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30 Highest Grossing Marvel Comics Movies By How Much They Made At The Box Office

Film adaptations of Marvel Comics characters have gone from being a curiosity item among comic book geeks to a cornerstone of modern American cinema. While the titles that comprise the Marvel Cinematic Universe are the most famous examples of these kinds of movies, they're not the only ones who've been adapting iconic figures from this comic book company for the silver screen. Studios like Sony's Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox also brought characters like Spider-Man and the various members of the X-Men, respectively, to movie theaters across the globe, often to enormous box office success. Across the multiple decades worth of Marvel Comics adaptations, countless box office records have been shattered and the enduring appeal of these super-powered figures has been constantly reinforced.

When you break down the 30 highest-grossing movies based on Marvel characters at the worldwide box office, several key patterns emerge, including which characters tend to be most popular with moviegoers. However, since this list isn't exclusively dominated by titles hailing from Marvel Studios, one also gets a chance to appreciate the wildly different interpretations of these figures that have graced movie theater screens for so many decades. Examining the most lucrative Marvel Comics movie adaptations has made us appreciate these titles for more than just their box office prowess.

30. Iron Man 2

With "Iron Man," Marvel Studios proved it could take a C-list superhero and turn them into an A-list movie star. In Hollywood, that kind of success can only mean one thing: a sequel. A follow-up to "Iron Man" was quickly greenlit and set for a May 2010 debut. The extraordinary response to the original "Iron Man" ensured that all eyes would be on this sequel, entitled "Iron Man 2." Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johansson were the most prominent new faces recruited for the second solo "Iron Man" outing, while the feature's marketing campaign teased out potential further connections to then-upcoming Marvel Studios endeavors, like "The Avengers."

With all that hype, it's no surprise that "Iron Man 2" was a sizeable box-office winner. Grossing $621.1 million worldwide, "Iron Man 2" outgrossed its predecessor globally (though it came up just short of that film in North America) and was mighty profitable on a $170 million budget. Even better, it outgrossed all but two titles released in 2010 at the domestic box office, coming in behind "Toy Story 3" and "Alice in Wonderland." It's true that even with how beloved the first "Iron Man" was, "Iron Man 2" couldn't quite reach the box office heights of other superhero sequels like "Spider-Man 3." But its $621.1 million haul confirmed that Tony Stark/Iron Man's popularity was not a short-lived fad.

29. Thor: The Dark World

It's no exaggeration to say that "Thor: The Dark World" doesn't have the kind of positive reputation many other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have. The film is widely regarded as one of the worst entries in the franchise, thanks to a flat plot and the lack of a compelling villain. "The Dark World" director Alan Taylor has talked about his experience helming the motion picture and working within the Marvel Studios machine with only regret. Even its leading man, Chris Hemsworth, has joined in on critiquing the project, with Hemsworth looking back on his performance in "The Dark World" with disappointment.

Even with all of these responses, though, "Thor: The Dark World" was an undisputed hit at the worldwide box office, bringing in a strong $644.6 million total. After appearing in "The Avengers," Thor was on way more people's radars, which helped to ensure that his second solo outing would bring in a bigger box office haul than the first "Thor" from 2011. It didn't hurt that "Thor" seemed to have a lot of extra allure to international moviegoers, as evidenced by "The Dark World's" $438.2 million overseas haul (nearly equal to the original "Thor's" worldwide gross). Thor's draw, as a superhero, ensured the feature would find global success, even if its quality left something to be desired.

28. Big Hero 6

With "Big Hero 6," the world of theatrically-released Marvel Comics movie adaptations went somewhere quite rare: animation. Though countless animated, direct-to-video titles have been released based on Marvel Comics superheroes, movies sent to the big screen tend to be live-action affairs. Movies like "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" are an extremely rare breed, with "Big Hero 6" also being a part of this rare crop of big-screen movies. "Big Hero 6" wasn't just an adaptation of some obscure Marvel characters, though. It was also an entry into the pantheon of Walt Disney Animation Studios titles, a beloved canon of motion pictures that includes everything from "The Jungle Book" to "The Lion King" to "Frozen." "Big Hero 6's" box office run wouldn't just have to live up to all the cash earned by other Marvel movies, it would also have to contend with the box office expectations of a new animated Disney release.

