Check This Out: The Evolution of the Superhero Movie Graph

November 20, 2009
Source: KoldCast TV

The Evolution of the Superhero Movie Graph

There's really no denying that superhero movies are in their prime right now. Years ago, no one thought comic book adaptations would become the mainstream mega-hits that they are today. And to show us the history and evolution of that genre, we've got another great graph to feature today called The Evolution of the Superhero Movie. This comes from the guys who made the Sequels That Bombed, $400 Million Club, and Harry Potter Directors graphics previously. This is one of my all-time favorites though, just because it's dealing with an area of cinema that I'm very familiar with. And so with that, check this out fullsize below.

The Evolution of the Superhero

This graphic originally comes from KoldCast TV, although I was given permission by the creators to run it here. There are a lot of fascinating stats found on this chart. For example, 68% of all superhero movies are from Marvel, which is an impressive majority. Not sure if that includes movies like Blade, but it's still a good number. Additionally, it's both amusing and completely unsurprising that the three biggest bombs are the three Punisher movies. They might as well give up - a Punisher adaptation will never work. And of course, I'm glad to see Batman as the top-grossing franchise, slightly above Spider-Man. Now your thoughts?

Find more posts: Cool Stuff, Discuss, Editorial



Cool graph, but I have one beef- they don't list ANY of the Superman sequels! Sure, Superman III and IV are better left forgotten, but Superman II was the third-highest grossing film of 1981, and they don't even bother listing it?! I always find it depressing how everyone gives Supes the short shrift. I mean, they listed all of Batman's sequels, including it-that-shall-not-be-named! In other words, it's like they're saying that the fist half of the 80s never happened! Still neat, though.

Andrew on Nov 20, 2009


Alex you say that you are glad to see Batman as the top grossing franchise! Well I guess everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. There has only been two good Batman films. The first "Batman" film in 1989 and "Batman Begins" are very well done. I am still not convinced that "The Dark Knight" was a great film. Without Heath Ledger that movie would have been pretty ordinary, and it would not have made the money that it did. I Hope that one day soon Superman will return to be the biggest franchise of them all. Without "Superman The Movie" and it's kick ass sequal "Superman II" we would not be seeing the comicbook films that we see today. I just wish we could erase Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns". As bad as "Superman III" & "Superman IV" are, I'd still take those films anyday of the week over Singer's Borefest of a film. At least in "Superman III & IV" we still had Christopher Reeve playing the character the way he should be.

Last Son on Nov 20, 2009


#2 - Yes we all have our own opinions, that's fine. I just believe that, despite the ruckus this may cause, The Dark Knight is potentially the best movie of this decade. Batman Begins, as well, was one of my absolute favorites. That's why I'm happy to see Batman up there. 🙂

Alex Billington on Nov 20, 2009


But if you removed Heath from the film then it wouldn't be The Dark Knight would it? That's like saying that you should remove Marlon Brando from The Godfather or remove Harrison Ford from Imdiana Jones. It neglects that they're a part of the movie. Anyways, I'm disappointed that the Superman franhise isn't listed.

SlashBeast on Nov 20, 2009


meh at DC.

JoJo on Nov 20, 2009


Incomplete graph imo, whay are not all films listed, and with each their bar showing cost/earnings. Good try, thou KoldCast TV

David Banner on Nov 20, 2009


Warzone was as close to a Punisher comic come to life as you're going to get, at least of the Max Comics series. If that doesn't work then no punisher movie will ever succeed.

Chris H on Nov 20, 2009


How is Howard the Duck a Superhero? Comic sure, but so was A History of Violence, Sin City and a slew of others who had much more super-hero type lead characters than Howard. Perhaps he should've just named it Marvel vs DC Superheroes. And to all you Punisher haters: Dolph Lungdren and Tom Jane were great as the Punisher (didn't see Warzone yet), they just needed good scripts and/or directors, so a good Punisher is more than possible. People said the same crap about Watchmen, and that was a good movie. (Yes the plot was over-done, tho written decades ago, and Silk Spectre II was a bad characer. Period)

Akirakorn on Nov 20, 2009


Akirakorn, watch Warzone. If you have read any Punisher comic within the last decade you'll see a lot of similarities in Warzone. But Warzone bombed worse than the other movies. I personally loved it, as a big Punisher fan I felt this was very spot-on. The only way to get the masses to accept Punisher is to turn their backs to the comics and go in a different direction. A direct comic translation clearly didn't work. But Warzone is still incredibly awesome in my book.

Chris H on Nov 20, 2009


#2: I completely agree with everything you said. Superman for me is one of my favorite heroes and the 1st film is still one of my favs in this genre. Superman Returns was pretty cool but i cant wait for the next film in the franchise!

Nikhil Hariharan on Nov 20, 2009


Note to Hollywood...don't do any more Punisher movies.

Brad on Nov 21, 2009


How the hell is Howard the Duck (not a superhero) listed and Supeman 2 isn't?

Governor on Nov 21, 2009


Really cool graphic. Just look at all the discussion it generated and debate about what's included -- I guess that is the purpose and good news for attention to s/hero movies.

MgbPeregrine on Nov 21, 2009


The Dark Knight the best movie of the decade? You're a loony.

pm on Nov 21, 2009


#14 - pm "Potentially". Please read before you write.

SlashBeast on Nov 21, 2009


#12.. yeah.. how is Howard the Duck on there... plus it is one of my favorite random movies... no clue why, just random and fun.

Dusty on Nov 21, 2009


Iron Man needs to be on that graph.

Cyc on Nov 22, 2009


What about Hulk?

Chem on Nov 22, 2009


I thought that Terminator 2 was the first film to have a $100 million budget?

Seann on Nov 22, 2009


ok here is one subject i can really poor my thoughts 😀 First of all the answer to the one question thats bugging us viewers? which one is the most succesfull and grossing superhero movie of all? thx KoldcastTV for providing monetary figures to back up what maybe most of us new but wasnt sure or forgot. Its "Superman: The Movie" and there is no arguement about it. even the figures speak for it the money put in to it has paid 5 times over in grosses where our most recent success is only about a close 4 times. Superman II - IV should definetely be on this list and not to forget that Superman II is one of the most succesfull sequels ever made, (T2 is also being one hell of a sequel just like Aliens were) now adays every movie tends to use more and more cgi effects where we get lost. cause we cant really realte a a cgi as a human we have to feel that the thing is actualy takes up space in the film. not an addon patched after the movie is shot and placed to the actors void line of gaze. that is why District 9 has accomplished a lot in this subject. used perfect prop+cgi balance and achieved a great sense of real looking movie. film makers should really gotta think wise and go with a more realistic setups ways to fleshout our fav comic heroes to life. they shouldnt go for the easy solution. they should definetely see that big budget, big cgi grafics doesnt guarantee a good movie and a huge grossing blockbuster. Honesty to the origins of the character, a good story most definetely is a more sure way to get the bigbucks they want to make. and about the bombs: The latest Punisher, Punisher:War Zone was the closest to a good adaptation of the character (and this doesnt mean that the previous ones were bad. lets be realistic, Lundgren Punisher was the first superhero donned the leather more realistic approach to hero outfit, can held its own against anyof the super heroes flick of his equal league (daredevil ,etc), Janes Punisher was a rock solid Punisher really good setup, great fight scenes, but kinda weak frank castle in character and the villain fell short. The latest Punisher was almost succesfull on all counts. good character display, good castle, better punisher, better villains may be a bit rushed release date resulted to its failure in monetary figures-and almost every firend that i talk and over the internet i read from punisher fans the warzone was a success in our, punisher comic book readers, eyes.) Howard the duck was a fun movie to watch even as the comic is not for every one to read. but it was a fun watch at the time. other so called failures Daredevil, Electra etc when we look at them they all look like failures. (but i must insist that the directors cut version of Daredevil is kinda good. it delivers a nice story ) but why. can it all be because plain good heroes where not so many visual effects required, are doomed to fail due to our consumption based, rate it due to its cgi ratio, budget, director etc oriented movie goers choices. or because of their lack of story development and telling and directing and acting?? stating that, i gotta mention a great superhero movie which was not a big budget movie but a great success, a cult, which was neglected to be mentioned in this list. The Crow. gotta pay the devil his dues. i believe amongst with superman the movie, superman II, Batman returns, and lately the watchmen, batman begins, The Crow should also be named as one of the greatest comic book to live action adaptations ever made. so until The Avengers hit the big screen and devours all expactations and prove to be the next biggest hit lets just take our seats and watch them 😀

