Superhero films are all the rage in Hollywood. In the last few years, characters like Iron Man, Batman, and the X-Men have been serving up box office smash hits, but did you know that a surprising number of these superheroes and villains run successful companies on the side?
In this list, we have compiled a list of superheroes and villains that run family businesses.
Company: Stark Industries
Founded: 19th century
Family: Stark Family
Industry: Defense and Aerospace
Appears in: Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers
Stark Industries is a third-generation aerospace and defense contractor that develops and manufactures advanced weapons and military equipment, including the Iron Manand War Machine suits, as well as the infamous helicarriers used by S.H.I.E.L.D.
While the Stark family managed to keep the company in family control over the years, the process was a messy affair, with bankruptcy, Tony Stark’s “death” in Afghanistan, and hostile takeovers frequently threatening the stability of the firm. That the company has even managed to survive amidst all the turmoil and leadership changes is in itself a miracle, and its role as a leader in the military industrial complex with little to no philanthropic activity means Iron Man has his work cut out for positive company PR.
Company: Wayne Enterprises
Founded: 19th century
Family: Wayne Family
Industry: Technology, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace, Foods, and more
Appears in: Tim Burton / Joe Schumacher’s Batman series, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Founded by the Wayne family as a small merchant house in the 17th century, Wayne Enterprises ultimately grew into a giant conglomerate under Bruce Wayne, whose resources were used in financing and providing resources for not only his own endeavors as Batman, but for the financing of various hero groups such as the Justice League.
With 51% of the company in the hands of Bruce Wayne, 30% in the hands of his allies, and his close friend Lucius Fox in the position of acting CEO, Wayne Enterprises boasts a strong corporate governance and ownership structure that represents its durability through the generations, as well as its strong performance across numerous industries. Furthermore, the Wayne Foundation acts as a holding company for the family that supports medical research, philanthropy, and patronage of arts and education.
Family: Osborn Family
Industry: Biotech and Nanotechnology
Appears in: Spider-Man trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man 1-2
Founded by Norman Osborn, Oscorp emerged as the leading company in the field of Neurogenetics and Nanotechnology. By studying the role of genetics in the nervous system, Oscorp remains in the cutting edge of “Cross Species Genetics”, allowing them to develop various serums and species that have the potential to carry over genetic material from another species, resulting in the creation of Spider-Man and the Green Goblin.
Though the company was making groundbreaking strides in various technologies to improve human lives, Norman Osborn’s transformation into the Green Goblin affected the company’s stock price and performance. However, the succession to Harry Osborn’s leadership was successful and the company performance improved as he planned his revenge against Spider-Man for killing his father.
Company: Trask Industries
Family: Trask Family
Industry: Defense, Biotech, and Robotics
Appears in: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Company Overview: Founded by Bolivar Trask, Trask Industries’ groundbreaking research in AI, robotics and autonomous ballistic systems laid the foundation for the world’s most capable anti-mutant defense system, the Sentinel Program, leading to the capture and subjugation of the global mutant race.
While the company had a bright, innovative start thanks to Bolivar Trask’s vision for global security, the lack of a clear succession process and family governance meant that his son Larry was unprepared and prematurely thrust into the leadership position, transitioning the company from a government defense contractor to an out of control entity that destroyed the mutant population.