If you’re a Marvel fan or pay attention to entertainment news, you might have an idea of which Marvel Cinematic Universe film has made the most money thus far. Here, we not only reveal the highest grossing film, but rank all of the Marvel Universe films from least to most in terms of gross.
1. The Incredible Hulk
Worldwide total gross: $263,427,551, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $134,806,913, says Box Office Mojo
Starring Edward Norton and Liv Tyler, it was probably the least favorite out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies. It had 67 percent of critic ratings on movie review site Rotten Tomatoes disapproving.
Perhaps some of its failures stemmed from the infighting and creative disagreements that happened during the production of The Incredible Hulk. Norton attributed wanting “more diversity” in his career as to why he didn’t return as the Hulk in Avengers films.
NEXT: Director Joe Johnston was at first skeptical of making this flick in 3-D.
2. Captain America: The First Avenger
Worldwide total gross: $370,569,774, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $176,654,505, says Box Office Mojo
Starring Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving, Captain America: The First Avenger was commercially successful. Its director, Joe Johnston, had experience with fantastical films — Jurassic Park 3 and The Wolfman.
He was at first hesitant about 3-D after seeing other films’ missteps — he felt like directors used it because they felt they had to. “I think it tends to be overused and can be a little bit gimmicky,” Johnston told the LA Times Hero Complex.
NEXT: The director of this film was first intimidated by the prospect of 3-D.
Worldwide total gross: $449,326,618, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $181,030,624, says Box Office Mojo
Fans were especially excited that it was to be released in 3-D. It first made the filmmaker cringe, however. Kenneth Branagh said that “it was math and physics and way over my head.”
That was just when Branagh first started exploring 3-D as a possibility, then he saw the artistic possibilities with 3-D and got excited. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, Thor earned itself a 77 percent critics approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
NEXT: This flick’s profits might have been more if more knew who this superhero was…
Worldwide total gross: $519,311,965, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $180,202,163, says Box Office Mojo
Unlike Marvel characters like Captain America, Paul Rudd’s character Ant-Man isn’t really ingrained in the United States’ audience imagination. Turning into an ant isn’t as exciting as the fanfare that comes along with Captain America.
Despite Ant-Man’s obscurity, it was still the number one in the weekly box office after premiering, says TIME magazine. Is it impossible for MCU movies to flop? Even if their protagonist is an ant?
NEXT: Despite its success, it wasn’t the best performing film the year it came out — that honor goes to The Dark Knight.
5. Iron Man
Worldwide total gross: $585,174,222, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $318,412,101, says Box Office Mojo
The great recession had hit but people still showed up to the movie theaters to see Marvel movie Iron Man. Starring the very charming Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man made over $500 million worldwide.
Iron Man is known for a lot of improvisation from the actors during filming. Director Jon Favreau welcomed the improv because he felt it would make the film more natural — the movie didn’t have a script that was “locked in a traditional sense.”
NEXT: This flick did better than its predecessor.
6. Thor: The Dark World
Worldwide total gross: $644,571,402, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $206,362,140, says Box Office Mojo
The eighth film in the MCU did better than its prequel but not better than the third film in the series — Ragnarok, which came out in 2017. The film made history in 2013 for Iceland.
Shooting began in Iceland in 2012. Publication Iceland Review said that this would be the most extensive film project ever shot in Iceland. The same article said Thor was the fourth Hollywood movie filmed in Iceland.
NEXT: This movie had a better outcome for this seemingly obscure Marvel Universe character.
7. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Worldwide total gross: $622,674,139
Domestic total gross: $216,648,740
This movie had a better outcome for this seemingly obscure Marvel Universe character. Filming took place in the Southern United States state of Georgia and boasts the largest physical set built for a MCU film — it even had its own lab and quantum tunnel!
The set was inspired by The Time Tunnel (1966), according to the commentary track on the Blu-ray/DVD of Ant-Man and the Wasp. It was insisted upon that the film clock in at under two hours because “it didn’t want to overstay its welcome.”
NEXT: A green screen was created by stacking and painting hundreds of shipping containers.
8. Iron Man 2
Worldwide total gross: $623,933,331
Domestic total gross: $312,433,331
The much anticipated Iron Man 2 featured returning star Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role. Most was filmed in Raleigh Studios but director Favreau (who also directed Iron Man) had some filming done on a military base.
“All these real military assets make the movie more authentic and the topography and the beauty of the Desert and flightline open the movie up,” Air Force Print News Today reported Favreau saying. It makes sense — ain’t nothing like the real thing!
