The 2000s saw superhero movies in their infancy, but the signs that they would become the most important films of the 2010s were there. No other movie genre even came close to dominating multiplexes in the 2010s. However, it also shows just how well oiled the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, as no movies outside of the series make the list.
Whether fans think that’s a good thing or a bad thing, all of Marvel Studios’ superhero crossover movies have become equal parts fan service and gripping action. And they continued to influence every other studio desperately tinkering with random cinematic universes. It’s all because of the amount of money the MCU has brought in from all over the world.
2010 – Iron Man 2 ($623.9 million)
When it comes to box office numbers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be split into two different phases. those released before The Avengers and those released after The Avengers. After the 2012 film’s release, even the most unknown titles approached $1 billion. However, when it comes to films from before 2012, the box office numbers are much more modest.
Even though some fans believe iron man 2 aged poorly, it was the most successful of the lot, but even the $620 million intake isn’t quite the benchmark it might have been. But the movie did the heavy lifting, as it built up the cinematic universe by introducing SHIELD, in addition to being a Iron Man continued.
2011 – Thor ($449.3 million)
Both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger came out in 2011, and of the two, the God of Thunder came out on top, which is interesting given the in-universe character rivalry. It’s hard to believe that Thor to choke The First Avenger at the box office, as Chris Evans was a much more established actor than Chris Hemsworth, and historical war dramas have always been hugely successful.
There are no obvious indicators as to how Thor earned almost $80 million more than its sister film, especially since neither of them received overwhelmingly positive reviews. But it shows just how much star power Hemsworth had early in his career.
2012 – The Avengers ($1.518 billion)
The black Knight was the first-ever superhero movie to hit $1 billion, and The dark knight rises followed suit. But even if Christopher Nolan’s beloved Batman trilogy was universally acclaimed, it could not compare to the phenomenon that has been The Avengers. The Avengers is far greater than the sum of its parts, as all of the previous solo films were surprisingly under-grossing compared to the 2012 film.
But the success is not only due to the fact that it was an event film. There are an endless amount of factors that can affect a movie’s success, and one element of the film’s box office bottom line could be due to the overwhelming number of dark and gritty superhero movies. The Avengers is a refreshing and exciting popcorn movie, which isn’t as depressing as its peers at the time.
2013 – Iron Man 3 ($1.214 billion)
Surprisingly, iron man 3 nearly doubled its predecessor’s box office gross, and it’s no secret why. The 2013 film functions as the sequel to The Avengers, and this is the first example of the MCU serializing their movies and having the events of one movie impact subsequent movies, which is one of the things iron man 3 was right, and that also meant much higher box office revenue.
Ironically, despite the movie’s incredible success, it was loved more by casual fans than MCU enthusiasts. This stems from how the promise of the Mandarin, one of Marvel’s most famous villains, as an antagonist was a total bait and switch. The character turned out to be a British stage actor called Trevor who loves football, and people who had no idea who the comic book character was thought the plot was great.
2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy ($773.3 million)
No one could ever have determined that guardians of the galaxy would have made as much money as he did. Even despite being part of the MCU and following The Avengersit’s a goofy movie about five outcasts in space, but it still managed to make three-quarters of a billion dollars.
But what’s an even bigger feat is that the movie made more money than any other 2014 MCU movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier was Captain America’s second film, and it also starred two other Avengers, Black Widow and Nick Fury. Despite this, a movie about a tree and a talking raccoon was still able to make more money in the world.
2015 – Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.4o2 billion)
Given the box office trajectory of the MCU, on paper, Avengers: Age of Ultron should have made a lot more money than it did, especially since everyone was now into the idea of the cinematic universe. At this point in the franchise, parents who didn’t understand why Batman and the X-Men aren’t in the movies now had a clear understanding of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe was all about.
However, Age of Ultron wasn’t as well-received as its predecessor, and it even features one of the more amateurish moments in a big-budget movie. Because of this, there were far fewer repeat viewings, and even some of the MCU’s biggest fans felt that one trip to the movies was enough. And that led to a lower box office gross than the first. avengers movie.
2016 – Captain America: Civil War ($1.153 billion)
Without a Thor movie or a Guardians of the Galaxy movie to rival, a Captain America release eventually managed to become the highest-grossing superhero movie of the year. However, ironically, the billion dollar figure is not so much due to Steve Rogers, but to all the other superheroes in the movie.
Captain America: Civil War is essentially The Avengers 2.5, like Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlett Witch and so many more can be found in the movie. On top of that, it also introduced Spide-Man and Black Panther, making the film impossible to fail.
2017 – Spider-Man: Homecoming ($880.1 million)
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the closest the 2010s have to having one of the highest-grossing superhero movies of the year outside of Marvel. Although the film is technically part of the MCU, it is not distributed by Marvel Studios, as Sony owns the licensing rights and is a Sony production. Nonetheless, the film wouldn’t be as successful without the presence of Iron Man and other MCU characters.
However, with that in mind, it should have been a billion dollar movie, and it’s far from the highest grossing movie of 2017. The slight underperformance may be due to Spider-Man fatigue and to the string of disappointments in the series, and there hadn’t been a widely positively received Spidey film since 2004. Spiderman 2.
2018 – Avengers: Infinity War ($2.048 billion)
Just like the first avengers movie made, Avengers: Infinity War set a precedent with its box office success. The third movie marks the first time a superhero movie has hit the $2 billion mark, and it was only the fourth movie in history to do so. It’s the beginning of the end, and between the frenetic pace and the emotional backbone, Infinity War is the best avengers movie.
Although everyone expected the film to be a hit, it didn’t get enough credit for being surprisingly dark. The very first scene of the film sees Loki suffocated to death and Gamora is devastatingly murdered by her father. And despite that, it still grossed over $2 billion.
2019 – Avengers: Endgame ($2.797 billion)
Avengers: Endgame achieved the impossible. Not only did it wrap up dozens of character stories succinctly and cohesively in a quickly passing three hour span, but its box office gross was incredible. The film was briefly the highest-grossing film of all time, as it dethroned Avatarwhich held the top spot for 12 years.
However, as Avatar was re-released in theaters shortly after, End of Game down to number two. Another movie on the Marvel Studios slate is unlikely to come close to Game over figure. Not even a fifth avengers The film could achieve this, as the big draw of the 2019 film was the climax of the Infinity Saga and the conclusion to an arc of over 20 films.
NEXT: Avengers: Endgame – 9 Things MCU Newbies Need To Know Before Watching
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