News

12 Amazing Tomatometer Stats From 50-Plus Years of DC Movies

Batman vs. Sumperman – on the Tomatometer! Plus, which is the Freshest franchise, who's the Rottenest character, and what does it mean for Todd Phillips' Joker?

by | April 3, 2019 | Comments

Justice League

In 1966, Batman: The Movie “Powed! and Zapped!” its way into theaters with a thrilling tale of adventure featuring Batman and Robin preventing a gang of supervillains from dehydrating the world. The 77% Tomatometer-rated movie marked the first time fans could see a feature-length film showcasing one of their Detective Comics (DC) heroes on the big screen – and it must’ve been a trip watching Batman foil a man-eating shark with a convenient can of Shark Repellent Bat-Spray.

Some 53 years and 34 theatrically released live-action and animated movies featuring DC characters later, the DC universe has seen its fair share of Fresh (Watchmen, Batman Returns, Superman), Rotten (Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, Catwoman), and should-be-Fresh (Constantine) movies (yes, we really like Constantine around these parts). These films trace the evolution from the tongue-in-cheek Batman: The Movie to today’s DC Extended Universe (DCEU), which recently featured Jason Momoa battling gigantic CGI sharks (without the aid of shark repellent spray) in the blockbuster hit Aquaman.

With Shazam! opening this week – and sitting Certified Fresh at 92% – we decided to do a deep dive into the 35 theatrically released movies featuring DC characters in hopes of discovering super Tomatometer statistics to share with you. And we think we succeeded! Sit back, order a Batman-approved Lobster Thermidor (or some drive-thru) and enjoy these Tomatometer-related stats about your favorite movies featuring DC characters.

Note: All Tomatometer scores/averages are accurate as of March 31, 2019.


1. The DC Universe Started Off Fresh With Four Successful Films

Superman The Movie
(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)

After Batman: The Movie gave the DC cinematic world a Fresh start in 1966, DC fans had to wait 12 years until the Richard Donner-directed Superman was released in 1978 for the next cinematic effort from their favorite comic-book company. This superhero film was a massive success due to its big action set pieces, inspired casting (Marlon Brando!), and square-jawed earnestness of leading man Christopher Reeve – it is at 94% on the Tomatometer. A sequel was green-lit faster than a speeding bullet, and in 1980 the 85% Tomatometer-rated Superman II set a high bar for all superhero sequels that followed.

In 1982, Swamp Thing proved DC didn’t need Superman or Batman to be successful (it’s at 66%). Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm StreetScream) directed the film, successfully juggling a silly plot, rubber monsters, and a low budget to produce a moderate hit.


2. Five Movies Starring DC Characters Have Tomatometers of 90% or higher

The number is low, but, things are looking up as three of the five movies with 90%-plus scores have been released since 2017. Wonder Woman (93%), The Lego Batman Movie (90%), and Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (91%) have made up for lost time. Also, it’s looking like Shazam! has a chance of joining the elite ranks if it can hold onto its 92% Certified Fresh Tomatometer score. We bet Superman: The Movie and The Dark Knight, both at 94%, aren’t feeling so lonely anymore.


3. The Dark Knight Trilogy is the Highest Rated Comic-Book Franchise According to the Tomatometer

The Dark Knight
(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)

We’re glad director Christopher Nolan took the Dark Knight trilogy ‘so serious’-ly, because it’s the gold standard of comic book franchises with an 88.3% Tomatometer average and 94% Audience Score. Not only do Batman Begins (84%), The Dark Knight (94%), and The Dark Knight Rises (87%) form the highest Tomatometer- and Audience-rated DC franchise, they make up the highest-rated comic-book–based movie trilogy ever.


4. Batman has Tomatometer Supremacy Over Superman

We’re 100% certain that Superman would smoosh Batman in a street fight. However, in a Tomatometer battle, Batman’s 64.3% Fresh average is much higher than Superman’s Rotten 48.2% average. Superman lost the battle because five of the 10 movies he’s featured in, including Superman III (24%) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (12%), have Rotten scores, whereas only six of Batman’s 16 films have Rotten scores. It’s not all bad news for Superman though, because 1997’s Batman & Robin has a 10% Tomatometer score, which makes it the lowest Tomatometer-rated Batman or Superman film.