There was a lot of pressure on Baymax and company, but "Big Hero 6" rose to the occasion. In its theatrical run, "Big Hero 6" snagged $648.4 million, enough to make it the highest-grossing animated movie of 2014. Somehow, "Big Hero 6" managed to be a lucrative enterprise for Marvel Comics, despite focusing on superheroes that were leagues away from being as famous as Spider-Man or Iron Man. Good storytelling can be just as attractive to moviegoers as an instantly recognizable crime-fighter.

27. Doctor Strange

Though he's now appeared in countless titles across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) had never appeared in a live-action movie before his first solo feature in 2016. Though he was name-dropped in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and had headlined a TV movie in the 1970s, Doctor Strange was otherwise a totally untested character as a cinematic leading man. Though by 2016, Marvel Studios had developed an impeccable box office track record, and there was still understandable concern over whether or not this character was going to be able to headline a lucrative blockbuster. However, the box office haul of "Doctor Strange" made it apparent that this magical character was just as capable as any other mainstay Marvel Comics character of being a box office draw.

In its worldwide run, "Doctor Strange" made $676.3 million, which included $232.6 million in North America. At the time, this was only behind "Guardians of the Galaxy" in terms of global box office hauls for Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes, putting it ahead of the first "Iron Man," "Ant-Man," and "Thor" movies, among others. Exempting the "Hobbit" movies where he only showed up via voice-over, "Doctor Strange" was also, at the time, the highest-grossing film Benedict Cumberbatch had ever appeared in. With these and other box office achievements under its belt, "Doctor Strange" could hold its head high as a smash hit start to Doctor Strange's big-screen career.

26. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

On paper, it's hard to imagine how Sony would've found any fault with the worldwide box office run of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." This blockbuster grossed $708.9 million worldwide, a step down from prior "Spider-Man" movies, but still a solid haul, especially with an international gross that exceeded $500 million. Plus, it managed to crack the top ten biggest movies of 2014 at the worldwide box office, outgrossing titles like "Interstellar," "Big Hero 6," and "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

The problem here, though, was how the box office performance measured up to pre-release expectations. Sony's Columbia Pictures had previously disclosed that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" needed to crack $1 billion to be seen as a financial success by the studio. Unfortunately, its final $708.9 million worldwide haul missed that mark, while its $200 million domestic haul was by far the lowest North American gross for a solo "Spider-Man" movie. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was unable to fulfill the wildest box office expectations. But, on its own merits, this movie's global haul was still a solid achievement that showed the enduring appeal of Spider-Man as a big-screen attraction.

25. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" thrust Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) into the throes of the modern world, where the lines between good and evil are blurrier than ever, and enemies can be lurking around every corner. There was more than a whiff of paranoia and omnipresent danger in this "Captain America" title, with these qualities helping to differentiate the film from its period piece predecessor, "Captain America: The First Avenger." Going against the grain of audience expectations for a solo "Captain America" movie was a big bet, but it also helped to make "The Winter Soldier" immediately recognizable as something new. This was not going to be a rehash of Captain America's exploits in "The First Avenger" or even in the crossover event, "The Avengers."

Promising something so excitingly unprecedented paved the way for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" to be a massive hit in its 2014 theatrical run. This run kicked off with the title obliterating the domestic opening weekend record for a movie released in April. "The Winter Soldier's" success outside of the summertime season showed that Marvel Studios titles could thrive anywhere on the calendar. When the dust had settled, "The Winter Soldier" had secured $714.4 million worldwide, nearly double the global haul of "Captain America: The First Avenger." It's safe to say the Captain has fulfilled his mission of headlining a box office juggernaut.

24. Thor: Love and Thunder

After "Thor: Ragnarok" turned into a fan-favorite title among devotees to the franchise and general moviegoers alike, it was only a matter of time before Taika Waititi wrote and directed another solo "Thor" movie. That chance came in the July 2022 title "Thor: Love and Thunder," which ramped up the goofiness and brought Natalie Portman to the fray as The Mighty Thor. The final product turned out to be an incredibly divisive production for audiences, but that response didn't stop "Thor: Love and Thunder" from becoming a massive hit at the worldwide box office.

In its worldwide run, "Thor: Love and Thunder" collected $745.2 million, a step down from the $850.4 million worldwide gross of "Thor: Ragnarok." However, that discrepancy there can be almost entirely chalked up to that third "Thor" movie getting released in China, a territory that eluded "Love and Thunder." Otherwise, this box office gross for "Love and Thunder" was exceptional, especially its domestic total, which amounted to $343.2 million, the largest North American sum for a solo "Thor" movie. This global haul was also enough to ensure that "Love and Thunder" was one of the ten biggest movies of 2022 globally. Moviegoers may not have been head over heels for it, but "Thor: Love and Thunder" was still a rollicking box office success.

