Which Marvel movie made the most money

Show business has earned the name for a reason. Unfortunately, the business part can often upstage the creative side, fueling the decisions on story and character. Luckily, Marvel has reached a winning position where it doesn’t matter what stories they put out because they’re guaranteed to make money. But which movies have made the most money? And more importantly, which have been the most profitable?

The Hollywood rule of thumb is if you can make back 2.5 times your budget, you’re considered a success and a sequel is assured. Less than that and you’ve got problems. Of course, the numbers we’re going to be considering do not take into account the marketing budget for each film, which can be quite substantial and greatly impact how a film is considered financially successful. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to marketing budgets as they’re usually hidden from the public.

For reference, the list is from least profitable to most profitable based on the worldwide grosses against the film’s production budget. Some movies may have made more than others above them on the list, but our focus is on profit rather than large numbers.

Note: All numbers gathered from Box Office Mojo (except Age of Ultron‘s budget), which has been estimated by industry analysts.

10. The Incredible Hulk

Budget: 150 Million

Domestic: 135 Million

Worldwide: 263.5 Million

Unfortunately, The Incredible Hulk failed to be truly profitable despite Marvel’s best efforts. The low returns and the fact that Universal is entitled to part of the money means Bruce Banner will be relegated to other movies.

9. Captain America: The First Avenger

Budget: 140 Million

Domestic: 176.7 Million

Worldwide: 370.6 Million

Captain America had something of an image problem oversees, given his patriotic iconography. However, the MCU machine was in full swing at this point so it was pretty hard to stop the train.

8. Iron Man 2

Budget: 200 Million

Domestic: 312.4 Million

Worldwide: 623.9 Million

Iron Man 2 cemented Marvel’s financial power, making more than three times its budget.

7. Thor

Budget: 140 Million

Domestic: 181 Million

Worldwide: 449.3 Million

Thor did solid business, even if it wasn’t the powerhouse like the Iron Man movies.

6. Thor: The Dark World

Budget: 170 Million

Domestic: 206 Million

Worldwide: 644.8 Million

Thor definitely benefited from his time in The Avengers, earning two hundred million more worldwide than the first installment.

5. Iron Man

Budget: 140 Million

Domestic: 318.4 Million

Worldwide: 585.2 Million

Iron Man definitely passed the 2.5 mark by more than 200 million, which is why we got the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Budget: 170 Million

Domestic: 259.8 Million

Worldwide: 714.8 Million

Captain America’s overseas problem is now gone thanks to his Avengers bump and good word of mouth.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

Budget: 170 Million

Domestic: 333.2 Million

Worldwide: 774.2 Million

The Marvel train is now officially unstoppable. An obscure comic and an untested property comes out swinging. It probably didn’t hurt that the movie was great and the marketing was strong with some very intriguing trailers.

2. Iron Man 3

Budget: 200 Million

Domestic: 409 Million

Worldwide: 1.2 Billion

Robert Downey Jr. was swimming in money after The Avengers, but with another billion dollar movie the man has risen to divinity.

1. The Avengers

Budget: 220 Million

Domestic: 623.4 Million

Worldwide: 1.5 Billion

At 1.5 billion, The Avengers was everything Disney and Marvel could have asked for. It made a killing overseas and elevated the brand of every character involved.

While it falls outside of the list, our last entry is:

?. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Budget: 279.9 Million

Worldwide: 201.2 Million (and counting)

It’s on track to earn past the last’s 1.5 billion. We’ll know more after the weekend.