ByJared Ficiur, writer at
Jared Ficiur

We've all been to the theaters and spent money on at least one Marvel film, if not all of them....or maybe each of them four or five times! With twelve films to date, and nine planned for the next four years, it's quickly become one of the most popular franchises in cinema history. With it's latest film, Ant-Man, it's also become the most financially successful franchise EVER at the international box office!

Budget VS International Box Office
Budget VS International Box Office

Take a look at all the MCU movies ranked! The blue boxes represent the films' budgets, the red what they brought in internationally.

The top films aren't surprising: The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the second coming in shorter than its predecessor. Avengers broke opening weekend records in 2012 and brought in $1,518,594,910 globally, and Avengers: Age of Ultron brought in $1,402,805,868. It's also interesting that the newest in the series, Ant-Man, exceeded expectations by more than tripling it's $130 million budget with $430 million in the box office. It actually beat out two other films on the list - The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America: The First Avenger, even with these two films starring more well known superheroes. These two films are the lowest on the list bringing in $263 million and $370 million respectively. The success of Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy (which is ranked #4 with $771 million) prove that movie-goers also go to films revolving around lesser known characters.

So just how does the MCU stack up to the other superhero franchises?

Superhero International Box Office Comparison
Superhero International Box Office Comparison

As I stated the MCU has become the highest grossing franchise of all time pulling in a grand total of $9 billion. In second place we have Spider-Man after five movies with $3.9 billion. Batman close behind with seven films and grossing a total of $3.6. The seven X-Men films (and four on the way) total $3 billion. Superman's six films total $1.5, almost half of which was the recent Man of Steel pulling in $668 million alone. Finally the Fantastic four and their three films with a total gross of $786 million.

Even though Marvel is killing it at the box office it really is hard to compare as it's a continuous franchise unlike the rebooted Spider-Man, Batman and Superman franchises. The MCU has done something that's never been done before by having separate films with different characters all tying into (for the most part) a single story inside their shared universe. We'll be able to have a much better comparison in ten years after the DC Cinematic Universe has time to pump out more films into their expanded franchise. The follow up to Man of Steel is finally coming next year with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. X-Men can also be expected to be on the rise with three new films next year Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and Gambit. Also the third and final Wolverine film will be released the following year. With Hugh Jackman using this film to exit the franchise I expect it to be huge at the box office.

Top 15 Franchises Global Box Office
Top 15 Franchises Global Box Office

Let's compare the MCU against other movie franchises. Harry Potter is in second place with almost $8 billion after eight movies (and two new movies on the way). James Bond, which will hit a milestone of 25 movies this year, is at 6 billion dollars. The Lord of the Rings franchise is close behind after their sixth and final movie. Star Wars is at 4.5 billion after seven films (including The Clone Wars) but with the long awaited Episode VII hitting theaters in two months, and new movies planned once a year for the foreseeable future I'm expecting this number to soar! Spider-Man, Fast and the Furious, Transformers, Pirates, Batman, Jurassic Park, Shrek, Twilight, X-Men and Mission: Impossible all make up our list of Top 15 franchises at the International Box Office!

I'm sure we've all heard the complaints that Hollywood is full of sequels, prequels, and that they can't come up with anything new or original! Well fans definitely aren't getting sick of franchises as stated by this year's performance of Avengers Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and Fast the Furious 7! Out of these top fifteen franchises ten have future movies in development, and two more (James Bond and Mission Impossible) both have movies this year and are unlikely to call it quits. The anticipation for Star Wars VII is palpable right now and after the recent trailer it's pre-sale tickets have been incredible! Next year's Batman v Superman is also getting a ton of buzz as one of the longest awaited superhero team-ups ever! As are Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse, which are both expected in 2016.

So any time someone tells you sequels or reboots are dead, you can show them these incredible numbers and explain that people everywhere still flock into the theater when it comes to our fan favorite franchises! We still very much look forward to the next story, wondering what our favorite characters are up to!

All my box office numbers come from


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