23. X-Men: Days of Future Past

The "X-Men" franchise is one that, alongside "Blade," helped to birth the dominance of Marvel Comics film adaptations in the modern cinematic landscape. Given this achievement, it's somewhat surprising to remember that this saga wasn't quite as big at the box office as other 2000s superhero movie franchises. The "X-Men" movies were not box office duds by any stretch of the imagination, especially in North America. However, before 2014, not a single entry in the saga cracked $460 million worldwide. For comparison's sake, the very first solo "Thor" movie in 2011 managed to outgross all but one of the pre-2014 "X-Men" movies. International moviegoers, a key component for any superhero blockbuster, just weren't as enamored with mutants.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" sought to bring the "X-Men" saga up to the level of "The Avengers" by pulling together the original "X-Men" cast members with the "X-Men: First Class" characters and ramping up the scope of the action. The result was a wild hit that reached $747.8 million worldwide and finally got the "X-Men" movies to be a substantial force at the international box office, with a massive $513.9 million international total. The "X-Men" movies have almost always been lucrative enterprises, but "Days of Future Past" took the franchise's box office victories to new heights.

22. The Amazing Spider-Man

With the original trilogy of "Spider-Man" movies directed by Sam Raimi, Sony got a cash-cow franchise that was beloved by audiences and proved influential enough to impact superhero films for years to come. If there was any downside to all that success, though, it was in providing a very long shadow over whatever came next in this franchise. Tobey Maguire's iteration of that web crawler was now so famous and beloved that people would follow the character anywhere and everywhere. However, this made the prospect of somebody new taking on the role a risky concept. Would audiences be able to accept the idea of somebody new putting on the mask and fighting crime?

Sony's Columbia Pictures dived in headfirst into figuring out the answer to that question when it released "The Amazing Spider-Man" over Independence Day weekend in 2012. This project featured Andrew Garfield playing the character for the very first time. It also intended to bring a darker, moodier atmosphere to the world of Spider-Man. The film was quite different from earlier takes on the character, but it did prove successful. "The Amazing Spider-Man" grossed a massive $757.8 million worldwide, still beneath the global hauls of the first three "Spider-Man" installments, but otherwise an exceptional gross. With this film, a new age of Spider-Man on the big screen had begun with a profitable bang.

21. Guardians of the Galaxy

One of the more interesting pieces to read with the benefit of hindsight is a February 2014 article entitled "'Guardians of the Galaxy' will be a flop by Marvel standards" by Daniel B. Kline for The Motley Fool. The piece begins by acknowledging that Marvel Studios, up to this point, had delivered several hits, but that "Guardians of the Galaxy" was poised to be the first box office dud from the studio. The piece delved into numerous reasons for this, including the track record of earlier comic book movies like "Watchmen" generating lots of internet buzz but underwhelming box office, as well as the perception that nobody would be interested in seeing a movie starring a talking raccoon. There was such confidence in this piece about "Guardians of the Galaxy's" box office future that the essay ended with the note that the likes of Iron Man and Thor would be needed to salvage the Marvel Cinematic Universe after "Guardians of the Galaxy" inevitably tanked.

It would become apparent just six months later that this article was at least a little bit off in its predictions. "Guardians of the Galaxy" was a massive box office hit, grossing $770.8 million worldwide. As the third-biggest movie of 2014 domestically, "Guardians of the Galaxy" wasn't quite the box office flop it was initially expected to be.

20. Deadpool

Now that it's a movie so often imitated by major Hollywood productions, it's a bit weird to remember that the first "Deadpool" movie had to fight to even exist. Executives at 20th Century Fox just weren't convinced an R-rated superhero that was this raunchy and subversive was going to have broad appeal. Ryan Reynolds has even said that, if it weren't for some test footage of "Deadpool" leaking out onto the internet and garnering a positive reception, "Deadpool" would've never seen the light of day. But this wacky blockbuster did manage to hit movie theaters in February 2016 and it turned into a way bigger hit than anyone could've predicted.

