I'm not really a proponent of comparing Marvel and DC. It implies that there is a competition there and that both movie series should be judged on the same criteria, and by association, this leads to compare the two rather than just enjoy them. If anything, DC will be benefiting from Marvel in the same way Marvel benefit from DC's Dark Knight trilogy, in the same way the Dark Knight Trilogy benefit from Spiderman (in particular, Spiderman 2) bringing a new perspective in what super hero movies could be. Neither would be where they are now without the efforts of the other.
But, people are going to do it anyway.
So, yeah, Dawn of Justice (DoJ) and Civil War both feature two of our favorite heroes squaring off against each other and they both happen in 2016 within about a month and half of each other. That's basically where the similarities end though. And, as side note, if we're being honest, doesn't Iron Man fight everyone, all the time? Iron Man 2, he fights War Machine. Avengers, he fights Thor and almost picks a fight with Cap. Avengers 2, he fights Hulk. It basically comes with the territory with Iron Man. If you're in a movie with him, he will probably pick a fight with you. I personally love it. I hope he picks a fight with everyone. He should start an Iron Man fight club.
I'm going to point out first, this is petty. I'm going to be petty. Extremely. I just feel like, if comparisons are going to be drawn, they should at least be done in a way that makes sense. A person can prefer DC or Marvel, or prefer Iron Man or Batman, and as a result, the movies themselves can't really be judged based on whatever formulaic rendering the directors have chosen. Critics seem to thrive in this arena of personal preference, proclaiming DC a failure and Marvel a success.
To be objective, it seems like it makes more sense to use box office earnings. Critics are applauding the drop off in successive weekend earnings for DoJ, heralding the end of the DC universe before it gets going. So, it's clearly something that people who don't like what DC is doing will use when they think it benefits that argument at that moment. Box office earnings aren't an opinion of a fanboy or critic, it's just raw earnings. It seems like that would be a valid way to gauge franchise performance. The box office draw of the movies as the respective franchises move forward should, hypothetically, reflect the health of the franchise as a whole.
Dawn of Justice isn't a full franchise movie like the Avengers or even Civil War despite it being a 'Captain America' movie. DoJ is a set up movie, introducing additional characters to launch their larger, extended universe. Dawn of Justice is the 2nd movie of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), whereas Civil War represents the 13th movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There's a good character pool to reach back on after 13 movies, as well as character development and story telling.
I think it's safe to say that the MCU is considered a success. Critics seem to think so. It's hard to argue. You don't make 13 movies and 7 spin off TV shows if it's not. So, if all that makes sense and is an acceptable bar in gauging how a comic franchise performs and is considered successful, then comparable box office earnings should reflect a similar level of success or failure for DC. Savvy?
Man of Steel being the first DC outing for their extended universe, functions the same way Marvel's Iron Man did. It was the first film, and the announcement that they were "part of a bigger universe" as Nick Fury explained in the first Marvel easter egg.
As the opening volley of their particular franchises, Iron Man and Man of Steel performed relative to each other. If the MCU is considered a success and this was the performance of it's first outing, and Man of Steel performed similarly, then DC at this point should be on the path to similar results.
Marvel's 2nd movie was The Incredible Hulk, which didn't do so great. Generally disliked by critics, which I suppose isn't all that different from Dawn of Justice. I liked Incredible Hulk, and I loved Dawn of Justice, so I guess I don't agree with the critics on either movie. But, the movie was tarnished before release by some bad media in regards to Marvel and Edward Norton not seeing eye-to-eye. For arguments sake, it seems like Iron Man 2 had more in common with Dawn of Justice in that it introduced additional characters to the world (War Machine, Black Widow, Nick Fury) that had important roles in the story line. It also didn't suffer from the bad press before release that hindered The Incredible Hulk. I'll include all 3 just to provide perspective though.
Right now, Dawn of Justice seems to be tracking for a similar performance as Iron Man 2. If this constitutes a success in the MCU, then it seems pretty fair to say it's a success by the same standards for the DCEU.
Apparently WB agrees, Suicide Squad is coming. Wonder Woman is in post production, Justice League Part 1 just started production. WB is moving the ball down the court. I think it's a good play for them. DC has an all together different tone from Marvel, which I'm enjoying. I love what Marvel is doing, I love what DC is doing. And it looks like DC is on track to enjoy the same level of success as Marvel for right now. That's lead to some amazing stories from Marvel, and I hope it does the same for DC.