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'Versus' Movies Ranked

Who doesn't love a good fight? Nobody, that's who. Every pacifist is a pugilist in the right situation, and what better situation is there than the comfort of your own couch or nestled safely inside a movie theater? "Versus" movies aren't hard to explain — Thing A has an issue with Thing B that can only be settled by throwing down! Japanese movies studios figured this out back in the 1950s, and the kaiju genre was born. But "Versus" movies are way bigger than just one country or culture. It's primal storytelling straight out of Homeric epics — man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself ... and by "man," we mean acid-blooded extraterrestrials, hockey mask-wearing killing machines, and gargantuan radioactive reptiles. We're sure Homer would approve.

"Versus" movies have never gotten much respect from critics, which is reflected in this list. But what do critics know? There's nothing more awesome than seeing two famous characters throwing hands to determine once and for all the age-old question of "who would win in a fight?" — even if they inevitably team up for some contrived reason to take down an even bigger bad, but we digress. But here's another question — if these movies battled each other, which would come out on top? Cue Michael Buffer ("Let's get ready to rumble!") because these movies are about to duke it out to see who's the best. Who will win, and who will fall? Here are "Versus" movies ranked according to Rotten Tomatoes. Let ... them ... fight!

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula is the showdown nobody asked for

We're pretty sure no kids ever passionately debated on the playground the question of "who would win if Billy the Kid fought Dracula?" Or if they did, they went to a really weird school. Nevertheless, Circle Productions sought to answer this age-old question (that nobody ever asked) in 1966's Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. "The West's deadliest gunfighter! The world's most diabolical killer!" boasts the poster, which was probably enough to get most kids spare change for a Saturday matinee, but it wasn't enough to earn critical accolades. Nobody goes to see Billy the Kid vs. Dracula expecting quality or even competence, but critics didn't go to see it at all. Its critical score on Rotten Tomatoes is non-existent (only two critics even bothered to review it) while its audience score is a measly 17%. 

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula stars John Carradine (once one of John Ford's favorite character actors) as the famous vampire, posing as a beautiful young woman's uncle, which has him crossing paths with the girl's beau, Billy the Kid, who's put his gunslinging past behind him. In his one-and-a-half star review of the film (which is one-and-half-stars too high), critic Matt Brunson of Film Frenzy claims that Carradine frequently said that Billy the Kid vs. Dracula was his worst movie. With a filmography that includes hundreds of movies, that's really saying something.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is as bad as it gets

Film culture will forever debate whether Citizen Kane, The Godfather, or Vertigo is the greatest movie of all time, but on one front, the data is unequivocal. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever holds the honor of being "the most rotten movie of all time." Ouch. There are plenty of 0% movies on Rotten Tomatoes and plenty of "no review available" movies, but Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever earned this distinction because of the sheer number of critics who saw the movie and despised it. It's hard to argue with their assessment. 

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is pretty much unwatchable, and it makes the all-too-common error of overcomplicating what should be a simple Super Spy A vs. Super Spy B plot. Seriously, James Bond vs. Jason Bourne, done. Book it. Moviegoers were only slightly more generous than critics, giving the 2002 Antonio Banderas vs. Lucy Liu-starrer an atrocious 19% score. Maybe there should be a subreddit dedicated to pushing Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever's scores up? While we doubt that would ever happen, we would be down for a remake. No really, why not? Spy vs. spy is always a cool concept, and besides, a movie this bad can't get any worse.

Literature's greatest monsters deserved better than Dracula vs. Frankenstein

"Dracula vs. Frankenstein" is a concept we're honestly surprised we haven't seen more often, but given how bad this movie is, maybe that's a good thing. Count Dracula and Frankenstein's monster are the two most famous horror characters of all time, going all the way back to their literary debuts in classic novels by Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, respectively. The fact that this movie is their only big-screen throw down is kinda shocking. While the poster proclaims, "The kings of horror battle to the death," moviegoers will be bored to death by this 1971 snooze-fest, which earned a 0% critic's score and a 24% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes

Maybe Dracula vs. Frankenstein stunk because it didn't feature the classic Universal incarnations of the characters? We doubt it. Nearly 30 years earlier, Frankenstein threw down with the Wolfman in 1943's Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (which doesn't make the list because it's the strangely chummy "Meets" not "Versus"). Despite boasting Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolfman and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster, it only managed a 25% critic's score and 56% audience score. So maybe classic horror characters just aren't meant to fight onscreen? That's a scenario that's too terrifying to imagine.

AVP: Requiem spelled the death of the series

The definition of "requiem" is, "The Mass celebrated for the repose of the souls of the dead." Another definition should be, "The pretentious subtitle you add to your terrible movie to give it unearned credibility; see Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (or don't)." 

Following the success of 2004's Alien vs. Predator, the studio smartly decided to get the gang back together again for this 2007 sci-fi throwdown. The movie earned a 12% critics' score and 30% audience score, with the best burn coming from Nick Schager of Slant Magazine, who wrote, "[It] is literally shrouded in darkness, and the only explicable reason ... is that the filmmakers understood it was better if no one could see the s*** they were shooting." 