On the surface, the $781.9 million worldwide haul of "Deadpool" seems impressive, but not especially noteworthy in the world of Marvel Comics adaptations, which often exceed $600 million, if not $1 billion, globally. What made "Deadpool's" box office success so special, though, was its R-rating. Its $132.7 million North American bow was the biggest 3-day debut for an R-rated movie in this territory by a significant margin. This set a precedent for the kind of box office grosses it would deliver throughout its theatrical run, which eventually culminated in the feature dethroning "The Matrix Reloaded" for the title of the biggest R-rated movie ever worldwide. The "Deadpool" box office run changed the game forever for R-rated movies ... and to think, it almost never existed in the first place.

19. Deadpool 2

"Deadpool" waltzed into the pop culture landscape an underdog and a wild card, nobody knew what kind of box office results would be produced by an R-rated superhero who was more interested in vulgar laughs than world-saving escapades. "Deadpool 2," meanwhile, entered the world with significantly more expectations placed on its shoulders. Thanks to its predecessor's incredible box office run, the idea of Deadpool being a lucrative leading man on the big screen was no longer ludicrous. While there weren't many box office precedents for the original "Deadpool," "Deadpool 2" was dealing with inevitable comparisons to the box office run of the initial "Deadpool."

"Deadpool 2" wasn't anywhere near as big of a surprise in its box office run as that first "Deadpool," but it was still a force to be reckoned with financially. In its global box office run, "Deadpool 2" amassed $786.3 million. That included a $324.5 million domestic total, a slightly smaller sum in this territory compared to its predecessor. However, worldwide, "Deadpool 2" did manage to sneak past "Deadpool," a feat that can be chalked up to the film getting a PG-13 theatrical re-release at the end of 2018 that allowed "Deadpool 2" to play in the lucrative market of China. Even with pre-release expectations as big as Colossus, "Deadpool 2" still wound up being a massive winner in its box office run.

18. Spider-Man

"Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart," warns the opening lines of "Spider-Man," delivered in voice-over by Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). His narration goes on: "If somebody said it was a happy little tale ... If somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world ... somebody lied." It's true that Parker's saga is full of tragedy and sadness, including the passing of his beloved uncle. The story of the original "Spider-Man" at the box office, on the other hand, is a much happier story, one full of countless victories. This 2002 blockbuster was a juggernaut in its theatrical run and helped to redefine the expectations for what superhero movies could accomplish at the box office.

In its first weekend of domestic release, "Spider-Man" didn't just dethrone "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for the biggest North American box office opening weekend in history, it also became the first motion picture in history to crack $100 million over its first three days of release in this territory. It was a seismic achievement that paved the way for an incredible box office run for this comic book adaptation. Once its theatrical release was finished, "Spider-Man" had grossed $821.7 million worldwide, an outstanding finish that wrapped up "Spider-Man's" box office performance as indeed "a happy little tale," especially for Sony executives.

17. Thor: Ragnarok

By 2017, Marvel Studios had pushed its standalone superhero movies to incredible box office heights. It wasn't just "Avengers" movies cracking $1 billion anymore, as solo outings for "Iron Man" and "Captain America" were also capable of crashing that threshold. If there was any Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero who wasn't quite at the same level of notoriety, though, it was Thor. Though his films were far from box office duds, they weren't anywhere near as massive as other Marvel Cinematic Universe titles, with the sequel "Thor: The Dark World" making less than "Doctor Strange," both domestically and globally. It was time for this franchise to get a massive tune-up if it wanted to compete with other Marvel Studios sagas at the box office.

This is where "Thor: Ragnarok" entered the picture.  This feature hailed from director Taika Waititi and promised to ramp up the presence of both bright colors and humor in the standalone "Thor" adventures. The result of these added elements, not to mention emphasizing the prominent presence of fellow Avenger Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), was a massive box office hit, with "Ragnarok" taking in $850.4 million in its worldwide box office haul. A substantial improvement on the global box office intakes of the first two "Thor" adventures, "Thor: Ragnarok" showed off all the financial potential of this side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

16. Spider-Man 2

The summer of 2004 was jam-packed with recognizable and beloved franchise titles, ranging from "Shrek 2" to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." An especially notable member of this crowd was "Spider-Man 2," the direct follow-up to the 2002 Sam Raimi feature "Spider-Man." Any concerns of audiences not wanting to shell out money to see this comic book icon on the big screen were promptly squashed by the massive box office run of "Spider-Man," which also made a sequel like "Spider-Man 2" inevitable. This time around, one of Spidey's most famous foes, Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), was brought to the table while a plotline involving Peter Parker dealing with the potential loss of his Spider-Man powers was also introduced.

