Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies, Ranked by Worldwide Gross
Comic books becoming movies and television shows is nothing new, and Marvel is one of the two major comic book forces to regularly turn its most famous comic book storylines into TV shows and movies. (The other: DC Comics.) Some of Marvel’s movies, like 2002’s “Spider-Man” and 2004’s “Spider-Man 2,” were massive hits, but it also had big-time duds like 2005’s “Elektra” and 2008’s “Punisher: War Zone.”
Then, in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe arrived. The series of movies based on Marvel characters that all live in the same universe and sometimes team up to save the world as the Avengers hit the big screen, and the response was emphatic. A new era of the high-grossing superhero movie had begun.
It’s still going strong in 2019, with three movies released: “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Endgame” and the “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Here’s how the 23 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe rank by worldwide box office gross, from worst performer to best. Numbers via Box Office Mojo and are not adjusted for inflation.
23. 'The Incredible Hulk'
Worldwide Gross: $263.4 million
Domestic Gross: $134.8 million
Overseas Gross: $128.6 million
Though we all now know Mark Ruffalo is the man behind scientist Bruce Banner and the voice of Hulk, in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” Edward Norton of “Fight Club” fame portrayed the science nerd. While “Iron Man,” which hit theaters the month before “The Incredible Hulk,” dumped a truckload of cash into the MCU coffers, iffy reviews seemed to negatively impact “The Incredible Hulk,” resulting in just a $263.4 million gross take worldwide. That was about half of what “Iron Man” grossed.
But with nearly $800 million in gross revenue between “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” in 2008, this was a great way to kick off the MCU.
22. 'Captain America: The First Avenger'
Worldwide Gross: $370.6 million
Domestic Gross: $176.7 million
Overseas Gross: $193.9 million
Though its title may deceive, “Captain America: The First Avenger” was far from the first of the MCU movies to hit the big screen. In fact, its July 22, 2011 release made it the fifth MCU movie to arrive. This action-packed flick centered on Steve Rogers and his transformation from scrawny, asthma-riddled military reject to muscle-bound superhero Captain America who crushes Red Skull and Hydra.
Despite its big-name cast that included Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson, it pulled in just $370.6 million globally, putting it next to last in highest-grossing MCU movies.
Worldwide Gross: $449.3 million
Domestic Gross: $181 million
Overseas Gross: $268.3 million
Speaking of muscle-bound…Chris Hemsworth hit the big screen in the MCU in an electrifying way as Thor, son of Oden, in 2011. This star-packed MCU movie follows Thor as he attempts to regain his father’s trust after falling from his graces in the wake of a foolish battle that destroyed a truce between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants. As punishment for his actions, Thor’s father strips him of his godly powers and casts him to Earth.
Despite being sandwiched between “Iron Man 2” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” in terms of release date, Thor managed to draw in $449.3 million worldwide. This would be the last time the MCU missed the $500 million mark.
Worldwide Gross: $519.3 million
Domestic Gross: $180.2 million
Overseas Gross: $339.1 million
Thought Deadpool was the only bad apple who turned superhero? You’re incorrect. After being released from jail, Scott Lang, portrayed by funnyman Paul Rudd, goes back into a life of petty crime and ends up stealing what he thinks is a motorcycle suit. Turns out, this is a miniaturizing suit that transforms him into the micro-superhero Ant-Man.
Though he’s a tiny superhero, “Ant-Man” made a big dent in moviegoers’ pockets, drawing in $519.3 million worldwide.
19. 'Iron Man'
Worldwide Gross: $585.2 million
Domestic Gross: $318.4 million
Overseas Gross: $266.8 million
Sure, there were Marvel movies before it, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially kicked off with the May 2, 2008 release of “Iron Man.” With comeback actor Robert Downey Jr. in the role of the space-age Tin Man, Iron Man, this movie follows Tony Stark’s life as he transitions from eccentric businessman to equally eccentric superhero. This debut MCU flick was a massive success with $585 million in gross worldwide revenue.
This half a billion dollars got the decade-long-and-counting MCU snowball rolling in a way no one expected.
18. 'Ant-Man and the Wasp'
Worldwide Gross: $622.7 million
Domestic Gross: $216.6 million
Overseas Gross: $406 million
Paul Rudd returned as Ant-Man in 2018. This time he was joined by his new-found sidekick, The Wasp. This dynamic duo battled bad guys and sought to bring The Wasp’s mom back from the quantum realm. There was even a little hat tip to the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War” in this sequel’s mid-credits scene.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” crushed the first “Ant-Man” movie with its $622.7 million in gross revenue.
17. 'Iron Man 2'
Worldwide Gross: $623.9 million
Domestic Gross: $312.4 million
Overseas Gross: $311.5 million
After allowing Hulk to have his moment in the gamma-ray spotlight, Robert Downey Jr. returned in his metal suit in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” In Iron Man’s return, Tony Stark avoids falling victim to the all-mighty dollar as he continually refuses the U.S. government’s request to build Iron Man suits for military use. Stark’s rival, Justin Hammer, creates his own Iron Man knock-offs that soon go from a touted government project to Ivan Vanko-controlled attackers that go after Stark.
