#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’
How They Got Here: Monsters University might well be the most stealthy of all the films that grossed more than three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide. The film was the seventh-largest domestic grosser of the year, and did near double that abroad. Pixar’s representative in the tournament turned in the second-largest gross of all films from the John Lasseter hit machine, second-largest G-rated film, and is Pixar’s third biggest overall film ever. Thor: The Dark World continues the Marvel superhero juggernaut, and it did particularly well in China, Russia and the UK. While the hammer-wielding hero pales compared to Iron Man, the sequel bettered the original film in both domestic and overseas for a total tally of $645 million.
The Bottom Line: Thor 2 cost $170 million to make, per our experts, and because Marvel is so stingy to everyone but Robert Downey Jr, there are modest participations here that amount to around $12 million. Monsters University cost $200 million, and that include pricey paydays for returning voicers like John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Participations clocked in at around $13.5 million.
The Winner: Neither gains much of an edge because each is the second installment of a franchise, though Thor 2 probably amps up expectations of the next installments of Marvel’s biggest jewel, The Avengers. So we go to the profit numbers. According to our experts, Monsters University will return $179.8 million to Disney, besting the $139.4 million that Thor 2 returns to Disney. Total cash-on-cash return edge goes to Monsters University, at 1.36 to the 1.32 turned in by Thor 2. Disney is the big winner here, but Monsters University advances.