Sometimes, the best things in life are not planned, they just happen. Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studio Universe (MCU) President, once revealed that they never set out to build a universe. He started as a producer at Marvel Studios in 2000. In 2008, he had a great idea – to make many films, all part of one universe like comic books do. Thus, “Iron Man” debuted in 2008, and since then, MCU has released 28 films. Here are the ten highest-grossing Marvel movies of all time.
10. Captain Marvel- $1.128 Billion
According to CNBC, Marvel was modest in its expectation of how well the movie would perform in its opening weekend. The film became the first solo female lead in the MCU, and it surpassed the $125 million that Disney expected by hitting $153.4 million in its domestic opening weekend. In April 2019, the film continued to soar when it sold tickets worth $645 million overseas and $358 million in North America. By grossing over $1 billion, it became the 18th Disney film to reach this milestone.
9. Spiderman: Far from Home - $1.132 Billion
Sony teamed up with Marvel Studios to bring to life another "Spider-Man" film – “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” The collaboration yielded profits as the movie became the highest-grossing of all time for Sony at the time. Allegedly, having Feige on the team was critical to the success of the movie. However, the fortune brought a bit of an impasse between the two production houses. They disagreed over profit-sharing terms until they agreed to co-finance another Spider-Man movie at a ratio of 75:25 such that Disney would finance 25% of the film for 25% of the profits.
8. Captain America: Civil War- $1.153 Billion
“Captain America: Civil War” raked in $181.8 million in its opening weekend since its debut on April 17, 2016. The amount made the film the highest-grossing of the three “Captain America” films since “The First Avenger” grossed $65 million during the opening weekend while “The Winter Soldier” opened to $95 million. It helped make the introduction of Spider-Man to the MCU, facilitating the debut of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2017. “Captain America: Civil War” reportedly had a filming budget of $250 million, excluding marketing and promotion. So, by hitting the $1 billion mark, Disney made quite a handsome profit.
7. Iron Man 3- $1.215 Billion
With a revenue of over $1.2 billion, “Iron Man 3” made history by being the second highest-grossing film of 2013. It raked in $175.3 million in its opening weekend almost covering the production budget of $200 million. The lead Robert Downey Jr. suffered an ankle injury when performing a stunt during the film’s production. Consequently, production had to stop for a while, enabling the director and writer to have more time for their creative juices to flow and make the film worth the wait.
6. Black Panther- $1.344 Billion
The late Chadwick Boseman outdid himself, starring as Black Panther in the all-black cast film. It cost only $200 million to make, but “Black Panther” ended up minting millions of dollars for MCU. It was anticipated to make about $120 million in its debut weekend, but it shattered records by selling tickets worth $242 million in the four-day weekend. Within its first three days of hitting cinemas, this film grossed $201.8 million, making it the highest-grossing film among those released in February.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron-$1.403 Billion
According to Forbes, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” passed the $1 billion mark in its 254th day after its international debut. The domestic opening weekend revenue was $191.3 million, far below the expected range of $210 million and $230 million worldwide. Still, at the time, it became the second film in the MCU to have the largest weekend at the box office, after “The Avengers.”
4. The Avengers - $1.519 Billion
“The Avengers” surpassed $1 billion in revenue in its third week of release. According to Polygon, the success of this film set precedence for all other Marvel films, and the author explained that since 2012, any other MCU production has a touch of “The Avengers.” Some believe this film even changed Hollywood, and some screenwriters and producers opined it was the tipping point because before “The Avengers” pitching such a storyline was considered insane.
3. Spiderman: No Way Home - $1.89 Billion
Sony probably thought it had seen its best year with “Spider-Man: Far From Home” until the release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It opened to $260.14 million in the domestic release, an achievement that no other film had managed to make in the 2021 theatrical runs. Some experts believed that the lack of a China release resulted in the movie not hitting the one-billion-dollar mark. China has become more selective of Western films shown in the country. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was banned because Sony refused to remove the Statue of Liberty scenes as the Chinese government demanded.
2. Avengers: Infinity War - $2.048 Billion
When Vox published “Avengers: Infinity War” had the best opening weekend of any film of all time, the author probably knew that this movie was destined to be the second highest-grossing movie of the MCU franchise. In North America alone, it opened to over $250 million, and the total domestic box office was $ 678.8 million. The movie had already started reaping profits before going international since the production budget was $321 million.
1. Avengers: Endgame - $2.798 Billion
In 2019, “Avengers: Endgame” took the crown of the highest-grossing film ever when it raked in $2.798 billion at the box office. However, “Avatar” reclaimed the top seat when it was re-released in China, bringing its total ticket sales to $2.802 billion. There were no hard feelings as Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of “Endgame” took to social media to congratulate James Cameron.
The Marvel characters in these films are not only legendary, but often the most powerful in all the Marvel Universe.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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