Mike Fleming

Iron Man 3 Despicable Me 2 ProfitIt’s tipoff time for the championship matchup to determine Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster of 2013. Stay tuned for our version of the postgame show, where we peel the curtain back on the data we commissioned from insiders to determine just how profitable a movie really is.

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The Matchup: After surviving a bruising battle with #5 seed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, #1 Iron Man 3 takes the court against #3 Despicable Me 2, a film that came through a pick ‘em matchup with #2 seed Frozen.

The Box Score: Here are the performance stats from our experts.

The Bottom Line: We’ve gone through the boasts due each of these films in earlier rounds, but here are some of them, once again. Iron Man 3 got here by beating The Conjuring, Gravity, and Hunger Games 2. Iron Man 3 ProfitThe film finished the year as the world’s top worldwide grossing film with $1.2 billion, making it the fifth-highest grosser ever. It trails only Avatar, Titanic, The Avengers and the Harry Potter finale. According to our experts, Robert Downey Jr received first-dollar gross at around $10 million against 10%, putting his payday around $75 million. It had the ninth-biggest foreign opening weekend of all-time, and the sixth-largest worldwide opening ever. On the cost side, Marvel owed this movie to Paramount as part of that original financing and distribution agreement, so Paramount, which did the marketing and distribution, took in a 9% fee that amounted to $89 million. The film had a net production cost of $200 million, and the global P&A spend was $130 million worldwide.

As for Despicable Me 2: Comcast CEO Steve Burke calls the film Universal’s most profitable ever. Hatched as the very first pix by Chris Meledandri’s family film factory Illumination Entertainment, DM2 was the third-biggest grossing film of 2013, nearly reaching $1 billion. It was third-highest domestic grosser ever for Universal, behind E.T. and Jurassic Park. The film opened No. 1 in 67 territories, outperformed its predecessor, and not only will spawn another film, there is a Minions spinoff film coming in 2015. If you have been to the Universal parks, the stores are getting yellower with

Despicable Me 2 Profit

Minion products, and though there is little real estate to build on at the Hollywood theme park, Universal has added a whole wing dedicated to the Despicable Me franchises.

Head To Head: Iron Man 3 had a net production cost of $200 million, and the global P&A spend was $130 million worldwide. Our experts say that merchandising is worth $40 million — double what the first film generated for Marvel. IM3 had a $1.2 billion global box office gross; total gross revenues after theatrical splits of $1.02 billion. Its total cost was $634.5 million, and its profit to Disney was $391.8 million.

DM2 had a net production cost of $76 million, with a global P&A spend of $136 million. Between merchandising and record sales, it has generated tens of millions in extra revenue. The global gross was $970.7 million. On total gross revenues of $868 million and costs of $473.5 million, DM2 delivered $394.5 million profit to Universal, even after accounting for $121.5 million in participations to its production company Illumination, Steve Carell and Russell Brand.

The Winner: Well, there can be only one. In the metric of Total Cash on Cash Return that is so important to investors, Despicable Me 2 has the advantage, 1.83 to Iron Man 3’s 1.62. DM2’s profit is $2 million higher than Iron Man 3, despite DM2’s $121.5 million in participation, most of that to Illumination and its animation operation. IM3 did extraordinarily well in China with $121 million, creating an appetite in that coveted region to future superhero films. DM2 did $53 million in China. Both properties have spinoffs coming, with Universal’s The Minions movie coming July 10, 2015, and Marvel’s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron bowing May 1, 2015. Beyond the higher profit on lower costs and revenue, DM2 is a franchise on the rise, while we don’t know if there will be any more Iron Man movies, at least with Downey in the metal suit. Considering all those variables, #3 Despicable Me 2 is the winner, and is Deadline’s choice for 2013’s Most Valuable Blockbuster.

FINAL FOUR RESULTS
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #5 ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′

ELITE 8 RESULTS
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #8 ‘Gravity’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #7 ‘Monsters University’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. ‘#6 Fast & Furious 6′
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #5 ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

SWEET 16 RESULTS
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #15 ‘The Great Gatsby’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’
#7 ‘Monsters University’ Vs. #10 ‘Thor: The Dark World’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...