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Why We Don't See More DC Comics Licensed Pinball Machines

Last week I was feeling a little Marvel pinball fatigue. Don't get me wrong, I love the Marvel characters and the current batch of Marvel pinball machines, heck I even personally own a Deadpool and a Guardians of the Galaxy, but look at the list of Marvel pinball machines that have already been made:

2023 Stern Pinball Venom

2020 Stern Pinball Avengers Infinity Quest

2018 Stern Pinball Deadpool

2017 Stern Pinball Guardians of the Galaxy

2016 Stern Pinball Spider-Man Vault

2016 Stern Spider-Man Home Edition

2013 Stern Pinball Avengers The Pin

2012 Stern Pinball Avengers

2012 Stern Pinball X-Men

2012 Stern Pinball Iron Man

2007 Stern Pinball Spider-Man

Whew, that's a whole lot of Marvel. It would be nice to see pinball companies change things up a little bit and add some DC Comics characters into the mix. Yeah I know that we already have a couple of Batman pinball machines, but I'd love to see things like Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and my personal favorites Aquaman and Justice League / Super Friends. I absolutely loved the Saturday morning cartoon Super Friends as a kid and Bandai Namco recently launched a line of arcade coin pushers based upon it.

So I looked into it recently, and unfortunately I don't expect to see any new DC Comics pinball machines any time soon. Why? Extremely high licensing costs. To license a pinball machine based upon DC Superheroes as a whole, Warner Bros. supposedly would charge $5 Million. That's more than the $1 Million that Stern paid for The Beatles, the rumored $1.2 Million that Jersey Jack Paid for Willy Wonka and the $4 Million that Kapow offered (but was not accepted) for the Harry Potter franchise. A $5 Million fee is a big hole for a pinball manufacturer to dig out of.

Amongst the DC characters, supposedly the Superman license is the most expensive. For some reason the Batman license is reportedly much more reasonably priced. I suppose that's why we've seen several Batman pinball machines in the past, like Kapow / Stern Pinball's 2016 game Batman '66 and Stern's 2008 game Batman The Dark Knight. I heard a rumor that Stern Pinball considered doing a Joker retheme of a game, but I don't know how much truth there is to that.

So despite my wish to see some DC Pinball machines, unless Warner Bros. changes its tune we are unlikely to see one from any of the known pinball manufacturers any time soon.

The new Bandai Namco coin pusher:

Atari's 1979 Widebody pinball machine Super-Man

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Joseph Lemire
Joseph Lemire
Jul 24, 2023

Probably has something to do with them wanting them to sell and make money 🤔


Ryan Hung
Ryan Hung
Jul 24, 2023

How unfortunate. I am a huge DC fan and would love to see a legit Green lantern machine with green ramps. Hopefully with Warner tanking in the box offices, they'll see fit to lower their licensing fees. It really is a shame as I think DC has amazing characters that the movies don't do justice (no pun intended).

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