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Superhero Showdown: Can The Avengers Top The Dark Knight Rises? [Op-Ed]

The Avengers vs. The Dark Knight Rises

Two heavyweight giants meet both the silver screen and audience expectations this year, and for the sake of this article, we’re not even counting Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which is pretty much guaranteed to rake-in your expendable income. We’re talking about the ultimate showdown – Marvel Entertainment’s The Avengers, the payoff that the company has been building up to for years, whetting our appetites for the better part of a decade with solitary efforts Iron Man, Iron Man II, Captain America, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk, versus universally-acclaimed director Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated conclusion to his Batman mythos, (successful with fans, non-fans, and critics alike) The Dark Knight Rises.

So. Which one will win our hearts this summer?

The Avengers is currently sitting comfy at the top of the box office. Foreign box-office sales are already at $178.4 million, just shy of a $200 million budget, and the critics love it (it currently holds a coveted 97% approval rating according to Rotten Tomatoes). All of that sweet success, and the film hasn’t even seen its US release yet – that happens May 4th.

The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t hit theaters until July 20th, and even though it’s pretty much a given that The Avengers will make a ton of cash, there looms its great rival, lying in wait until its opening in July. I’ve been following the development of The Dark Knight Rises, and I guarantee you this: no one, NO ONE, expects this movie to do poorly. In most circles, the question isn’t “can TDKR top The Avengers?”, it’s “can TDKR top The Dark Knight?” It’s highest competitor is its own predecessor. How’s that for perspective?

Let’s look at the spread. According to BoxOfficeMojo, The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman flick starring the late Heath Ledger) sits comfortably on top of the highest-grossing superhero movies of all time. You may have heard that the movie raked in just over $1 billion at the box-office, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time period. All three Spiderman movies follow under the superhero genre. Iron Man (who stars in The Avengers) doesn’t even place until 5th. Then the list drops. Thor in at 15th. Captain America in at 17th. The incredible Hulk? 24th.

This isn’t to say that Marvel hasn’t built up some impressive momentum with its stand-alone properties. Individual superhero flicks that build to an eventual team movie with almost all of the same actors? An impressive feat. The logistics of putting that together must have been a nightmare.

All it says is that unfortunately for The Avengers, Batman property is just more popular with audiences as a whole – and more familiar. Even 1989’s Batman directed by Tim Burton beat most of the Avengers’ individual joints, clocking in 8th place.

Plus, there’s marketing to consider. Ignoring the idea that most of Marvel’s stand-alone superhero films can pretty much be described as a handful of 2-hour-long commercials for the upcoming Avengers production, the characters of the film are everywhere right now – magazines, merchandise, website banners, etc. TDKR‘s campaign hasn’t even really begun yet. Thanks to Nolan’s guerilla-marketing style, we haven’t seen much of anything but whispers and shadows of TDKR, but that’s still more than enough to make it summer’s most-anticipated film.

So which film will win? Star-studded ensemble-and-explosions flick The Avengers, or the highly-anticipated, dark-and-gritty The Dark Knight Rises? The answer is simple: it doesn’t really matter. You’ve got a full summer of fantastic movies to look forward to. My opinion? Compromise. See them both.


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11 Responses to “Superhero Showdown: Can The Avengers Top The Dark Knight Rises? [Op-Ed]”

  1. Steven Morrow

    I whiff another biased DK fan. Bad writing. Let's take into account the piss-poor casting of Anne Hath- I-forgot- Ingenue-Doesn't-Guarantee-Talent(?)-away as Catwoman. Her cloyingly puerile and overly topical diatribes, waxing on about the 99% vs. the 1 %, in the obvious voice of a frustrated New Yorker hopeful who has been rejected once too much, is enough for me to wait for the DVD rental.

  2. Dean Evans

    Steven zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! If you are going to wait until DVD release you obviously don't like Batman, you must be a huge fan for Diluted DC sorry Marvel. Marvel must release a film with 5 stars in it to top Batman. I do like Iron man but they rest are second rate superheros.

  3. Robert Willert

    The writer has suggested that 'Thor' and 'Captain America' were simply '2 hour commercials' for 'The Avengers?' That silly criticism of two excellent films would be enough to boil any Marvel fan's blood. But I agree with Dean Evans…flim goers should go see both 'The Avengers' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' because they both sound like a lot of fun. Cheers to the super-hero universe.

  4. John C. Thomas

    adjusting for inflation and ticket sales, the list is ACTUALLY:
    1. The Dark Knight.
    2. Spider Man
    3. Batman (Tim Burton's 1989 version).
    4. Spider Man 2.
    5. Superman (Richard Donner's 1978 version).
    6. Spider Man 3.
    7.Iron Man
    8 Batman Forever.
    9. The Incredibles
    10. Iron Man 2.
    11. Batman Returns
    12. Superman II
    13. X-Men: The Last Stand.
    14. X2 – X-Men United.


  5. Anonymous

    Who cares who makes more as long as The Avengers makes enough to warrant more installments? That's all that counts. Having said that, The Dark Knight did as much as it did thanks no doubt to Heath Ledger's death. So unless Tom Hardy winds up face down in his bathtub, I'd expect the new film to fall short in box office. But only in comparison to TDK, It'll still make an obscene amount of money. As long as they're great films, who cares? Everyone wins!

  6. Gordon Knowlton

    wow your comments is idiotic and far off!!! Anne Hathaway is way better than the woman who played her character in the dark knight…

    who cares which movie wins? I like them both. The avengers was pretty good and I think they played it off great..the only thing to top the avengers?? DC Superheroes movie!!! My 4 year old loves superman and anything with superman and batman together will mop the floor with anything else.

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