While comic book fans often debate the monthly Market Share war between rivals Marvel and DC Comics in the comic book Direct Market, and global box office figures are there for all to consume, there's a whole different race going on that fans usually don’t see — the revenue generated by licensed products.
And according to numbers that have surfaced from The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel wins … handily.
Licensing revenue generates billions of dollars for Disney and Warner Bros., but even the hottest licensed properties from DC are substantially behind Marvel's totals in licensing profits. Last month, Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara acknowledged the difference, stating that if he could just close the gap by half, the studio would earn an additional $150 million a year in profits.
According to The Hollywood Reporter graphics, the gap between the two licensors is substantial — with Marvel gaining huge ground in licensed products in the last few years. Spider-Man leads the pack, according to data released by The Licensing Letter, with global retail sales in 2013 of $1.3 billion, and The Avengers brought in $325 million that same year. In comparison, the publication listed Batman, DC's most-licensed character, with global retail sales of $494 million in 2013 and Superman at $277 million.