So, based on licensing income generated, what’s the most popular comic book property in the world? Superman? Batman? Perhaps The Avengers? Nope, nope, nope – it’s your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and really, the competition isn’t even close.
According to licensed merchandise tracker License Global, Disney/Marvel sold around $1.3 billion worth of Spider-Man crap last year. The second place superhero, Batman, only generated sales of $494 million in 2013. Meanwhile, The Avengers brought in $325 million and Superman made $277 million. Here it is all laid out in a handy dandy chart…
As you may have noticed, a large percentage of the sales come from overseas, in fact, take them out of the picture and Batman and Spidey are more or less tied. A very similar scenario tends to shake out with Batman and Spider-Man movies – Batman movies make more money in the US, but Spider-Man wins the war because he’s massively popular in Europe and Asia.
So yeah, don’t expect the Spider-Man rights to revert to Marvel Studios any time soon. Sony would sooner blow up all their TV plants at once than give up the rights to the world’s most popular superhero.