5. Live-Action R-rated DC Films have a Fresh 62.6% average

(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)

Between 2005 and 2009, DC-based films went dark with the R-rated Constantine (46%), V for Vendetta (73%), and Watchmen (64%) hitting the big screen. These visually impressive films swung for the fences and brought in A-list talent like Natalie Portman, Tilda Swinton, Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, and Patrick Wilson to fill the shoes of iconic DC characters. We’re still bummed about the Rotten score for Constantine, though: it’s a visually stunning film featuring Keanu Reeves flicking off Satan and kicking CGI demon crabs – what’s not to love?


6. The Tomatometer Average for the 35 Theatrically Released Films Featuring DC characters is Rotten

The bad news is the Tomatometer average is a Rotten 56%. The good news is, the Tomatometer is trending upwards with recent movies like Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and The Lego Batman Movie all being Fresh. Also, with Shazam!, Joker (2019), Birds of Prey (2020), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), and the rebooted Suicide Squad (2021) on the horizon, we’re thinking the average could be Fresh in a couple years!


7. Theatrically Released Animated Movies Starring DC characters are Fresh

The Tomatometer average for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (83%), Batman: The Killing Joke (39%), The Lego Batman Movie (90%), and Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (91%) is an excellent 76.75%. The only Rotten movie here is the R-rated Batman: The Killing Joke, which was shown as an event in 1,300 theaters in 2016. The controversial movie went to some super dark places with the Kevin Conroy-voiced Batman, and left people wishing they’d just watched the excellent Batman: Mask of the Phantasm again.


8. Wonder Woman Brought Up the Tomatometer Average for Female-Led DC Superhero Movies From 32% to 46.25%

You may be thinking that a 46.25% Tomatometer average is bad. Yes, it’s still Rotten. However,  the 93% Tomatometer score for Wonder Woman provided some balance to the DC world as it evened out the Fresh to Rotten scales for female-led DC films. Now V for Vendetta (73%) isn’t the only female-led Fresh film holding up the Tomatometer average for the Rotten Supergirl (10%) and Catwoman (9%).


9. Movies Featuring The Joker Have a Fresh Tomatometer Average

Joker’s appearances in Batman: The Movie (77%), Batman (71%), The Dark Knight (94%), Batman: The Killing Joke (39%), Suicide Squad (27%), and The Lego Batman Movie (90%) have led to a Fresh 67.6% Tomatometer average. We’re excited to see what Joaquin Phoenix can do with the character when he takes his place front and center in Todd Phillips’ Joker, which will be released in October.


10. Green Lantern (2011) is Rotten, But the Actors In It Went on to Fresh Superhero Movies

The 26% Tomatometer-rated Green Lantern was slammed by audiences and critics when it released in 2011. However, since then, Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Angela Bassett (Black Panther), Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), and Temuera Morrison (Aquaman) went on to Fresh superhero movies that have an average 82.4% Tomatometer score. This trend is continuing again with Mark Strong, who is back in the DC universe as the villainous Sivana in the Certified Fresh Shazam!. We’re hoping Blake Lively, Tim Robbins, and Peter Sarsgaard have the same luck when they appear in another superhero movie.


11. Movies Featuring Catwoman Are Fresh With a 68.6% Tomatometer Average

Batman-Returns
(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)

Catwoman and its 9% Tomatometer score didn’t help the overall average, but, Batman Returns (80%), The Dark Knight Rises (87%), Batman: The Movie (77%), and The Lego Batman Movie (90%) prove the Catwoman character is Fresh four times out of five. Also, we think Michelle Pfeiffer should’ve received an Academy Award nomination for her amazing performance in Batman Returns. Pfeiffer crushed the dual roles of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and we totally understand why director Tim Burton gave her a lot of screen time.


12. DC Movies Have a Higher Tomatometer Average When They Feature Wonder Woman, Batman, or Superman

(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)

The 23 movies featuring a member of the DC trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) have a Fresh 63.8% average, and the three highest Tomatometer-rated DC movies are The Dark Knight (94%), Wonder Woman (93%), and Superman (94%). The 63.8% percentage isn’t super Fresh, but when compared to the 41% average of the 12 movies they don’t appear in, it’s proof DC films are better when they’re in them.