burak "Daequitas" on Nov 23, 2009


hmmmmm, ok dark night would be nothing without heath ledger, but also Chris nolan has great vision and i dont doubt he can aid in producing another great film, as for which movie made the most, Superman with out a doubt takes the cake on that one, i am not a big dc fan at all but im tipping my hat to the man of steel. But i will never go on gross for a movie anymore, with the amount of torrents etc.... you never know how many people would have watched the movie.

splinter on Nov 23, 2009


hmmmmm, ok The Dark Knight would be nothing without NOLAN. His vision made the franchise.

SlashBeast on Nov 23, 2009


#22- kodos

splinter on Nov 23, 2009


I think the Incredibles should be there....come on! Howard the Duck is there!

Bald Zombie on Nov 23, 2009


Warzone: If the movie had been like that/those R rated trailers, it would have been win. 2 best action trailers I have seen last year or so. Warzone was only OK, and that is sad. So very, very sad. Btw, Howard the Duck is a horrorfilm.

David Banner on Nov 26, 2009


You're all getting it wrong. Dark Knight not having Heath Ledger is not the point. That's like saying Spiderman wouldn't be as good without James Franco playing Harry Osborn..... It may be true but it's not the point. The real point is Dark Knight wouldn't have did ANYWHERE NEAR as good if some actor in it (who happened to be Heath Ledger) didn't O.D. I purposely didn't see the movie in it's opening week because it didn't deserve my attention merely because an actor died. Yet I knew every other pathetic person would be screaming to see a dead guys last (or second last) role and that makes me sick that Spider-man was overtaken by the death of an O.D'er. It had nothing to do with the acting ability. It had nothing to do with the storyline and that's the way it goes. It's all about the hype. Fact is, sure Superman was the original successful superhero movie but until Spider-man came along superhero movies were virtually non-existent. Spider-man is the true hero that paved the way for all the great movies we've seen in recent years (including Dark Knight). As for biggest bombs - I just saw Punisher: War zone a couple of days ago. It starts off as just pointless violence. It made me think to begin with "not another flop" but as I got into it and as I focused on the fact that Punisher isn't a superhero in the traditional sense, I realised that movie was made probably exactly as it should've been made. So it didn't gross as much as other superhero movies. So what? For true fans of for people who just wanted to see a violent movie it was probably exactly what the doctor ordered. I liked Punisher: War Zone and I liked the 2004 Punisher even more. I'm not saying I'd rank them as greatest movies but I still liked them a fair bit. 1989 Punisher was utter rubbish (although my cousin disagrees with me). Elektra - also rubbish and not a person on Earth disagrees there, hence why Elektra should be the biggest bomb. And what about Ghost Rider? Honestly I can't see how that can be considered any better than Punisher when it has not point to it at all. Hey, here's an immortal being, he kills people, end of story. Wow. I'm suprised DC didn't come up with that one...

Big Vinny Diesel on Nov 28, 2009


Big Vinny Diesel, wipe that cum off your face.

SlashBeast on Nov 29, 2009

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