There was a lot of new material here in "Spider-Man 2" to ensure that audiences weren't just going to get a rerun of the original "Spider-Man." Launched over the fourth of July weekend in 2004, "Spider-Man 2" kicked off its box office run in remarkable style by scoring the biggest domestic opening day gross in history, dethroning its predecessor for that honor. After beginning its theatrical release with that kind of bang, "Spider-Man 2" ended up grossing $794.6 million worldwide. While that was beneath the "Spider-Man" global haul, it was still enough to make "Spider-Man 2" incredibly profitable and the biggest live-action movie of 2004. No wonder "Spider-Man 2" stands out when one looks back at the moviegoing slate of summer 2004.

15. Venom

"Iron Man" started the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while "Man of Steel" launched the DC Universe. Similarly, "Venom" was the kick-off for Sony's Spider-Man Universe, a shared universe of properties largely focusing on Marvel characters who serve as supporting players to Spider-Man in the comics. It was a bold play to begin such an expansive, shared universe with a supervillain rather than a superhero, but then again, many parts of "Venom" weren't playing things by the book. Scenes like Tom Hardy flinging himself into a lobster tank, or a reimagining of Eddie Brock's alien symbiote as a rambunctious critter hungry for tater tots, were far from ordinary for a comic book movie. It was wacky, it was weird, and it all served as key ingredients in a cinematic stew that audience went wild for.

"Venom" shattered the domestic opening weekend record for a movie released in October, while it also scored the seventh-biggest North American bow at the time for a movie from Sony. It was an amazing debut, but "Venom's" box office glories weren't just limited to North America. "Venom" also became a box office phenomenon in China, a development that paved the way for its $856 million worldwide gross. With all these incredible accomplishments, it's an understatement to say that "Venom" started Sony's Spider-Man Universe off on a great foot.

14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Just as one good song deserves another, the global popularity of "Guardians of the Galaxy" ensured that audiences would be seeing another solo adventure for these cosmic superheroes again. This time, the characters were joined by new allies, like Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and had to contend with the nefarious Ego (Kurt Russell), the biological father of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Though this sequel maintained the memorable needle drops and wacky humor of its predecessor, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" also went darker and emotionally deeper than the original movie. The sequel ended up being an even bigger hit at the box office than its already massively lucrative predecessor.

In its worldwide run, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" amassed $869 million, a humongous sum that reaffirmed just how globally popular these characters had become after being relatively unknown to mainstream audiences for so many years. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" cracked the top ten highest-grossing movies of 2017 globally and was much bigger than other Marvel Cinematic Universe sequels like "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Iron Man 2." The box office run of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" made it apparent that this was one encore performance audiences had no complaints about.

13. Spider-Man: Homecoming

After 2014, Sony needed a bit of help with its string of adaptations of Marvel Comics characters. The studio had released several big hits in the world of comic book movies, but "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" hasn't caught fire with audiences like it was supposed to. A whole slew of sequels and spin-offs were now caught up in a state of uncertainty. What was this company going to do? The solution turned out to be acquiring some outside help. Marvel Studios was brought in to help shape the future of Spidey on the big screen, with this new iteration of the character being firmly planted within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Tom Holland incarnation of this character debuted in "Captain America: Civil War" before getting his own solo movie the following summer with "Spider-Man: Homecoming."

Though the sixth motion picture Sony/Columbia Pictures had released starring Spider-Man, audiences turned out for "Homecoming" like they'd never seen the character on the big screen before. "Spider-Man: Homecoming" turned into a gigantic hit with an $878.2 million worldwide haul. That was enough to surpass the global box office total of all but one previous movie in the "Spider-Man" franchise, while also surpassing the worldwide grosses of the other two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies released in 2017. Even better, "Homecoming" cost $175 million to produce, a good chunk of change, but also significantly less than "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Needless to say, "Homecoming" gave Spider-Man a new lease on life at the box office.

12. Spider-Man 3

In 2002, "Spider-Man" shattered the record for the biggest domestic box office opening weekend. There was some pleasing symmetry in seeing "Spider-Man 3," five years after that initial film, pick up the baton and also set a North American opening weekend record. "Spider-Man 3's" bow cracked $151 million in its first weekend of domestic play, a stunning achievement that marked the first time in history a movie managed to exceed $150 million in just three days in North America. This audacious premiere set the stage for a mammoth worldwide box office run for "Spider-Man 3," which eventually totaled up $894.8 million globally, the biggest worldwide haul in the "Spider-Man" franchise up to that point.

