Marvel Studios at the Box Office: How Much Has Each Film Made?

Marvel has been a hit at the box office for almost a decade.  Ever since Iron Man won over audiences back in 2008, the studio has had a string of hits.  Their successes range from modest to overwhelming, but they’ve changed the game, and there’s a reason other studios are chasing Marvel Studios’ model.  They own the first week of the summer movie season, and they continue to turn each new film into an event, each new character into a beloved franchise.

With the release of Thor: Ragnarok, we’re looking back at the box office of every Marvel Studios film to see how they performed. We’re going to look at they’re opening weekend, domestic total, worldwide total, and reported budget. Of course, this is an incomplete picture. We don’t know the funding deals Marvel cut, the cost of P&A, or where the studio made the real money—merchandising.  That being said, the success of a film at the box office can still provide an indication of the film’s popularity and cultural impact.  It also shows how certain franchises have grown, stagnated, or compared to other movies in the MCU.

Iron Man (2008)

Opening Weekend: $98,618,668

Domestic Total: $318,412,101

Worldwide Total: $585,174,222

Reported Budget: $140 million

When a character who was previously unknown to most moviegoers ends up grossing almost over $100 million domestically and goes on to make over half a billion worldwide, that’s a recipe for success.  If Iron Man had flopped, the state of the MCU would look very different.  It arguably may not even exist.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Opening Weekend: $55,414,050

Domestic Total: $134,806,913

Worldwide Total: $263,427,551

Reported Budget: $150 million

If any film in the MCU could be qualified as a flop, it’s The Incredible Hulk. To be fair, Marvel didn’t quite know what it was yet, and it looks like the Hulk character didn’t really connect with audiences (which makes sense; it’s a superhero that doesn’t want to do anything spectacular, and so you have a guy who hates being the thing that audience wants to see him do, which is Hulk out).

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Opening Weekend: $128,122,480

Domestic Total: $312,433,331

Worldwide Total: $623,933,331

Reported Budget: $200 million

While the story has a lot of problems, Iron Man 2 performed admirably at the box office. It out-grossed the original on opening weekend and worldwide, showing that the first movie wasn’t just a fluke and neither was the MCU.

Thor (2011)

Opening Weekend: $65,723,338

Domestic Total: $181,030,624

Worldwide Total: $449,326,618

Reported Budget: $150 million

While neither Thor or Captain America: The First Avenger outdid the first Iron Man, they had a taller order, and based on a tougher concept and selling a new character, they did admirably.  They showed that the studio was reaching audiences even if the film wasn’t a phenomenon.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Opening Weekend: $65,058,524

Domestic Total: $176,654,505

Worldwide Total: $370,569,774

Reported Budget: $140 million

Again, if you look at the film laying the groundwork, it’s a success.  It’s not a smash, and Marvel probably wouldn’t be happy if it kept performing at this level, but it’s good enough to let the studio know that people want to see the character in The Avengers.

The Avengers (2012)

Opening Weekend: $207,438,708

Domestic Total: $623,357,910

Worldwide Total: $1,518,812,988

Reported Budget: $220 million

Marvel spent more on this film than they had on any other to date, but it made sense.  This is what it was all leading up to, and their bet paid off big.  At the time, it was the highest grossing opening weekend of all time and it currently stands as the 5th-highest grossing film of all time.

So, yeah.  It did alright.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Opening Weekend: $174,144,585

Domestic Total: $409,013,994

Worldwide Total: $1,214,811,252

Reported Budget: $200 million

One could argue that the film’s inflated box office was coasting off how well Avengers did, and while you might be able to make that argument for its opening weekend, you don’t get to over a billion dollars unless audiences like what you’re doing. Iron Man 3 is drastically different than every other MCU film, but audiences went for it.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Opening Weekend: $85,737,841

Domestic Total: $206,362,140

Worldwide Total: $644,571,402

Reported Budget: $170 million

Thor: The Dark World did slightly better than the original, but not by a large amount. It’s a franchise that Marvel clearly hasn’t quite cracked with regards to domestic audiences, so it’s not a surprise that Thor: Ragnarok looks radically different than the first two movies.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Opening Weekend: $95,023,721

Domestic Total: $259,766,572

Worldwide Total: $714,264,267

Reported Budget: $170 million

On the other hand, The Winter Soldier was a huge leap over the first movie when it came to the box office.  The film grossed almost double of what The First Avenger made worldwide. It shows that audiences had sparked not only to the character, but also to the Russo Brothers’ take on his world.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Opening Weekend: $94,320,883

Domestic Total: $333,176,600

Worldwide Total: $773,328,629

Reported Budget: $170 million

The success of Guardians of the Galaxy speaks to both the power of Marvel’s brand and James Gunn’s unique take. Guardians is incredibly different than other Marvel movies, but the Marvel brand got people to come out on opening weekend and people liked Gunn’s vision so much that it grossed almost three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Opening Weekend: $191,271,109

Domestic Total: $459,005,868

Worldwide Total: $1,405,403,694

Reported Budget: $250 million

While Age of Ultron made slightly less than the first Avengers, it wasn’t a drastic drop-off, and basically in line with how sequels tend to make less than the original. That being said, $1.4 billion worldwide is nothing to scoff at.  Also, even if the film made less than a billion, it’s not like Marvel would stop making Avengers movies.

