How would Batman's Wayne Enterprises empire compare to Iron Man's Stark Industries? A new study crunched the hypothetical numbers by rooting fictional fortunes in reality.
For its "Fictional Fortunes" study, Paymentsense, a merchant service provider based in the U.K., ranked the wealthiest, fictional companies in popular movies and TV shows by looking at each faux company's "real-life equivalent." Candy company Mars, Inc., for example, stood in for Wonka Industries from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and Elon Musk's SpaceX was used as a benchmark for Batman's Wayne Enterprises.
Paymentsense took a look at the financials of major companies and used those figures to comprise its "Fictional Fortunes: The Film and TV Empire Rich List." In most cases, it used 2017 annual revenue globally (originally in the currency of the country in which the company is based), but in some cases, a company's current valuation or market cap.
"Each fictional company ranking is based on annual revenue for a similar, real-life company," the study's methodology notes. "This asset is purely for entertainment purposes only, and therefore comparisons between fictional and real-life companies have been chosen with a little bit of creative license and imagination."
The richest on the list is Very Big Corp. of America from the 1983 British film "Monty Python: The Meaning of Life," with a yearly revenue climbing over $220 billion. PaymentSense used Apple as a comparison, noting that, "little is known about the Very Big Corp. of America, other than the fact that it is indeed very large, very corporate, and very, well, American." Sliding in second is Clampett Oil from the 1960s CBS TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies," with over $130 billion in revenue, based on the 2017 annual revenue of Chevron Oil, its real-life company comparison.
More recent films in the study include the 2008 movie "Iron Man." The weapons company in the movie, called Stark Industries, came in fifth place with around $50 billion in annual revenue, based on its real-life comparison of Lockheed Martin. Duff Beer, from Fox's "The Simpsons," ranks 11th, with an annual revenue of over $11 billion, based on Budweiser. Meanwhile, Pizza Planet in "Toy Story" comes in 16th, with over $1 billion in annual revenue, based on Yum Yum Brands, owner of Pizza Hut.
Here are the top 20 companies on Paymentsense's "Fictional Fortunes: The Film and TV Empire Rich List." The full ranking and details on methodology can be found here. All U.S. dollar amounts are converted from British pounds according to Thursday's exchange rate.