We hope you enjoyed the DC Tomatometer data! Tell us about your favorite DC movies in the comments.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Star Wars blaxploitation Extras Esquire unscripted Horror werewolf Crackle X-Men animated crime drama Rock GLAAD Thanksgiving Mary Poppins Returns science fiction Holiday Turner talk show Drama Arrowverse war medical drama finale 21st Century Fox universal monsters MTV anthology game show Sneak Peek Star Trek true crime canceled transformers Mindy Kaling technology cancelled cartoon LGBT Paramount book USA Network reviews Awards Tour facebook indie adaptation 2018 SDCC versus E! Pet Sematary The CW christmas movies Musicals Walt Disney Pictures cancelled television Pirates Action 2020 Film Festival E3 TruTV First Reviews space Tumblr independent foreign Lionsgate award winner 71st Emmy Awards AMC TCA 2017 YA Trivia Epix Chernobyl Discovery Channel Marvel Television crime Columbia Pictures ratings Nominations Sundance Now PBS BBC America Rocketman OneApp YouTube Premium blockbuster The Purge FOX American Society of Cinematographers TBS period drama political drama The Walking Dead aliens cinemax halloween Marathons zero dark thirty ESPN Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2015 TCA Winter 2020 docudrama Black Mirror joker WGN dramedy Trailer vampires Amazon Prime Video Women's History Month VICE Anna Paquin IFC Films Song of Ice and Fire Best and Worst reboot Food Network movie spider-man toy story streaming BET theme song TCM spain Animation comiccon CNN Calendar mutant Film 45 Marvel Disney streaming service Music Showtime 20th Century Fox sag awards Spectrum Originals spinoff witnail Netflix Christmas movies Valentine's Day dceu psychological thriller Cannes CW Seed Sony Pictures Fox News directors screenings biography GIFs LGBTQ politics cars Christmas sitcom kids Bravo crossover supernatural Academy Awards GoT CBS ABC Family crime thriller Shudder Superheroes DirecTV Mystery DC Universe Amazon Prime Super Bowl revenge Martial Arts Lucasfilm Captain marvel richard e. Grant 2017 Universal Tubi zombies stand-up comedy Travel Channel dc El Rey Opinion breaking bad Acorn TV south america Hulu documentary green book Britbox hispanic spanish language Sci-Fi television Masterpiece Summer name the review BBC justice league dogs Family canceled TV shows President Turner Classic Movies Writers Guild of America spy thriller romance cats ABC Nickelodeon slashers Podcast FXX TLC TV Land Year in Review Pop TV Polls and Games historical drama MCU robots Comedy Binge Guide Stephen King Black History Month Baby Yoda boxoffice Funimation video Ghostbusters National Geographic casting Reality Competition Classic Film San Diego Comic-Con USA Logo Apple strong female leads Mary Tyler Moore VH1 binge franchise Toys FX on Hulu screen actors guild Fall TV Photos cooking Countdown SXSW Certified Fresh mockumentary FX rotten movies we love TV Disney+ Disney Plus Infographic 24 frames TIFF elevated horror Tomatazos Hallmark Comedy Central serial killer cops Brie Larson NBC SundanceTV Lifetime Christmas movies comic CMT Set visit Western game of thrones Emmys Crunchyroll Pride Month police drama Sundance TV festivals Amazon Studios Pop Fantasy CBS All Access RT History Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt adventure Spring TV Starz cancelled TV series Cartoon Network Red Carpet Mary poppins Spike Heroines singing competition nature sequel Kids & Family Endgame Elton John Rom-Com Avengers Winners MSNBC Pixar Superheroe jamie lee curtis Peacock OWN thriller Amazon Cosplay Holidays comics golden globes miniseries Disney Channel ITV free movies Musical APB Rocky HBO See It Skip It Country Emmy Nominations Adult Swim A24 2016 Television Academy Mudbound New York Comic Con children's TV Election Paramount Network WarnerMedia hist Netflix YouTube Red ghosts movies sports Apple TV+ Trophy Talk Winter TV teaser quibi Disney Plus doctor who PaleyFest Hallmark Christmas movies Shondaland Reality Comic Book dragons A&E scary movies Premiere Dates travel harry potter Comics on TV Schedule TNT Quiz disaster series Sundance zombie diversity 007 romantic comedy Marvel Studios Lifetime Disney The Witch Box Office Apple TV Plus Syfy composers TCA Teen discovery DGA DC Comics HBO Max Freeform NYCC what to watch IFC First Look based on movie psycho cults Vudu renewed TV shows Ellie Kemper DC streaming service Oscars Dark Horse Comics Biopics social media Nat Geo 2019 History RT21 cancelled TV shows YouTube Video Games The Arrangement Character Guide Ovation Warner Bros. Interview Awards batman natural history latino Watching Series Creative Arts Emmys Tarantino tv talk TV renewals Grammys anime