I can already hear the comments from the people who only read the headline. "What the hell?! Number 7?! How could you think there are six better comic book movies?! COUNT DA RINGZ!!!!1!1!!"
(Oh, wait, that last one snuck in from a LeBron debate... my bad)
Well, to clarify, I don't "think" anything. My rankings aren't opinion-based -- well, at least not MY opinion -- they're formula based.
Now here's the part where you yell at me and tell me my formula is broken. To that I respond, "yes, I'm well aware."
See, the comic book ranking formula I came up with includes both total box office (domestic, not international) and box office as a percentage of budget in its calculations. That works great for movies that have completed their runs, and usually not so well for movies that are still in theaters, or, in the case of "The Avengers", practically brand new.
For example, last year when I first put "Thor" into the rankings, it barely cracked the top 50. By the time it was done with its theatrical run, it was just outside the top 20. Making more money helps. Making "Avengers" type money helps A LOT.
The $207-million opening weekend makes "The Avengers" the 12th-highest grossing comic book movie of all-time. Even with a soft Monday, it should be up to 10th by the end of the day. It will likely be in the top five by this time next week. So the limited box office data isn't as much of a drag on the overall rating in my formula as it usually is after 3 days, which is why "The Avengers" -- which would be No. 2 if box office data were removed from the equation entirely -- is already in the Top 10.
As for projecting forward, even if "The Avengers" surpasses "The Dark Knight" as the all-time comic book box office leader ($533,345,358), it wouldn't knock it from the top spot in the rankings. To do that, the final domestic box office haul would have to be approximately $670 million, which would make it the second-highest grossing movie of all-time behind "Avatar". Even then, it's no guarantee, since "The Dark Knight Rises" could come along and mess everything up.
Still, it's safe to say that as of right now for comic book movies it's "The Dark Knight" and "The Avengers", then everything else.
UPDATED TOP 10 - THROUGH MAY 6, 2012
10. X-Men (2000)
Best category: Audience Liked (81%, 11th)
Worst category: IMDB score (7.4, t-21st)
9. Spider-Man (2002)
Best category: Box office ($403M, 2nd)
Worst category: Audience Liked (65%, 46th)
8. Batman (1989)
Best category: Profit margin (+617%, 2nd)
Worst category: Rotten Tomatoes Critics (6.6, t-28th)
7. The Avengers (2012)
Best category: Audience Liked (96%, t-1st)
Worst category: Box office ($207M, 12th)
6. 300 (2007)
Best category: Audience Liked (90%, t-4th)
Worst category: Box office ($210M, 11th)
5. X2: X-Men United (2003)
Best category: Audience Liked (84%, t-9th)
Worst category: Profit margin (+95%, 18th)
4. Batman Begins (2005)
Best category: IMDB Score (8.3, t-3rd)
Worst category: Profit margin (+37%, 34th)
3. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Best category: Box office ($373M, 3rd) and Rotten Tomatoes Critics (8.2, 3rd)
Worst category: Profit margin (+87%, 19th)
2. Iron Man (2008)
Best category: Audience Liked (91%, 3rd)
Worst category: Profit margin (+127%, 13th)
1. The Dark Knight
Best category: Box Office ($533M, 1st), IMDB Score (8.9, 1st) and Rotten Tomatoes Critics (8.4, 1st)
Worst category: Profit margin (+188%, 10th)