NEXT: This tells the story of a successful neurosurgeon that becomes fascinated with mysticism.
9. Doctor Strange
Worldwide total gross: $677,718,395
Domestic total gross: $232,641,920
To shoot this film successfully, a lot of “previsualization” was needed to figure out how to shoot psychedelic aspects of Doctor Strange. Ben Davis, the film’s cinematographer, said the film was “very dark” according to an article in website Screen Daily. Seems like this is pretty different from the vibes of other Marvel Universe flicks.
At a talk at a BAFTA Masterclass in London, Davis mentioned that not every audience member might like a dark movie like Doctor Strange. The mystical parts included in Doctor Strange have made it the “Fantasia of the Marvel series.”
NEXT: Its director of photography wanted to emulate 1970s thriller films.
10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Worldwide total gross: $714,264,267
Domestic total gross: $259,766,572
U.S. Army officer Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is played by Chris Evans who previously played Human Torch in another superhero movie in 2005 — Fantastic Four. Rogers became the Captain with an experimental serum, reaching peak human physicality.
Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter’s praise for this Captain America feature film included its reduction of CGI, its revival of old school action, its character development and “intriguing suspense.” CNET says this film might change Captain America haters’ minds.
NEXT: After seeing monochromatic space movies, this film’s cinematographer decided color was really important to have.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy
Worldwide total gross: $773,328,629
Domestic total gross: $333,176,600
This film marked a turning point in the career of starring actor Chris Pratt who plays Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, the leader of the Guardians. Before Guardians came out, Pratt was mostly known for goofy roles like Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation.
Filming for this fun superhero movie began in a truly epic place — the Millennium Bridge in London. Tourists were prevented from walking on the bridge that day. Sacrificing a few selfies that day was worth it judging by Guardians‘ gross.
NEXT: This movie’s director felt hiring Indigenous and Aboriginal Australians would give back to the New Zealand community.
12. Thor: Ragnarok
Worldwide total gross: $853,977,126
Domestic total gross: $315,058,289
Movies involve a lot of individuals — not only are there actors, there are extras, directors, producers, writers, crew members, designers, etc. When a lot of people get together, sometimes things get messy. Thor: Ragnarok is an example of that.
In July 2016, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported that over 100 employees on the set of Thor: Ragnarok had been laid off when they had been expecting to have work until late October or early November. A worker insisted the New Zealand crew members were being treated better than the Gold Coast local workers.
NEXT: This filmed scored higher on test screenings than any other Marvel movie at the time.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Worldwide total gross: $863,756,051
Domestic total gross: $389,813,101
Film nerds would appreciate the fact that the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy was the first film to be recorded with 8K resolution cameras, says Wired. The article goes on to say that the cameras are high-spec and very high priced — they start at $20,000.
The investment might have been worth it since it scored a perfect 100 in test screenings — the highest out of all Marvel movies at the time. The Hollywood Reporter noted that this scoring is extremely rare. Does this convince you to finally see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
NEXT: The trailer for this film first appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in December 2016.
14. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Worldwide total gross: $880,166,924
Domestic total gross: $334,201,140
The young cast members in the movie referred to themselves as “The Breakfast Club” after the 1985 drama-comedy of the same name. The behind the scenes camaraderie translated well on screen. Besides the fun acting, Spider-Man invested serious time into its set.
Filming in Atlanta instead of New York City (where the character is based) proved to be cheaper — even with building sets from scratch. Spider-Man’s crew built a replica of the Staten Island Ferry which could be flooded with 40,000 gallons of water in eight seconds.
NEXT: This Marvel Universe superhero’s uniform was originally going to be green and black instead of red and blue.
15. Captain Marvel
Worldwide total gross: $1,110,401,098 (Estimate as of April 28, 2019)
Domestic total gross: $413,580,047
Brie Larson plays the ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who becomes Captain Marvel. Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, said Larson was the right fit for several reasons. In an interview with Variety, he said: “With Captain Marvel, who has powers that approach a level that we haven’t seen before in our films,”
“You need to counterbalance that by finding somebody who is also very human and very relatable and can get into a groove with the audience, where they’re willing to see her fly through the sun and punch a moon away from a spacecraft. At the same time, we need her to land and have relatable flaws.”
NEXT: Fans started calling this flick “Avengers 2.5” after the full cast was announced.
16. Captain America: Civil War
Worldwide total gross: $1,153,304,495
Domestic total gross: $408,084,349
Like a lot of Marvel Universe movies, filming took place in Georgia. You might expect movies to all be filmed in Hollywood but a lot of times movie producers might film elsewhere as a money-saving measure.
