In the cinematic universe, Marvel has dominated the market when it comes to iconic superhero movie franchises. This has been the case since Iron Man was released in 2008 – and almost another 20 movies since then, in particular the recent Black Panther film, which became the highest grossing solo superhero film of all time.
The other comic-book-turned-Hollywood franchise, DC, has never proven to be as popular as Marvel. Other than the highly successful Dark Knight films, Wonder Woman and Man of Steel, Marvel has critically and commercially been more successful. Testimony to this is their inspiration in other industries, most notably online gaming and the creation of games like the Jack Hammer online slot.
The answer might not just be as simple as we enjoy the Marvel films more. ZappiStore, a market research tech provider, has carried out a study that shows that people prefer Marvel films to DC because they can engage more emotionally with the Marvel superheroes.
ZappiStore was able to monitor a viewer’s emotional engagement by showing participants several Marvel and DC movie trailers and using a facial coding and emotion recognition platform called Affectiva. Affectiva was able to constantly measure the emotions that viewers express with their face, and also determine how likely participants were to share the trailer on social media.
The results showed that fr the Marvel trailers participants had a positive response to the humor and showed higher levels of emotion engagement with the characters, where as those who watched the DC trailers showed that their positive emotions were more from the special effects and the explosions rather than the characters.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was the best received of the trailers, with close to 80% of the audience saying it was the best. The trailer successfully managed to appeal to traditional comic book fans, and also those that previously might not have had much of an interest. Avengers: Civil War was the second most popular trailer, with 75% of viewers; DC’s Justice League was in third place with 71%, and Batman vs. Superman at 60% in fourth place.
Therefore, the study suggests that audiences respond well to special effects in movies, and DC is a huge franchise as a result, with many successful movies. However, humans beings emotional engagement the most, and characters that offer this to them are going to be the most appealing, and this is found more in Marvel movies, which explains why, overall, the Marvel franchise is the most successful.
DC Comics may, however, have a clear advantage now in a particular area in the online world. For years, Marvel has had very popular merchandise available, and recently added video games and online casino slots. It was a huge disappointment in 2017 when software developers removed Marvel games from online casinos, citing unrealistic licensing fees. Developers looked elsewhere however, and software giants Playtech and Cryptologic now offer casino slots featuring DC comics. Superhero fans that enjoy online slots now only have the one franchise to enjoy. Could this have a long-term favorable impact for DC comics? Only time will tell.