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Marvel – A Box Office Wonder

Marvel has been a creative producer of superhero lore for more than 75 years.  Marvel Studios began producing movies based on Marvel comic book heroes in 1996, and since that time, the films have been met with resounding success.  The studio has been part of three major film franchises that have exceeded $1 billion in North American revenue.  And, a merger with Disney in 2009 appears to have firmly solidified the success of the Marvel line of superheroes for a number of years to come.

Studios

Marvel Studios has licensed production of its films to a number of different studios over the years, including Buena Vista, Lionsgate Studios, New Line Cinemas, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Pictures.  Collectively, these movies have grossed roughly $9.5 billion, and the approximate individual breakdown per studio is as follows:

  • Buena Vista $2.8 billion
  • Lionsgate Studios $ 42 million
  • New Line Cinemas $205 million
  • Paramount Pictures $989 million
  • Sony Pictures $1.6 billion
  • 20th Century Fox $3.6 billion
  • Universal Pictures $283 million

Disney

Late in 2009, Marvel and Disney completed a $4.3 billion merger that brought together two companies steeped with creative genius.  As Mort Handel, Marvel chairman, noted at the time, Disney was the “perfect home” for the Marvel library of characters because “both companies have their roots in great storytelling and innovative artistry.”With the merger, Disney was poised to tap into the younger male demographic, which was a market within which Disney had been lagging in recent years.  Since the merger in 2009, Marvel has released 24 movies through its licensing to other studios, grossing approximately $6.2 billion.  And, the trend seems likely to continue, as Disney has earned some earnest praise from comic lovers for its accurate representation and faithful attention to details in its movies.

Actors

Not only have the studios and companies profited from the mega-success of Marvel movies at the box office, so, too, have some of the movies’ most prominent actors.  The list of actors with careers that skyrocketed after appearing in a Marvel movie is lengthy, and the gross earnings of some of those actors is impressive.  More specifically, the list of famous actors whose Marvel movies have grossed more than $5 billion include:

  • Stan Lee $11.7 billion
  • Robert Downey Jr. $6.8 billion
  • Samuel L. Jackson $5.7 billion
  • Chris Evans $5.2 billion
  • Scarlett Johansson $5.4 billion
  • Paul Bettany $5.9 billion

Marvel has made the business of superheroes a very hot commodity.  And, after its merger with Disney, the Marvel superhero franchise appears poised to continue its rise to the top.  The studios have a long list of other movies either in the works or readying for release in the not too distant future.  Some of those movies include Thor: Ragnarok in 2017; Black Panther, New Mutants, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Venom, and Dark Phoenix in 2018; Captain Marvel in 2019; and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, with release dates to be determined.

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