When the full cast was announced for Captain America: Civil War, fans started calling it “Avengers 2.5” because of the ensembled nature of the cast. Usually, such an ensemble of characters is more like an Avengers-type film — not one that’s supposedly about Captain America.
NEXT: Director Shane Black was tapped for this film, as the other director for the trilogy decided not to return.
17. Iron Man 3
Worldwide total gross: $1,214,811,252
Domestic total gross: $409,013,994
Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau decided not to return to direct Iron Man 3. Instead, Shane Black took the reins as director. Your regular fan might not notice the change in director as they’re behind the camera. However, they notice when actors change! Thankfully, star Robert Downey Jr. returned for the role of the titular character.
Others reprised their roles as well. Gwyneth Paltrow came back to Iron Man 3 as protagonist Tony Stark’s girlfriend and CEO of Stark Industries — Virginia “Pepper” Potts. Don Cheadle also reprised his role as the Iron Patriot/James “Rhodey” Rhodes.
NEXT: Here’s more about director Shane Black’s unique take on Iron Man 3.
18. Director Shane Black wanted Iron Man 3 to be more of a “Tom Clancy thriller”
Before the script was written, Black and Drew Pearce took the time to discuss how to make Iron Man 3 set in a more believable world than other Avenger films. Verizon Spotlight Magazine says the film’s plot is mostly influenced by “Extremis.” Don’t know what that is? What kind of nerd are you?
We’ll have you know that’s the 2002 to 2006 Iron Man comic storyline by Warren Ellis. As for filming, Iron Man was filmed in a couple of states and in China. The cast traveled from North Carolina to Florida to Beijing, China. Could you tell which scenes are shot where?
NEXT: This MCU became the ninth highest grossing movie of all time when it was released.
19. Black Panther
Worldwide total gross: $1,346,913,161
Domestic total gross: $700,059,566
As of February 2018, Black Panther was the highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes with a 97 percent approval rating. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described Black Panther as a history-making film, one that’s unlike any other Marvel Universe movie. The film was applauded for its racial awareness and for having powerful female characters.
“What sneaks up and floors you is the film’s racial conscience and profound, astonishing beauty,” writes Travers. “Not just a correction for years of diversity neglect, it’s a big budget blockbuster that digs into the roots of blackness itself.”
NEXT: Black Panther made history with its behind the scenes crew as well.
20. The first woman Oscar-nominated for cinematography shot Black Panther
Rachel Morrison was the cinematographer behind Black Panther — she’s the first woman to be Oscar-nominated for her work in the field. That’s 90 years of no women being nominated for an Oscar for cinematography. In his Rolling Stone review, Travers says women are just as much a part of the film as the men.
Besides Morrison, there are powerful female characters like Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and Danai Gurira as Okoye, who leads Wakanda’s special forces, Dora Milaje — an all-female force. Women won’t feel left out watching this flick.
NEXT: The boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao might have prevented it from grossing more opening weekend.
21. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Worldwide total gross: $1,405,403,694
Domestic total gross: $459,005,868
At least when it came out, Avengers: Age of Ultron was one of the most expensive films ever made. According to a 2018 USA Today article, this was the fourth most expensive film ever made with a production budget of $340,190,574. Wouldn’t it have sucked if the movie totally flopped?
All the special things the film needed seemed to add up. For example, there were computer-generated images and multiple filming locations. The cast and crew shot in Italy, South Korea, South Africa, Bangladesh, and England.
NEXT: In another one of Travers’ reviews, he describes Age of Ultron as “starting at 11.”
22. The Avengers must save the world from Iron Man’s creation
“In this sequel to 2012’s The Avengers, which helped writer-director Joss Whedon achieve world box-office domination, the movie swings for the fences, going darker and deeper into the bruised psyches of this dysfunctional family of warriors,” writes Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers. It didn’t score as good as some Marvel movies on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yet it wasn’t a total flop — $1.4 billion against a $250 million production budget. In this ensemble movie, Tony Stark’s peacekeeping program Ultron is set on destroying humankind. Once again, the Avengers must save the world from total destruction.
NEXT: A loan from Merrill Lynch helped this film get its development started.
23. Marvel’s The Avengers
Worldwide total gross: $1,518,812,988
Domestic total gross: $623,357,910
Like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel’s The Avengers had a massive production budget. At $238,857,766, its production budget wasn’t as large as Age of Ultron but still pretty hefty. Imagine if those movies were major flops?
