Marvel Studios is hard at work with the back-to-back filming of Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4. The two-part event will be a milestone for the MCU, as it will bring together numerous characters from the various franchises in the universe and put them up against the infamous Mad Titan, Thanos.
- Your Big Avengers: Infinity War Guide: News, Trailers, Release Date, Theories & All You Need To Know
But bringing all that excitement to life costs money...quite a lot, in fact. In 2015, a rumor surfaced from Bleeding Cool about the films' budget. They claimed the two-part event would cost a staggering $1 billion. According to them, $400 million would go to actors' salaries, with Robert Downey Jr. taking half of it.
At the time, it was all speculation, but this latest development might have just confirmed it. During a luncheon hosted by the African American Film Critics Association on February 28, the co-owner of Pinewood Studios, Dan Cathy, made this announcement:
"We now have on the lot down there now the largest film production ever with a $1 billion budget."
Due to studio agreements, Cathy could not name the film. But Infinity War is currently filming in Pinewood, and it's the only production we know of of this scale. Therefore it's pretty easy to figure out which movie he was referring to. Marvel Studios has come a long way — from a small company, slowly distributing its own films, to a powerhouse with the most successful franchise ever and the largest movie production in history.
Until now, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was the most expensive movie ever made, at $378.5 million. Even the back-to-back Hobbit trilogy "only" cost $623 million.
Knowing so much effort and cash is being put into Infinity War is certainly incredible news for us comic book nerds, but there's something important to consider...
This Budget Raises The Stakes For Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios is known for its successful runs at the box office. The best example being The Avengers, which earned $1.5 billion worldwide. However, the upcoming two-part event offers a new challenge for the House of Ideas: a good profit margin.
While the box office numbers of Avengers were impressive, the film was made on a $220 million budget. Infinity War and its sequel is a completely different beast, as their production budget is reportedly $1 billion. This puts a lot of pressure on the films to perform exceptionally well. Now, obviously such a burden will be split between them, but that could still mean a $500 million investment for each installment.
That doesn't take the risk factor away. There are very specific movies in the MCU that have crossed the $1 billion mark: Avengers culminated Phase 1, Iron Man 3 was Tony Stark's first solo adventure since the aforementioned team-up, Age of Ultron was the sequel of a universally-loved film, and Civil War saw our favorite heroes go head-to-head. Infinity War obviously fits in this category of milestone films.
However, as the years have gone by, we've noticed a decrease in box office numbers for these types of installments.
- Thanos Will Be The Star Of 'Avengers: Infinity War' Says Kevin Feige, But Will This Solve Marvel's Villain Problem?
- The One Enormous Difference Between 'Infinity War' On Screen And In Marvel Comics
- These Not-So-Sinister 6 MCU Movies Will Feature Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Age of Ultron earned $1.4 billion, $100 million less than its predecessor. And Civil War, which was marketed as basically a new Avengers movie, had the star power of Robert Downey, Jr., the introduction of Spider-Man into the MCU, several other heroes and great reviews, and took in $1.1 billion.
So Marvel Studios is definitely facing a risk with Infinity War with such a big production budget. Of course, there's no doubt in my mind that it will cross that coveted $1 billion mark, but will that be enough? It's amazing to even have to ask that question.
Hopefully, everything goes well for Marvel, but a lot of heroes cost a lot of zeroes.
Do you think Infinity War and Avengers 4 will succeed at the box office? Are you worried about the films having such a big budget? Let me know in the comments!