Ant-Man (2015)

Opening Weekend: $57,225,526

Domestic Total: $180,202,163

Worldwide Total: $519,311,965

Reported Budget: $130 million

Arguably, the Marvel brand faltered a bit here with the movie making drastically less only a few months after Age of Ultron came out, but the for a debut of a new character (the first solo hero to get a debut since The First Avenger back in 2011), getting over half a billion worldwide is a solid return, especially when you factor in the turbulent production.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Opening Weekend: $179,139,142

Domestic Total: $408,084,349

Worldwide Total: $1,153,304,495

Reported Budget: $250 million

Marvel packed their third Captain America movie with superheroes and it paid off at the box office. The movie grossed over a billion worldwide, and shattered the previous takes from the first two Captain America movies.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Opening Weekend: $85,058,311

Domestic Total: $232,641,920

Worldwide Total: $677,718,395

Reported Budget: $165 million

The Marvel machine continues to hum along, and the success of Doctor Strange shows that it shouldn’t have any problems for the foreseeable future.  If the studio is basically guaranteed to gross over half a billion worldwide on each new character, and can keep costs relatively low, then their model for success shows no signs of slowing down.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Opening Weekend: $146,510,104

Domestic Total: $389,813,101

Worldwide Total: $863,562,289

Reported Budget: $200 million

The sequel has far surpassed the original at the box office.  While the movie benefited from a May box office that was relatively non-competitive, it’s still a strong sign that fans rushed out to support a film that was even stranger than the original. Guardians 2 shows that once audiences have invested in the characters, they’re willing to just hang out and spend time with them even if it’s not a big, plot-driven epic.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Opening Weekend: $117,027,503

Domestic Total: $333,919,623 (as of 11/6/17)

Worldwide Total: $879,885,407 (as of 11/6/17)

Reported Budget: $175 million

This is a bit of a tricky one to include because while the movie is firmly in the MCU, it’s also a character and a movie distributed by Sony Pictures, who owns the Spider-Man character. Nevertheless, it qualifies as an MCU movie, and judging by the box office, Marvel gave the character the shot in the arm he needed after the lackluster Amazing Spider-Man movies.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Opening Weekend: $121,005,000

Domestic Total: $$121,005,000 (as of 11/6/17)

Worldwide Total: $427,005,000 (as of 11/6/17)

Reported Budget: $180 million

Thor: Ragnarok exploded past the opening weekends of the first two Thor movies, which is an encouraging sign for Marvel. It shows that audiences are connecting with the character, and if the studio is willing to change up the framework–moving more from fantasy to sci-fi and adding the specific, comedic voice of director Taika Waititi, then audiences are going to go for it.

Opening Weekends, Ranked

1.) The Avengers: $207,438,708

2.) Avengers: Age of Ultron: $191,271,109

3.) Captain America: Civil War: $179,139,142

4.) Iron Man 3: $174,144,585

5.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: $146,510,104

6.) Iron Man 2: $128,122,480

7.) Thor: Ragnarok: $121,005,000

8.) Spider-Man: Homecoming: $117,027,503

9.) Iron Man: $98,618,668

10.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier: $95,023,721

11.) Guardians of the Galaxy: $94,320,883

12.) Thor: The Dark World: $85,737,841

13.) Doctor Strange: $85,058,311

14.) Thor: $65,723,338

15.) Captain America: The First Avenger: $65,058,524

16.) Ant-Man: $57,225,526

17.) The Incredible Hulk: $55,414,050

Worldwide Totals, Ranked

1.) The Avengers: $1,518,812,988

2.) Avengers: Age of Ultron: $1,405,403,694

3.) Iron Man 3: $1,214,811,252

4.) Captain America: Civil War: $1,153,304,495

5.) Spider-Man: Homecoming: $879,885,407 (as of 11/6/17)

6.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: $863,562,289

7.) Guardians of the Galaxy: $773,328,629

8.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier: $714,264,267

9.) Doctor Strange: $677,718,395

10.) Thor: The Dark World: $644,571,402

11.) Iron Man 2: $623,933,331

12.) Iron Man: $585,174,222

13.) Ant-Man: $519,311,965

14.) Thor: $449,326,618

15.) Thor: Ragnarok: $427,005,000 (as of 11/6/17)

16.) Captain America: The First Avenger: $370,569,774

17.) The Incredible Hulk: $263,427,551

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