That would have lost their studios a ton of cash. It could have been even more expensive if they actually filmed on 42nd Street in New York City. East 9th Street in Cleveland, Ohio was used for the climactic battle scene set on 42nd Street.
NEXT: This is what Mark Ruffalo had to wear in order to appear as the Hulk on screen.
24. Avengers was the highest grossing film of 2012
Against a $220 million production budget, The Avengers grossed $623,357,910 domestically and $1.5 billion worldwide. Amazingly, Avengers’ gross exceeded its production budget just 12 days after its release. It’s not the only one that’s accomplished this feat, but this is the first Avengers to exceed $1 billion in ticket sales.
Ninety-two percent of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes approve of Marvel’s The Avengers. Metacritic gave the action-packed film a 69 out of 100. Peter Travers writes in the Rolling Stone: “director Joss Whedon has adroitly balanced the celebrity circus to give every single one of the superstar characters his or her due.”
NEXT: So far, this is the top-grossing MCU movie out of all of them.
25. Avengers: Infinity War
Worldwide total gross: $2,048,359,754, says Box Office Mojo
Domestic total gross: $678,815,482, says Box Office Mojo
Albeit it’s the top grossing, getting the most out of this movie might require viewing at least most of the other MCU films, CNET recommends. Since you’d be familiar with the characters and their backstories, Avengers Infinity War will be more fun to watch.
Even if you’re marginally aware of the characters, Infinity Wars has enough comedy, spectacle and suspense to entertain, says CNET. Information on its production budget wasn’t available on Box Office Mojo but its grossed probably exceeded it. There’s no way a $2 billion-grossing film flopped!
NEXT: Sometimes the lack of stakes in movies can weaken a franchise says one review.
26. Does it become boring when you save the world every movie?
“The most definitive overarching issue with the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the lack of stakes,” writes Bryan Bishop in The Verge. “Over the course of the saga’s previous 18 movies, MCU heroes have faced numerous world-ending threats…only to have their worlds essentially return to normal in time for the next installment.”
Bishop says he thinks the film’s creators are aware that this can make the franchise boring after a while and took steps to change this in Avengers: Infinity War. He says it’s a hilarious movie but also very bad things happen to characters that the audience might get attached to. Bust out the tissues…
NEXT: A question from Avengers: Endgame is answered in this upcoming Marvel movie.
27. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Not released yet
Release date: July 5, 2019
If you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame, you might have been wondering about one particular scene with Spider-Man. Fans will finally know what this means, the film’s directors hint, when Spider-Man: Far From Home is released post-Independence Day. There might be some that haven’t seen Endgame, so we won’t ruin it.
Let’s just say some characters disappear in some Marvel movies and the future films in the franchise will answer this question, says directors Joe and Anthony Russo. As you can imagine, this film will focus on what Spider-Man goes through post-Endgame.
NEXT: Here’s the basic plot of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
28. This MCU movie is set partly in Europe
Spider-Man: Far From Home shows Peter Parker slinging through the buildings of New York City but travels to Europe with friends on a school trip. Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and Mysterio recruit Parker to fight off bad guys the Elementals. It doesn’t matter if Parker is on a Euro-getaway — Spider-Man is always on call!
Tim Holland is reprising his role as Spider-Man — like he did in other spidey and Avengers flicks. Tony Stark (Iron Man) played the mentor to Spider-Man/Peter Parker in past movies but Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) seems to take on this role in Far From Home.
NEXT: The box office numbers for this MCU movie will shock you.
29. Avengers: Endgame
Worldwide total gross: $2,193,740,959 (As of May 6, 2019)
Domestic total gross: $621,277,849 (As of May 6, 2019)
This iteration of Avengers is now the highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in history thus far. It surpassed the $2 billion mark in record time, making cinematic history. As of May 6, 2019, Box Office Mojo says the film in en route to dominate its second weekend in the box office.
It’s taken just five days for it to shatter a record for opening weekend gross. Previously, that honor went to Avengers: Infinity War. It brought in a whopping $641 million within 11 days, says CNBC.
NEXT: Marvel Studios is becoming known for its record-breaking and the massive amounts of money it sells in tickets.
30. Marvel Studios employees are heroes themselves
“Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team have continued to challenge notions of what is possible at the movie theatre both in terms of storytelling and at the box office,” Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement. Truly, that’s definitely turning improbable into possible!
Some thought that with a film clocking in at three hours and two minutes, pulling in $1.2 billion opening weekend would be absolutely impossible for Endgame. Turns out that not all heroes wear capes — the directors, crew, actors, and other involved with Marvel Studios have created films that have not only broken records but have made lots of money.
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