The positive response to the first two "Spider-Man" movies meant that anticipation was at a fever pitch for the arrival of "Spider-Man 3," particularly regarding how it would wrap up plot threads from its predecessor — like Harry Osborne (James Franco) discovering that Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is Spider-Man. The only blemish here was that "Spider-Man 3" did prove frontloaded in North America and eked out $336.5 million in this territory, a step down from the domestic hauls of the first two "Spider-Man" movies. But that $336.5 million gross was still a mighty sum, and with over $550 million accumulated in international box office dollars, there was no question that "Spider-Man 3" was a ridiculously profitable enterprise.

11. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was a reminder to viewers that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just one of countless universes within this expansive franchise. The actual "Multiverse of Madness" movie opened in a universe where theatrical moviegoing had been unspeakably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While hits like "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "The Batman" showed audiences would still return to theaters in droves, there was still more than an air of uncertainty lingering over the box office prospects of "Multiverse of Madness" as it launched into theaters. There was no need to be worried, it turned out. Not even the pandemic could keep people from checking out "Multiverse of Madness" in remarkable numbers

Worldwide, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" grossed $952.2 million, a noticeable improvement on the global haul of the original "Doctor Strange." "Multiverse of Madness" also became the first movie of 2022 to exceed $900 million worldwide and emerged as one of the biggest movies of summer 2022. All of these achievements added up to ensure that "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" couldn't be considered anything less than a box office triumph by Marvel Studios. There's certainly a universe out there where "Multiverse of Madness" tanked horribly at the box office, but it wasn't this one.

10. Captain Marvel

Exempting the 2017 movie "Kong: Skull Island," Brie Larson never appeared in a feature that had cracked $203 million worldwide before the year 2019. She had shown up in several box office hits like "21 Jump Street" and "Trainwreck," not to mention scored an Academy Award for her work headlining the indie drama "Room," but she wasn't a massive box office draw or somebody associated with anchoring global box office hits. If there's anything that can change that trajectory for an actor, though, it's the world of Marvel superheroes. Larson made her debut as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in "Captain Marvel" in March 2019. A significantly bigger film than any she'd ever headlined before, "Captain Marvel" took her soaring to new heights at the global box office.

Buoyed by a rampant marketing campaign and close connections to the then-upcoming "Avengers: Endgame," "Captain Marvel" grossed $1.129 billion worldwide. The first feature of 2019 to exceed the $1 billion mark worldwide, the North American box office haul also made it the highest-grossing live-action film with a woman director in that territory. Eventually snagging well over $400 million in profit for Disney and Marvel Studios, "Captain Marvel" redefined the box office prowess of Brie Larson.

9. Spider-Man: Far from Home

By July 2019, it was hard to imagine that the solo "Spider-Man" franchise was ever in financial danger. Just five years earlier, Sony was between a rock and a hard place when it came to figuring out what to do with Spidey on the big screen, due to the box office disappointment of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Ambitious plans for spin-offs and sequels were put on hold and it suddenly looked like Sony's biggest cinematic cash cow was in jeopardy. A subsequent deal to share custody of the character with Marvel Studios, though, rejuvenated the character and ensured that audiences were showing up in droves again for Spider-Man's adventures.

This new status quo was reaffirmed with the massive success of "Spider-Man: Far from Home" in July 2019. This title had the added benefit of not just following up the well-liked title "Spider-Man: Homecoming," but also being the first Marvel Cinematic Universe title to drop after the record-shattering success of "Avengers: Endgame." No wonder, then, that "Far from Home" grossed $1.13 billion worldwide, an astonishing total that put the feature way ahead of all other prior "Spider-Man" movies globally. Even better, "Far from Home" was lucrative enough to become the biggest Sony movie in history at the worldwide box office. With all of these achievements, "Spider-Man: Far from Home" proved that the "Spider-Man" saga was back in top form at the box office.

8. Captain America: Civil War

The Marvel Cinematic Universe reached new box office heights with movies about superheroes working together to fight unparalleled evil forces. "Captain America: Civil War," produced a box office smash that threw superheroes like Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) at odds with one another. "Civil War" was all about friends becoming adversaries, and it included countless Marvel superhero in this third solo outing for Captain America. This film was also the debut appearance of the first Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnation of Spider-Man. It was an expansive entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with much to offer many different kinds of moviegoers, making it unsurprising that this movie was a massive hit.

