Paper Animation Explains the Numbers Behind Superhero Movies

DC vs. Marvel: Box Office Battle | Data Attack Conde Nast: Wired
DC vs. Marvel: Box Office Battle | Data Attack Conde Nast: Wired


Wanna catch a movie? Maybe a small family drama? How about a heartwarming romance? That might sound great, but it can seem these days like the only kind of movie you'll find screening in the megaplex is all about superpowers, saving the world and witty banter. (Well, all that and animated talking animals.) Yes, we're in the golden age of the superhero movie, with heroes of all sizes and shapes sharing their origin stories on the silver screen.

It's worth remembering that it wasn't so long ago that the idea of a comic-book movie seemed farfetched — Marvel Comics actually filed for bankruptcy only two decades ago, and the 2000 film "X-Men" really ushered in the current spate of movies. The rights to that franchise, as well as the Spider-Man and Blade movies that followed, were sold in a way to save the mighty comics publisher.

The fine folks at Wired decided to look into the numbers behind the current costumed crazed. As the stop-motion paper animation video above explains, you can look back to 1978's "Superman" and its then-staggering $55 million budget to better understand what's going on these days.

Seven of the 20 most expensive films of all time are superhero movies, but with great risk comes great reward — the past 13 films starring Marvel Comics character have all opened in the No. 1 box office slot, the most recent being "Captain Marvel: Civil War."

So if you're feeling a bit of fatigue, that's not surprising. But get used to it — it seems like secret identities and superhero team-ups are here to stay. There are 19 superhero movies coming in the next four years from the publishers Marvel and DC alone. Pile atop that other hero stories from smaller publishers, and even non-superhero stories sourced in graphic novels, and it looks like it's time to get ready for the marathon, frame by cinematic frame, panel by illustrated panel.