Thor: The Dark World was just released and it’s doing pretty well ($345.9 million and climbing fast), so I was thinking we should maybe take a look at past Marvel movies and how well they did worldwide at the box office. Since Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe only has 8 releases so far (including Thor: The Dark World), there’s not much of a top 10 there. So this time we’ll change the rules a bit and go after every movie adapted from Marvel Comics, that includes films like Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Blade, Daredevil and even Howard the Duck, not just the Marvel movies pre and post The Avengers.
Marvel Movies: Box Office Top 10
10. Thor (2011) $449.3 million – The Norse god of thunder made his theatrical debut just two years ago with this movie based in The Avengers universe (part of Phase 1). Arguably the hardest avenger to bring to the big screen, Thor turned out much better then many could have anticipated. I blame it on the perfect casting of Chris Hemsworth as the titular hero and Kenneth Branagh’s strong vision of how all that madness was supposed to work.
9. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) $459.4 million – One of the lesser X-Men movies happens to also be the most popular one. Only X2 and this year’s The Wolverine managed to even scratch $400 million, neither particularly close to this one. That will change next summer with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fox’s answer to The Avengers and, dare I say it, the most ambitious superhero movie we’ve ever had.
8. Iron Man (2008) $585.1 million – This was the catalyst for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (also known as The Avengers stuff). Iron Man had the power to either make or break and judging by where we are now, I’d say it certainly made it and then some.
7. Iron Man 2 (2010) $623.9 million – This direct sequel was a bit more successful at the box office thanks to a noticeable international bump. While Iron Man was something like 54% domestic and 46% foreign, Iron Man 2 had a 50-50 ratio (maintaining similar domestic numbers).
6. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) $752.2 million – How do you reboot one of the most successful superheroes of all time while retaining a similar level popularity, a hero that debuted on the silver screen just a decade before. Why even do that? I guess the simplest answer would be ’cause we can’. All this negativity aside, I think The Amazing Spider-Man turned out real well (all things considered) and the potential for its sequels to be even better is through the roof (now that we’ve gotten the origin story out of the picture).
5. Spider-Man 2 (2004) $783.7 million – When we’ll look back at this series years from now, out of the Sam Raimi trilogy, I believe Spider-Man 2 will be the one that will best survive the test of time. Worry not, there’s still plenty cheese here too and I honestly don’t mind it, coming from an era when superhero movies didn’t have to take themselves so seriously to be taken seriously.
4. Spider-Man (2002) $821.7 million – With $114.8 million, Spider-Man set a new opening weekend record back in 2002. It was also the first Marvel film to pass the $100 million mark in only 3 days. For half a decade this was the number one superhero flick of all time, half a decade for Spider-Man 3 to come and take the title.
3. Spider-Man 3 (2007) $890.8 million – Speaking of the wolf, Spider-Man 3 also took the opening weekend record (from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest at the time) with an unbelievable $151.1 million. Ultimately Spider-Man 3 ended up disappointing fans more than anything else and its higher gross is attributed only to a much higher international gross then any of the previous adventures. And no, Spider-Man 3 is not the reason we got The Amazing Spider-Man, there were many other factors into play, factors that ended up deciding the faith of this series.
2. Iron Man 3 (2013) $1.21 billion – Going from 2D to 3D and following The Avengers directly helped push Iron Man 3 to ridiculous levels. Just look above and combine the worldwide totals of both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (it’s $1.2 billion) and then compare them to this monsters, unbelievable. Overseas Iron Man 3 made only $90 million less than The Avengers, so essentially it played exactly like a sequel to that movie. Now the quality of Iron Man 3 is debatable, I personally liked it and didn’t much care for that thing they did which seemed to upset so many fans. But I can also understand their reaction and why some might not find the movie as entertaining as I did.
1. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) $1.51 billion – The Avengers assembled with a new domestic opening weekend record of $207.4 million. This box office juggernaut set the bar at an all time high for every future superhero movie in terms of success. The Avengers are basically sitting on top of Stark Tower and shouting ‘come and get us, if you can’, and I don’t think anybody, for the time being at least, can. Avengers: Age of Ultron will be upon us on May 1st 2015, but until then I can’t see anything getting this high.
I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of diversity on display here, basically sequels rule. With four Spider-Man movies and four Iron Man movies, well there’s not a lot of room left for anything else. I believe Blade deserved a spot on here (since we owe the return of superheroes on the big screen to that movie) and who knows, maybe one day he will come back. Although I don’t know how that universe aligns with Disney’s plans for Marvel. Maybe he could show up in a future Amazing Spider-Man, since he does cross paths with Spidey a lot more often then the others on here. Oh well, one can only hope.
Next up from the pages of Marvel Comics we’ve got Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 2014), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2014), X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (August 2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 2015), The Fantastic Four (June 2015) and Ant-Man (July 2015) among the biggest to come. That’s quite a line-up, I could even call it packed. One superhero extravaganza after another, never more then a few months away from the next one.
So which of the Marvel movies is your favorite adaptation?
For you DC fans out there, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you (so maybe look out for something similar in the not so distant future).