The days of solo "Captain America" movies failing to crack $380 million worldwide were a distant memory once "Civil War" rolled around, with this title accumulating $1.15 billion worldwide, including a gigantic $408 million domestic haul. Making well over four times its $250 million budget and ending up only 20% behind the worldwide gross of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" from a year earlier, "Captain America: Civil War" proved successful enough to stand as the highest-grossing feature of 2016 at the worldwide box office. The outstanding box office run of "Captain America: Civil War" proved that superheroes fighting each other could be just as entertaining as seeing them fight evil.

7. Iron Man 3

In the wake of "The Avengers," there was understandable concern about where the Marvel Cinematic Universe could go next. The sight of multiple Marvel superheroes working together had captivated the planet, but would solo outings of those characters be able to function properly again? "Iron Man 3" was the canary in the coal mine on this question. Dropping exactly a year after "The Avengers," "Iron Man 3" returned to one of the most popular Avengers to see what kind of box office potential these characters now had when playing alone. It turns out that moviegoers had no problem with these characters going on standalone outings in a post-"Avengers" world.

"Iron Man 3" kicked off its domestic run with a $174.1 million opening weekend, the second-biggest three-day debut in this territory at the time, only behind "The Avengers." From there, the title managed to make an incredible $1.2 billion worldwide, making it only the second Marvel Cinematic Universe title up to that point to exceed the $1 billion mark worldwide. Even better, it left the earlier solo "Iron Man" titles in the dust globally, with "Iron Man 3" nearly doubling the global haul of "Iron Man 2" from just three years earlier. That was the power of a post-"Avengers" boost, a powerful indication that there was indeed a vibrant box office life after "The Avengers" for the Marvel superheroes.

6. Black Panther

There have been many box office hits starring characters from the wide world of Marvel Comics, but few were as momentous in their box office run as "Black Panther." The success of this 2018 Ryan Coogler directorial effort wasn't just a win for comic book movies. It also upended long-standing perceptions in the film industry of just how successful movies with largely Black casts could be. "Black Panther" was nothing short of a game-changer, thanks to a worldwide gross that amassed $1.33 billion, including a staggering $700 million in North America alone. The latter haul was enough to make it the third-biggest movie ever released domestically at the time of its release.

The box office power of "Black Panther" is best exemplified by how the feature managed to overthrow "The Avengers" as the highest-grossing installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the domestic marketplace at the time of its release. Though it would later be surpassed by further entries in this saga like "Avengers: Endgame," "Black Panther" managing to out-earn the first two "Avengers" movies in this territory spoke to how deeply this project had resonated with moviegoers. "Black Panther" didn't need a whole team of superheroes to be a box office juggernaut. Instead, it had the kind of powerful storytelling that's as eternally mighty as any superpower.

5. Avengers: Age of Ultron

In the years since its release, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" has taken on something of a divisive reputation among Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. Elements like a subplot involving Natasha Romanoff being unable to have kids to a throwaway reference to "Prima Nocta" have ensured that "Age of Ultron" was not given the warm critical reception of its predecessor. This reputation has even extended to how it's referenced throughout other Marvel projects, with films like "Thor: Ragnarok" making fun of critical moments from the feature, such as Black Widow's "lullaby" to The Hulk. Even the heavy presence of Ultron in the first season of "What If...?" was born out of head writer A.C. Bradley believing the character should've been more imposing and prominent in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." 

Whether it's general moviegoers or people in charge of crafting new Marvel Cinematic Universe adventures, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is often held in low regard. Despite that, this summer blockbuster did manage to become a box office bonanza in its theatrical run, though it couldn't match the global or domestic gross of the original "Avengers." Still, a $1.39 billion worldwide gross was incredibly impressive, while "Ultron's" $936.3 million international sum surpassed the $891.7 million international gross of its predecessor. Not too shabby of a box office run for a movie that garnered so much controversy. 

