New Study Reveals Why Marvel Does Better Than DC At The Box Office


Out of all the rivalries at the box office, it’s the one that exists between Marvel and DC that seems to spur the most debate, discussion and arguing between fans. It’s always been that way and always will be, with supporters of the former feeling that all of their output is pure gold while those who back the latter happy that there’s an alternative to the MCU, which has become a bit cookie cutter in recent years (though that does look to be changing, thankfully).

At the end of the day, though, what simply cannot be argued is that Marvel Studios usually does better financially, with almost every single one of their releases meeting and in most cases, exceeding expectations. That’s a trend which looks set to continue, too, and now, a new study has been published which attempts to explain why exactly the House of Ideas outperforms its biggest rival at the box office. Apparently, it all comes down to emotional attachment.

Without making things too complicated, ZappiStore tested viewers’ emotional engagement while watching trailers from both Marvel and DC using a “facial coding and emotion recognition platform called Affectiva.” What they found was that DC previews elicited a positive response from people during moments that included special effects and action, while Marvel’s output elicited those same reactions during character moments as well as scenes that included humor. What ZappiStore says, though, is that it’s those connections we have with the heroes on screen that produce more emotional engagement, thus leading to better box office returns.

What’s also interesting is that Marvel trailers beat out DC in both “brand linkage” (how well they fit with a respondent’s image of the comics) and in “regards to how well the trailer grabs attention and the degree to which respondents would share the advertisements with others.”

“We were surprised to see, across all trailers tested, that the emotional response was lower than expected for set pieces and special effects, particularly in the genre we were looking at,” ZappiStore research architect Ernie Collings said. “The results indicate the way DC can reboot and change characters across trilogies or between TV to film might be having a detrimental effect on how well the public connects with those characters.”

A rising tide lifts all boats, as the old saying goes, so the fact that superhero movies continue to rule over Hollywood’s calendar ought to be celebrated – regardless of whether you align with Marvel or DC. Still, the findings from this study are certainly interesting and will no doubt provide even more for fans to discuss as they continue to debate over which studio is superior.