Dude has a point, but these movies aren't meant to be good, they're meant to make money. Welp, AVP: Requiem underwhelmed there, too, earning $41 million domestically, just $1 million above its budget and 50% less than Alien vs. Predator. While its $128 million worldwide box office was still profitable, producers realized they dodged a bullet and haven't brought it back since. In which case, this movie truly was a "requiem" for the Alien vs. Predator spinoff franchise.

Alien vs. Predator was a major disapointment

It was a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, but the Xenomorph skull in the Yautja's trophy room at the end of Predator 2 turned an Easter egg into one of the most successful cinematic spinoff franchises ever. Aliens vs. Predator grew into a lucrative line of toys, video games, comic books, and even regular books, but for nearly 15 years, what fans craved most of all — a cinematic showdown — eluded them. 

All of that changed in the summer of 2004 with Alien vs. Predator. The result was ... kinda not worth the wait, to be honest. Predator was one of the best action movies of the 1980s (the less said about its Arnold Schwarzenegger-less sequel, the better), while Alien and Aliens are two of the best sci-fi movies of all time. Even if Alien vs. Predator was just a shameless cash grab, there should've been some residual quality, right? Not so much. 

In the previous 14 years, the AVP brand had produced a pretty vast mythology, but the movie opted for "let's have these two fight in an underground pyramid, cool?" Plus, we got schlockmeister Paul W.S. ("Don't Call Me 'P.T.'") Anderson in the director's chair. No surprise, the 21% critical and 39% audience score was lacking, though the movie made $172 million worldwide on a $70 million budget. Producers cut the budget for its 2007 sequel, while moviegoers lowered their expectations.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, rise of Martha

Batman and Superman are half of any "Superhero Mount Rushmore," so putting them on the big screen is a no-brainer. While a World's Finest team-up made more sense, Warner Brothers was hellbent on a brawl long before anybody ever heard of Zack Snyder and the DCEU. In 2002, Wolfgang Petersen was set to direct Christian Bale's Batman (pre-Batman Begins) battling Jude Law's Superman in a pseudo-sequel to the earlier franchises. Supes and Bats are buddies, so close that Clark Kent is the now-retired Bruce Wayne's best man. But their relationship sours when the Mrs. Wayne-to-be is killed by a toxic dart fired by a terrorist who Superman let live earlier in the film.

If you thought the Snyderverse was bleak, the film's screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, described the movie to Collider as "the darkest thing you've ever seen." Thankfully, that movie never happened, but Warner Bros. wasn't to be denied and got its clash in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warner Bros. wanted it, but nobody else seemed to. Its critics' score was a rotten 28%, while its audience score was a barely fresh 62%. Although its $872 million worldwide gross was profitable on a $263 million budget, this is Batman and Superman we're talking about here! Not hitting a billion was a red flag. Hopefully the studio learned their lesson and will stop insisting on these two iconic superheroes trying to kill each other, if only for Martha's sake.

Freddy vs. Jason was a bloody mess

What Dracula and Frankenstein were to 1930s moviegoers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees were to 1980s horror film fans. But while both Dracula and Frankenstein belonged to Universal, Freddy was New Line Cinema's property, and Jason was with Paramount, making any big-screen face-off a distant fantasy. Freddy and Jason would finally tangle in 2003, but most moviegoers didn't realize how close they were to fighting 15 years earlier. 

According to GQ, by the late 1980s, Jason's dwindling box office numbers were being eclipsed two-to-one by Freddy Krueger, prompting Paramount to propose a crossover. Seems like a no-brainer now, but at the time, New Line knew Jason needed Freddy more than Freddy needed Jason, and the studio declined, resulting in the "Jason Meets Carrie"-esque Friday the 13th Part VII

Both franchises were in very different places 15 years later. There had been seven total Nightmare on Elm Street movies by 2003, but none since 1994, while there were ten Friday the 13th movies, the latest just the year before in 2002. With both franchises having seen better days, their respective studios came to the table for Freddy vs. Jason. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is better than you'd expect (41% from critics and 50% from audiences), but its $116 million on a $30 million budget more than doubled what either franchise had ever achieved on their own. Sadly, a Freddy vs. Jason 2 (or Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash) remains only a dream.

King Kong vs. Godzilla is a clash of kaiju royalty

We can't include every "Godzilla vs. _____" movie on this list, so with all due respect to Mothra, MechaGodzilla, King Ghidorah, and Ebirah (the giant nuclear lobster), we're only including Godzilla's face off against his most famous foe — King Kong vs. Godzilla. Though Toho had discussions about bringing Godzilla back following 1955's Godzilla Raids Again (including the insane "Bride of Godzilla" that was never made), the Big G had been on a seven-year hiatus in 1962 when the perfect opponent presented himself: King Kong. Willis O'Brien, the special effects genius behind the original King Kong, wanted to pit Kong against Frankenstein's monster (a movie we wish had happened), but his idea was killed because Universal owned the rights to Frankenstein and thought stop-motion was too pricey. 

