The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, is a shared fictional universe focused on a series of superhero films that are based on characters that appear in Marvel Comics. In addition to feature films, it also includes comic books, short films, and television series. Films in the MCU have been split into three distinct phases.
It was acquired back in 2009 by the Walt Disney Co. DIS for $4 billion. Many were worried that the deal would both ruin beloved Marvel characters like Iron Man and damage Disney's financial standing and stock valuation. Fast forward to 2017, and Disney's acquisition could very well be one of the best things to happen to both the media giant and the comic book publisher.
However, it looks like the MCU is quickly coming to an end, at least as we know it. In an interview with IGN , Anthony Russo-who will be directing the upcoming Avengers films with his brother Joe-said that "these two movies are intended to be the culmination of everything that has happened in the MCU since the very first Iron Man movie…In being a culmination, these movies are in some ways going to be an end to certain things, and in some ways, they're going to be the beginning of certain things."
With this in mind, how much money has Marvel grossed at the box office? And how much more can it bring in? Let's break it down:
- Iron Man - $585,174,222
- The Incredible Hulk - $263,427,551
- Iron Man 2 , bringing in $623,933,331
- Thor - $449,326,618
- Captain America: The First Avenger - $370,569,774
- The Avengers - $1,518,812,988
- Iron Man 3 - $1,217,811,252
- Thor: The Dark World - $644,571,402
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $714,264,267
- Guardians of the Galaxy - $773,328,629
- Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1,405,403,694
- Ant-Man - $519,311,965
Phase three is just in its beginning stage, but will wrap up by 2019. The first of the last 10 films of the MCU, Captain America: Civil War , brought in almost $1.5 billion worldwide during its theatrical release. Next up was Doctor Strange , which brought in $677.7 million and was nominated for one Oscar for Visual Effects.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just hit theaters this past weekend, and has already grossed over $427 million worldwide, making it the biggest MCU movie debut without Iron Man present . Domestically, the film brought it in $145 million, representing a 53.8% spike from the original movie's $94.3 million box office debut three years ago.
Audiences can look forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok hitting theaters later this year. Black Panther , Avengers: Infinity War , and Ant-Man and the Wasp are set to premiere in 2018; and Captain Marvel and the untitled Avengers sequel are coming to theaters in 2019.
The Marvel Effect
As of now, the MCU has grossed $10,916,958,583 at the worldwide box office, and if the next eight films can live up to each of their respective predecessors, the franchise could very well double, and even triple, its worldwide earnings. Both of the next Avengers films could easily make $1 billion each, and if the next Thor and Ant-Man movies follow in common sequel fashion, they could both make well over their originals' total earnings. Guardians is already on its way there.
Predicting gross profit from films is difficult, as Hollywood accounting is notoriously complicated, but it is safe to argue that Marvel has proven to be the ultimate money maker. Its films, comics, TV shows, merchandise, and all other revenue sources show that Disney made the entertainment deal of a lifetime.
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