This sequel raked in big bucks, pulling in $623.9 million worldwide.
16. 'Thor: The Dark World'
Worldwide Gross: $644.6 million
Domestic Gross: $206.4 million
Overseas Gross: $438.2 million
The sequel to the debut Thor movie, “Thor: The Dark World” hit theaters in 2013. This one follows Thor as he attempts to stabilize the Nine Realms only to learn that a rare event where all Nine Realms align causes all sorts of problems at home on Asgard and on Earth as the Dark Elf Malekith slips through the Nine Realms seeking the all-powerful Aether.
The second take on Thor’s story raked in a cool $644.6 million while in theaters, easily laying the Mjölnir down on the first movie.
15. 'Doctor Strange'
Worldwide Gross: $677.7 million
Domestic Gross: $232.6 million
Overseas Gross: $445.1 million
Doctor Strange made his on-screen debut in his 2016 self-titled flick starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This magical film followed Dr. Steven Strange as he went from world-renowned neurosurgeon to mangled car-crash survivor to sorcerer… err… master of the dark arts who saves the world from the evil sorcerer Kaecilius.
Doctor Strange and his trusty and bossy Cloak of Levitation haven’t had their own sequel, but their first movie was a smash hit, pulling in a healthy $677.7 million worldwide.
14. 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'
Worldwide Gross: $714.3 million
Domestic Gross: $259.8 million
Overseas Gross: $454.5 million
In 2014, Chris Evans returned to don the red, white and blue uniform as Captain America in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” This film follows Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon as they weed Hydra moles from S.H.I.E.L.D. In the midst of their efforts, Captain America is confronted by the Winter Soldier.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” received anything but a chilly reaction from critics and fans alike on its way to $714.3 million globally.
13. 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Worldwide Gross: $773.3 million
Domestic Gross: $333.2 million
Overseas Gross: $440.2 million
Just months after “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” played in theaters, “Guardians of the Galaxy” arrived. This film followed Peter Quill, portrayed by Chris Pratt, as he and four misfits, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot, meet in jail and begrudgingly work together to break out and sell a valuable orb Gamora stole. It turns out, the orb contains an infinity stone, a gem with immeasurable power that bad guy Ronan and Gamora’s evil adoptive father, Thanos, seek.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” arrived to massive fanfare, showing a more comedic side of the MCU. This helped it draw in a massive $773.3 million in global ticket revenue.
12. 'Thor: Ragnarok'
Worldwide Gross: $854 million
Domestic Gross: $315.1 million
Overseas Gross: $538.9 million
Thor returns for his third act in 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” This film picks up shortly after the supposed death of Thor’s adoptive brother, Loki. Thor returns to Asgard to learn Loki is alive and well and impersonating his father, Odin, the King of Asgard. With the help of Doctor Strange, Thor and Loki find Odin but learn he is dying. Odin informs his sons his passing will cause the release of his sinister and powerful daughter, Hela.
Despite being the third MCU movie to hit screens in 2017, “Thor: Ragnarok” still pulled in an impressive $854 million.
11. 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'
Worldwide Gross: $863.8 million
Domestic Gross: $389.8 million
Overseas Gross: $473.9 million
The Guardians of the Galaxy returned in 2017 in Volume 2 of their self-titled series. This time, the group has settled into a band of heroic pirates who try to do good but only if it helps them. This lands them in hot water as Rocket, the genetically modified raccoon, steals a few batteries the Guardians saved from theft by Gamora’s adopted sister, Nebula. War ensues between the Guardians and the Sovereign race.
This flick brought in massive crowds of moviegoers on its way to $863.8 million.
10. 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'
Worldwide Gross: $880.2 million
Domestic Gross: $334.2 million
Overseas Gross: $546 million
Though a slew of Spidey movies came out before “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” none were ever officially part of the MCU. Instead, they were stand-alone movies with no direct tie to other Marvel universes. In 2017’s “Homecoming,” Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, is still struggling with his inner superhero as Tony Stark attempts to guide and protect him before allowing him to become a full member of the Avengers. Spidey defies Stark at every turn, almost getting himself killed at one point, as he fights to save New York from contractor turned flying bad guy, Adrian Toomes.
The Spider-Man flick wowed reviewers and fans alike on its way to an $880.2 million take at box offices worldwide.
9. ‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’
Worldwide Gross: $970.8 million
Domestic Gross: $319.7 million
Overseas Gross: $651.1 million
The latest “Spider-Man” movie had no trouble ascending this list. The first of the Spidey flicks that takes place in the post-”Endgame” world finds our hero, Peter Parker, trying to relax in Europe with high-school classmates, but he finds himself fighting more bad guys.