King Kong vs. Frankenstein found its way across the Pacific and wound up on Godzilla producer Tomoyuki Tanaka's desk. Tanaka loved the idea, as he always wanted to make a Kong film of his own, but with one slight change — switching Frankenstein's monster with Godzilla. Toho wanted to revive Godzilla, and what better way to bring back the King of the Monsters than in a face-off against the King of Skull Island? King Kong vs. Godzilla isn't a big hit with critics or fans today, who've given it 50% and 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively, but it revived Toho's Godzilla franchise, resulting in 12 more Godzilla movies in just 13 years. King Kong may have won the fight, but Godzilla won the war.

Joe Versus the Volcano isn't Tom Hanks' best

Before Tom Hanks took home back-to-back Academy Awards for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, he was most well-known as the star of light comedies like Splash, The Money Pit, The 'Burbs, and Joe Versus the Volcano. Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley (an Oscar winner for Moonstruck and eventually a Pulitzer-prize winner for Doubt), Joe Versus the Volcano is about a lowly office clerk named Joe (Hanks) who discovers he's dying, but he doesn't really care because to him, life was meaningless anyway. However, a millionaire bankrolls Joe's journey to a faraway island, where he gets the opportunity to die for a higher purpose — plunging himself into a volcano. 

Part screwball comedy, part absurdist existential treatise, Joe Versus the Volcano never finds a perfect balance between its disparate genres, and it never fully commits to either of them. Despite being the first onscreen pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (who would go on to star in all-time rom-com classics Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail), Joe Versus the Volcano is okay, with a 61% critic's score and a 54% audience score, though its $39 million box office — followed by Bonfire of the Vanities' $15 million gross — made 1990 the worst year in Tom Hanks career.

Monsters vs. Aliens is easy to forget

Monsters vs. Aliens sounds like something you'd see on the SyFy Channel or the $5 DVD bin at Walmart, but it was actually a major studio release from DreamWorks Animation in 2009. Toy Story's success in 1995 made CG animation big business in Hollywood, and by the 2000s, CG animation had totally eclipsed traditional, hand-drawn animation, and it was even more prolific than superhero films are today. DreamWorks got in on the action with 1998's Antz, and while the studio never achieved the same consistent critical and commercial plaudits as Pixar, DreamWorks has had tremendous success with franchises like Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda. 

Monsters vs. Aliens is middle-grade animation, the kind of movie you'd take the kids to go see on a Saturday afternoon and forget about five years later ... or five days later, for that matter. The film, in which a team of monsters is recruited to fight a robot alien menace, managed a mild critics' score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, but moviegoers didn't care for it, giving it only a 59% score. It made a modest profit, with $381 million on a $175 million budget, which isn't bad, but in an era when just about every CG animated movie made a lot of money, it wasn't spectacular, either.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was pretty gnarly

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's poster promised an "epic of epic epicness," and while it didn't quite live up to that promise, it's still one of the best "Versus" movies ever, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes. In 2010, Michael Cera was at the peak of his status as "America's favorite geek," following his well-received work on TV's Arrested Development and with Superbad and Juno on the big screen. As the patron saint of dweebs everywhere, Cera took it the next level in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Directed by Edgar Wright, himself a geek icon after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and based on a graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim is about a bass guitarist for a garage band who strives to win the girl of his dreams by battling "the World." Or rather, the girl's evil exes, including Brandon Routh, Chris Evans, and Jason Schwartzman, who seem to be competing for the title of "most tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top supervillain ever." It's a fun movie, which critics and audiences both enjoyed, giving it Rotten Tomatoes scores of 82% and 84%, respectively.

Kramer vs. Kramer struck a nerve in 1979

This is probably the only time you'll ever see Kramer vs. Kramer on the same list as Freddy vs. Jason and Alien vs. Predator, but that's how it goes with "Versus" movies. There are no aliens or kaiju here, as Kramer vs. Kramer is about the most cutthroat, heartbreaking, and devastating battleground of them all — divorce court. In an Oscar-winning role, Dustin Hoffman plays a father in New York City who's left to raise his young son — who he's never had a close relationship with — after his wife (played by an Oscar-winning Meryl Streep) leaves them. When mom returns, it sets off a custody battle between the two feuding parents. 

Despite this depressing, all-too-relatable setup (or heck, maybe because of it), Kramer vs. Kramer was a huge commercial success. Honestly, we're kind of shocked just how successful it was. Kramer vs. Kramer earned $106 million in 1979, nearly $378 million in today's dollars, making it the highest-grossing film of the year. Plus, it also took home the Academy Award for Best Picture. But more importantly for our list, Kramer vs. Kramer earned an 88% critics' score and 89% audience, making it the best "Versus" movie of all time according to Rotten Tomatoes.