 million opening weekend would put BVS at #14 on the all-time list, between a Twilight movie and a Harry Potter movie, making it the biggest opening weekend ever for a DC movie. Moving down the list, the next biggest superhero movies are Deadpool (#22) and X-Men: Days Of Future Past (#22): both Marvel heroes. Currently, the biggest opening for a DC property is 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, clocking in at #25 with $248.9 million.
The fact that BVS is on track to do almost $100 million better than its closest DC brethren is impressive enough on its own… especially considering the sequel's predecessor, 2013's Man Of Steel, only managed a paltry-by-comparison $202 million opening. If BVS can hit its estimated mark — or even surpass it — and then grow from there for the studio's even-bigger sequels Justice League Part One and Part Two , then perhaps Batman and Superman can finally start giving Iron Man and Captain America a run for their money. (Literally.)
Until then, even if BVS outgrosses Civil War, Marvel unquestionably remains the victor in the battle for box office dominance… for now.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Giphy (2)