4. The Avengers

"You've become part of a bigger universe," Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) informed Tony Stark in the very first Marvel Cinematic Universe post-credits scene back in 2008, "You just don't know it yet." With that, the groundwork for "The Avengers" was laid. Marvel Studios was about to go in an unprecedented direction and mimic the world of comic book storytelling in film by launching a handful of solo superhero movies before combining them all in one big crossover adventure. This is now the status quo for big Hollywood filmmaking in 2022, but in 2008, when that "Iron Man" post-credits scene played, it probably sounded like a fantasy. In May 2012, though, it became a reality with "The Avengers," which proceeded to become a mammoth box office sensation.

While everyone's well aware of "The Avengers" being a financial hit, it's still shocking to consider how much its box office run improved on its predecessors. Before "The Avengers," no Marvel Cinematic Universe title had made more than $621 million worldwide or $309 million internationally. Those numbers were blown out of the water by "The Avengers," which scored $1.51 billion worldwide. The drastic increase in box office success compared to its predecessors can be largely attributed to the historic nature of "The Avengers," as well as the incredible word-of-mouth from audiences. With "The Avengers," the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched itself into a much bigger box office universe.

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

By December 2021, there had been several successful movies at the American box office, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe feature "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." However, the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could be felt in the distinct lack of a big box office juggernaut originating from this country. The kind of titles produced seemingly monthly before the pandemic just weren't there yet, with no American title managing to crack $760 million worldwide up to this point. But in the final weeks of the year, that kind of massive box office game-changer finally appeared. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" swung into movie theaters in the middle of December 2021 and delivered box office figures that were nothing short of jaw-dropping.

In its worldwide box office run, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" grossed $1.91 billion, including a staggering $814.1 million domestically, a big enough sum to make it the third-biggest movie ever in North America. The financial achievements of "No Way Home" include feats like its North American haul more than doubling the grosses of the preceding live-action "Spider-Man" movies in that territory. Combining Tom Holland's version of Spider-Man with elements from the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield iterations of those characters was a stroke of genius that ensured this film could appeal to a much wider audience than just people who enjoyed "Spider-Man: Far from Home." With "No Way Home," the post-COIVD-19 box office landscape suddenly looked a lot more hopeful and spectacular.

2. Avengers: Infinity War

In 2012, audiences were bowled over by the sight of six different superheroes joining forces to fight evil. Just six years later, "Avengers: Infinity War" expanded the scope of this superhero spectacle to include far more than just six costumed crime fighters. Now the story was bouncing between planets and involved everything from genocidal aliens to wizards to plucky teenage web crawlers. "Avengers: Infinity War" delivered so much superhero movie spectacle and, on top of everything else, also gave audiences a rare bleak ending for the subgenre involving the villain unequivocally winning. "Infinity War" didn't just go bigger in its on-screen mayhem, it also went bigger with its box office grosses.

Much like the first "Avengers" movie, "Avengers: Infinity War" started its box office run by setting a new domestic opening weekend record. Dethroning "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" for that honor, "Infinity War" was also the first motion picture to exceed $250 million in its first three days of domestic release. From there, "Avengers: Infinity War" cracked $2.04 billion in its global theatrical run, including well over $1 billion internationally, making it the first superhero movie to cross that threshold from solely overseas markets. The box office run for "Avengers: Infinity War" was staggering, especially in how it handily surpassed the already extraordinary grosses of "The Avengers" from 2012.

1. Avengers: Endgame

Back in 1986, the world experienced its first theatrical movie based on a Marvel Comics character in the form of "Howard the Duck." Though the movie was reviled by audiences and critics alike, its very existence did throw down a gauntlet that established a precedent for Marvel characters getting translated to the big screen. In the years that followed, more projects in the same vein would follow, including "Blade" and "Spider-Man." The humble beginnings of duck/human romances were quickly forgotten as other endeavors began to take shape. What felt like the apex of expansive Marvel storytelling on the big screen was reached in 2019 with "Avengers: Endgame," an epic production that brought together countless Marvel superheroes to face down evil.

Such a massive motion picture, one that was promising to follow up the cliffhanger ending of "Avengers: Infinity War" to boot, inspired equally enormous box office numbers. Over its domestic opening weekend, "Avengers: Endgame," like two of the preceding "Avengers" movies, smashed the domestic box office opening weekend record by securing over $350 million in its first three days of release in this territory. By the end of its theatrical run, "Endgame" would score $2.79 billion worldwide, temporarily making it the biggest film ever worldwide. Best of all, this box office phenomenon managed to make room for a cameo appearance from Howard the Duck, the trailblazer for movie adaptations of Marvel Comics characters.