When Disney paid $4 billion to purchase Marvel in 2009, the price tag seemed incredibly high. Many (including executives and investors) questioned the value of Marvel and if they would be able to make back that sum.
10 years later, Disney has already made $18 million from that purchase.
This figure is based on box office sales, and doesn’t factor in the billions they’ve made on Marvel merchandising in that 10-year span.
When the purchase was made, superhero movies were popular, but not as popular as they are now.
In the past, it was much less common for superhero movies to be huge hits at the box office.
Since Disney’s purchase of Marvel, Marvel movies have been raking in more and more money.
Iron Man’s Success
Iron Man was released shortly before Disney bought Marvel, and this film was one of the movies that started the Marvel madness that we see now in respect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Iron Man grossed over $585 million USD worldwide in 2008, much to the surprise of some.
Robert Downey Jr. now seems as though he was made for the role of Tony Stark, but not everyone felt certain about this casting decision when it was announced.
Downey Jr.’s reputation was far from ideal at the time. He had lost some roles due to arrests and other problems, and it seemed that hiring him for this role would be quite a risk.
Despite this, he was hired, and he became Iron Man. Most would now agree that no one else could have fit the role as well as he did.
The Iron Man film had been in limbo since the 90s, but when it was finally released in 2008, it was worth the wait.
Iron Man was a brilliant movie, and it launched an unprecedented era of superhero popularity.
Post Iron Man
Since Iron Man, Marvel films have been growing in popularity and in number.
Superhero movies now rake in huge numbers, and there are more of them than ever before.
Iron Man 2 made over $623 million USD worldwide in 2010.
Iron Man 3 made over $1.2 billion in 2013.
It became common for Marvel movies to bring in over $600,000, and the new mark of true success seemed to be the 1 billion dollar mark.
Of course Iron Man wasn’t the sole reason for Disney’s success.
Part of the reason why Marvel movies became so successful was because of the world they created (the Marvel Cinematic Universe) with a wealth of compelling characters that could appear both solo and ensemble movies.
The first Avengers movie made over $1.5 billion in 2012.
Bringing the Avengers together and having all of the MCU movies tied together so intricately made fans need to go to the movies to see every piece of the puzzle that Marvel was putting together.
Iron Man was the beginning, but all of the Avengers played a role in the upswing of popularity of Marvel movies.
Avengers: Age of Ultron grossed $1.4 billion in 2015.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
In addition to the Avengers, other characters were brought into the mix.
Guardians of the Galaxy grossed $773,000 in 2014, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made $863 million in 2017.
Black Panther was game changing for Marvel movies, bringing together a cast of talented actors to tell the beautiful, visually stunning story of Wakanda.
It was the first superhero movie with a cast that was almost completely made up of black actors, and it carried a strong message about black history and culture, and what it means to be black in the world today.
Many people said that the Black Panther film would not be popular, but they were incredibly wrong.
Black Panther made over $1.3 billion USD worldwide in 2018, and fans raved about it.
Another film that people loved to criticize, but that did incredibly well in the box office was Captain Marvel.
Female superheroes don’t often have solo films, and many said that there would be no audience for a movie based on Captain Marvel.
In spite of this, Captain Marvel earned $1.1 billion USD worldwide in 2019.
Avengers: Infinity War brought together the Avengers, Wakandans, Captain Marvel, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and so many more, and fans flocked to theaters to see it.
Infinity War grossed over $2 billion worldwide in 2018.
As expected, Avengers: Endgame was highly popular, with fans needing to know what happened to all of their favorite heroes after Infinity War.
Endgame is currently the highest grossing superhero movie of all time, grossing almost $2.8 billion USD worldwide.
The Future of Marvel
With the number of characters that Disney now has access to through Marvel (at least 5,000), it’s hard to imagine exactly how much money they can continue to make from this purchase.
We expect to see Disney/Marvel continue to be trailblazers in film and television, and to make a lot of money while doing it.
With Marvel’s phase 4 lineup and plans for Disney+, it seems that Disney is going to continue to see a great return on their investment from Marvel.