8. 'Captain Marvel'
Worldwide Gross: $1,13 billion (and counting)
Domestic Gross: $426.8 million
Overseas Gross: $791.4 million
In the mid-credit scene of “Avengers: Infinity War,” Nick Fury managed to send a transmission to an unknown recipient before he turned to dust. That recipient was none other than Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. Her self-titled movie, which hit theaters March 8, 2019, takes us back to 1995 when Nick Fury and Phil Coulson were nothing more than inexperienced S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
“Captain Marvel” made $456 million worldwide just during its opening weekend, passing “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “The Hulk,” before rocketing higher up the list during its second and third weeks of release.
7. 'Captain America: Civil War'
Worldwide Gross: $1.15 billion
Domestic Gross: $408.1 million
Overseas Gross: $745.2 million
Following the events that unfolded in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the Avengers underwent extreme scrutiny that resulted in the United Nations creating the Sokovia Accords, which put the Avengers under the control of a U.N. panel. Riddled with regret for being one of the creators of Ultron, Tony Stark agreed with the Accord along with Black Panther, Black Widow, War Machine and Vision. Captain America saw the oversight as limiting the Avengers’ ability to defend the world and took an opposite stance along with Falcon, Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch.
The severed Avengers team eventually battle it out with Ant-Man and Spider-Man joining Stark, and Black Widow turning against Stark to help Cap.
“Captain America: Civil War” was one of the third-highest grossing movie of 2016, pulling in $1.15 billion (with a “b”) worldwide.
6. 'Iron Man 3'
Worldwide Gross: $1.214 billion
Domestic Gross: $409 million
Overseas Gross: $805.8 million
Tony Stark got yet another crack at a stand-alone feature with the 2013 release of “Iron Man 3.” This is an all-new Tony Stark, though, as he is now a battered man who suffers from panic attacks following the alien invasion and battle of New York. With nothing more to do with his anxiety, Stark builds dozens of Iron Man suits to the chagrin of his girlfriend Pepper Potts.
Following a bombing that nearly kills his security chief, Happy Hogan, Stark challenges the terrorist behind the bombing, the Mandarin, and gives the villain his home address on national television.
“Iron Man 3” toppled both its predecessors with a massive $1.2 billion take at the box office.
5. 'Black Panther'
Worldwide Gross: $1.35 billion
Domestic Gross: $700.1 million
Overseas Gross: $646.9 million
After a quick introduction in “Captain America: Civil War,” Black Panther got his own self-titled flick in 2018. This film follows the new king of Wakanda, T'Challa, who also took up the mantle of Black Panther, the superpowered defender of Wakanda, after his father’s death in “Captain America: Civil War.”
T'Challa defends his new throne against rival tribe leader M'Baku and later against an unknown descendant of Wakanda, Erik Stevens, aka Killmonger.
“Black Panther” was the second-highest grossing film of 2018 overall.
4. 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'
Worldwide Gross: $1.41 billion
Domestic Gross: $459 million
Overseas Gross: $946.4 million
The second installment of the Avengers series, 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” follows this superhero all-star cast as they battle their self-made enemy, Ultron. This flick introduces us to several new members of the team, including Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, and Vision.
“Ultron” is the lowest-grossing film in the Avengers series, but it still vacuumed up a ton of dough: $1.41 billion worldwide.
3. 'The Avengers'
Worldwide Gross: $1.52 billion
Domestic Gross: $623.4 million
Overseas Gross: $895.5 million
Marvel’s “The Avengers” officially kicked off the Avengers series of Marvel superhero team-up flicks. This movie centers on trickster Loki, Thor’s adopted brother, delivering the tesseract to the leader of the Chitauri race that in turn gives Loki an army to conquer Earth. Loki ends up opening a wormhole above New York with the tesseract, unleashing a fleet of Chitauri attackers the Avengers must defeat to save the world.
“The Avengers” delivered the kickstart the series needed, pulling in a mighty $1.52 billion worldwide.
2. 'Avengers: Infinity War'
Worldwide Gross: $2 billion
Domestic Gross: $678.8 million
Overseas Gross: $1.4 billion
Caution: Spoliers below.
In 2018, the Avengers regroup in “Infinity War” following their break up in “Captain America: Civil War.” This time around, the Avengers grow beyond the original cast with Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man all officially joining the roster. The goal of this expanded MCU team? Take down Thanos before he can collect all six infinity stones and eliminate half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. If only Thor got him in the head…
“Avengers: Infinity War” is the highest-grossing of all MCU films with a $2 billion take worldwide.
1. 'Avengers: Endgame'
Worldwide Gross: $2,790,200,000 (and counting)
Domestic Gross: $854,200,000
Overseas Gross: $1,936,000,000
Caution: Spoilers below.
The big dog. With a huge portion of the Avengers fading to dust after Thanos’ infamously snapped away half the universe’s population, only a few key members of the team remained to fight back alongside a handful of allies. And a lot of people wanted to see what they do. "Endgame" broke box office records galore, moving into first place on this list after only two weeks in theaters.
And it's closing in on the top-grossing movie of all time.