The Most Popular Movie Villain in Every U.S. State

Title graphic of “The Most Popular Movie Villain in Every State”

Most iconic love stories have a villain — think about Rose’s snobbish fiancé, Cal, in “Titanic” or Anna’s deceitful love interest, Prince Hans, in Disney’s “Frozen.” We love to hate them, but our stories wouldn’t be complete without them.

In some cases, the villain is the most dynamic character in the film. Imagine “The Dark Knight” without a psychotic Joker wreaking havoc on Gotham City or “101 Dalmatians” without the violent rages of Cruella de Vil. Would the movies be compelling enough without them? We think not. For this reason, Shane Co. turned to Google search volume to see which villains Americans in every state love most.

Methodology

We put together a list of 87 popular movie villains (37 from live-action movies and 45 from Disney/Pixar movies) using ranked lists from The Insider, Disney Fandom, and Screenrant. Using Google Trends, we analyzed the search volume of each movie villain over the past five years to determine the most searched live-action movie villain and Disney/Pixar villain in every state, as well as nationwide. Read on to see which antagonist your state is most curious about!

Each State’s Favorite Live-Action Movie Villain

A U.S. map plotting the most popular movie villain in every state

Stories about superheroes and their origins are spread far and wide, but what about the villains? Consider how many times you’ve heard the story of Superman versus the story of his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor. We’re fascinated by villains because they’re rarely given the same attention as superheroes. They remain unpredictable and mysterious.

Not all villains need supernatural powers to be wicked, either. Sometimes all it takes is a twisted mind. Some villains, like the Joker, have a complete lack of empathy, while others are downright disturbing, like Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. The way actors and actresses are able to embody complete insanity in these characters makes these films some of the most well-known movies of all time. 

Comic-book villains ranked the most popular among the states. The DC movie villains, including the Joker and Bane, are the most popular villains overall, with 13 states ranking them first. Marvel movie villains, including the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, and Thanos, are most popular in five states. Star Wars villains, including Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, were the most popular in two states.

The Most Popular Live-Action Movie Villains in the U.S.

A bar graph showing the most popular movie villains in America

It should come as no surprise that the most popular villain comes from Gotham City. The Joker caused complete chaos and destruction, and Heath Ledger raised the bar for how a comic-book villain should be portrayed! Known as one of the greatest villains of all time, the Joker was ranked the most popular villain in nine states, including Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas.  

Our runner-up is Hannibal Lecter, who is most searched in six states, including Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Montana, West Virginia, and Wyoming. “Silence of the Lambs” tells the horrifying narrative of Hannibal Lecter, a cannibal serial killer played by Anthony Hopkins. The incredible acting and psychological elements of this thriller rank Hannibal Lecter as the second most popular live-action villain overall.

Another Batman villain ranking high on the list is Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises.” Tom Hardy mastered the elite mentality and physicality of the character, landing Bane as the third most popular live-action villain overall and most popular in four states, including Alaska, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Honorable mentions go to Tyler Durden from “Fight Club,” Hans Landa from “Inglourious Basterds,” Detective Alonzo Harris from “Training Day,” and Calvin Candie from “Django Unchained.” Each of these antagonists is the most popular in three states.

Each State’s Favorite Disney or Pixar Villain

A U.S. map plotting the most popular Disney/Pixar movie villain in every state

What would a villain analysis be without Disney villains? In addition to live-action movie villains, we took a closer look at Disney and Pixar’s most popular foes. A familiar Scar quote, “Long live the king,” comes from the lion who killed his own brother for power. This intelligent yet manipulative cat roared his way to the top of our list as the most popular in seven states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina, and South Dakota. The Queen of Hearts, Ursula, and Cruella de Vil follow as top-searched villains scattered across the U.S. map.

The Most Popular Disney/Pixar Movie Villain Overall

Most popular Disney Pixar Movie Villains overall

Scar is king, reigning supreme as the most popular Disney/Pixar villain nationwide. Quick to sentence a death penalty, the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland” was runner-up on our list, most popular in six states, including Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wyoming. Known for her short temper, her favorite command seems to be “Off with their head!”

Cruella de Vil and Maleficent, arguably two of the most wicked Disney villains, also landed top spots on our list, each most popular in three states. Both villains are so diabolical that they were awarded their own major motion films, starring Emma Stone and Angelina Jolie.

Closing Thoughts

Whether it’s the evil stepmother or the ex, there’s no love story without a villain. Shane Co. wishes for everyone to experience their fairytale ending, but certainly without these movie villains! We hope your love journey continues with your knight in shining armor down on one knee. Check out Shane Co.’s  engagement rings for the perfect ring to finish your perfect story!


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