It’s an age-old question for any comic book fan – DC or Marvel? Do you prefer the Justice League, or the Avengers? Superman or Spider-Man? Well, here at BetKentucky.com, we've taken a break from Kentucky sports betting to crunch the numbers to reveal the most popular superheroes and superhero films across the Bluegrass State.
As any fan will know, Marvel is gearing up for a busy period, with three Phase Five films coming out in 2023 and a further four expected to hit screens in 2024. Of course, DC Comics are also keeping busy, preparing a string of long-awaited releases, including the solo screen debut of The Flash. And with The Suicide Squad’s director James Gunn stepping in as co-CEO of DC Studios, fans can expect lots more exciting new films on the slate for 2024 and beyond.
But which superheroes and comic book films are the most popular across Kentucky? Read on to find out.
While the competition between Marvel and DC Comics has been raging for decades, when it comes to popularity in Kentucky, there can be only one winner – and the mighty Marvel reigns supreme. In fact, with 76% of the vote vs DC’s 24%, there’s really no contest.
The difference is slightly less pronounced in nearby Virginia (64% Marvel vs 36% DC), though neighboring Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia all recorded scores of at least 70% in favor of Marvel. In fact, Maryland is the only U.S. state with an almost-even split (55% vs 45%).
When it comes to the state’s favorite superheroes, Marvel’s dominance isn’t quite as clear cut. In fact, there are a couple of DC representatives in Kentucky’s top five.
In second, we have the Dark Knight himself, Batman, who’s been portrayed by the likes of Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and Robert Pattinson in recent years, joined by the extraordinary Wonder Woman in fifth.
Meanwhile, taking top spot, the most popular superhero in Kentucky is Marvel’s Spider-Man. There have been eight live-action Spider-Man films with various incarnations of the role, which might explain why Peter Parker's super alter-ego has remained so popular.
Sticking with Marvel, the other heroes to make the top five in Kentucky include the mighty lightning-wielding Thor and Captain Marvel.
When it comes to the state’s favorite Marvel films, there's a clear winner overall. Avengers: Endgame was the grand finale of Marvel's Phase Three, bringing the stories of the original Avengers to a conclusion and wowing audiences around the world.
Not content with being the biggest movie release of the entire MCU and the highest-grossing film of all time at the time of its release, Avengers: Endgame crushed the competition to be voted the most popular Marvel movie, with a staggering score of 38.
The title of second most popular superhero movie goes to the Phase Three classic, Black Panther, which scores 20. It might not have crushed all of the box office records the way Avengers: Endgame did, but Black Panther was the first superhero film to receive a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and it actually won three Oscars! But not only that; it's also the highest-rated of all the Marvel films according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Meanwhile, in third, we have the latest addition to the MCU's Spider-Man story, Spider-Man: No Way Home. This blockbuster brought together all three live-action heroes, as well as a host of favorite villains, in a movie packed full of excitement and nostalgia. In fact, Spider-Man features twice in Kentucky’s top five superhero films, with Far From Home placing fifth.
Finally, in fourth, Thor: Love and Thunder, with iconic director Taika Waititi’s entertaining style clearly resonating with Kentucky audiences.
It’s a closer-run race when it comes to fans’ favorite DC films, with James Gunn’s acclaimed The Suicide Squad just taking the top spot in Kentucky slightly over Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Momoa will be back on the big screen as the popular figure this year in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, while there’s regular speculation around the return of DC’s favorite villains-gone-good (or at least, not so bad).
Meanwhile, in third, we have 2017’s Justice League, which was intended to rival Marvel’s Avengers franchise. However, while ranking among the most popular superhero films in Kentucky, with a score of 21, the bringing together of some of DC’s best-loved heroes, including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, didn’t resonate quite as much with wider audiences, netting a score of just 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Though, 2021’s ‘Snyder Cut’ may have gone some way towards winning fans around.
Another big winner was 2019's Shazam!, which took on a more light-hearted approach than the serious tone of Justice League. Placing fourth, the family-friendly movie stared Zachary Levi. Finally, Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam takes fifth.
Are you more of a Marvel maniac, or are you ride-or-die for DC? While Marvel has the upper hand right now, one thing is for sure - all bets are off for who will come out the victor in the next few years of film releases.
It’s bound to be a real clash of the titans – but if you need more excitement in the meantime, explore all the Kentucky sportsbook apps that are expected to come to the state once sports betting is live.
Using search volumes, firstly, we discovered the most popular DC/Marvel Films in each state by looking at the number of Google searches (over the last 5 years) for all movie releases associated with the Marvel and DC franchises.
Using this data, we then moved over to Google Search Trends, where we took the top five most searched-for films and heroes (for both DC and Marvel), and compared them to one another. This highlighted the films and heroes trending the most on various sources, such as: news outlets, social media sites, and YouTube.
These were then ranked one to five, the higher the percentage the more that film or hero was trending over the last five years.
Cited by leading media organizations, such as: