Marvel Cinematic Universe – The Most Expensive Cinema Franchise. MCU Phase 3 – Film Variety, Budgets, and New Records.
Although we have already written several articles on the MCU, now is the time to talk about the third phase of the cinematic universe development, which is the last among the completed phases (at the moment) and the most commercially successful one. Viewers will see unusual protagonists and their incredible adventures, as well as will be impressed by the huge box-office gains of the films.
So, completing the second phase of the MCU, Marvel and Disney received $ 9 billion in box office receipts for 12 released films. Of course, no one planned to stop at that point, anticipating new records for their new ambitious projects.
Captain America: Civil War – Premiered in 2016
Having begun the third phase of the MCU unceremoniously, Marvel released the third film about the adventures of Captain America, its key character.
Started in the “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, the “Civil War” comic story arc was the basis for the new motion picture. The struggle between conditionally ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters has led to a huge number of human casualties, so the governments of the world powers want to take the creatures having superpowers under their control. In the camp of the Avengers, there was a rift that led to a conflict between Captain America and Iron Man, the leaders whose outlook on the world has undergone major changes in recent MCU films.
Of course, the ideological conflict between the main characters leads to confrontation between the rest ones. Ultimately, everything develops into a global fight of conditionally ‘good’ characters with the participation of almost all superheroes, including the recently appeared Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Vision. The appearance of Spider-Man borrowed by Marvel from Sony is the highlight of the “Captain America: Civil War”. As a result, this film – which some would classify as “Avengers 2.5” – proved to be a global success with its $ 1.1 billion at the box office and unique storyline that influenced the entire phase 3 of the MCU.
Doctor Strange – Premiered in 2016
Another blockbuster significantly expanding the boundaries of the MCU was premiered six months after the release of the “Captain America: Civil War”. Stephen Strange, a former surgeon who discovered the ability to magic, is the main character in the new film. It is noteworthy that earlier the MCU paid attention to something more like science fiction with even the world of Asgard (from the movies about Thor) was more likely to be ruled by technology than pure magic.
Departing from its own rules, Marvel hires British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a fully-realized star very similar to his character, even without applying makeup.
The film producers once again managed to successfully cope with the selection of the cast, with the diva Tilda Swinton as the Mentor, the charismatic Dane Mads Mikkelsen as the villain and the Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor as the collaborator. It is noteworthy that Cumberbatch gave his voice to the arch-villain Dormammu.
With a box office gross of $ 677 million, a new superhero – vital to the future development of the MCU – and plans for a sequel to be released in 2022, “Doctor Strange” has proven to be a highly successful film.
In addition, this movie is featuring the fifth of the Infinity Stones that will cause all the fuss in the “Avengers: Infinity War” released a year and a half later.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Premiered in 2017
Having increased its film production capacity, since 2017, Marvel has been releasing three films a year. The sequel to the “Guardians of the Galaxy”, formerly an experimental blockbuster and now the true headliner of the franchise, premiered in May 2017.
The already mastered scheme, including flawless effects, jokes, funny characters and a little space, was used in the new film. With the main characters returning to their roles, the cast was replenished by Sylvester Stallone himself. Kurt Russell, a veteran of Hollywood, played the role of the main villain.
With a slightly higher box office than the original movie, the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” proved to be a highly successful film. So, representatives of Marvel announced plans to shoot a triquel.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Premiered in 2017
Released in June 2017, the new Marvel movie had a very loud title – the studio finally managed to regain the rights (albeit partially) to Spider-Man, which they had lost two decades ago. Disney has entered into an agreement with Sony, a company that has twice attempted to create its own film franchise since 2002. Now, everything has changed: having forgotten about Andrew Garfield who played Spider-Man twice, Sony announced a new casting. As a result, Marvel assisted Sony in filming, and also and received the right to integrate Spider-Man into its cinematic universe.
Tom Holland, at that time a little-known actor who was barely 20 at the beginning of filming, hit the title role. Deciding to rejuvenate Aunt May, the studio invites Marisa Tomei to play her role. Zendaya, the future television princess, portrayed Spider-Man’s love interest. Ready for some very intriguing moves, Sony invited Michael Keaton to play the role of the main villain Vulture. Notably, it is Keaton who plays the role of Batman in the classic film by Tim Burton.
Having received a very frivolous plot, the new film is a story about a teenage Spider-Man who is just beginning to explore the world around him.
In addition, the MCU gave Peter Parker a mentor in the person of Iron Man. Symbolizing the agreement between Marvel and Sony, Robert Downey Jr. appears in several episodes of the film.
First, while maintaining its own mood, the new Spider-Man film has perfectly integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Secondly, the audience warmly received Tom Holland, the film’s very light-hearted plot and its connection with other films in the franchise. Third, the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” received $ 880 million at the box office, nearly repeating the success of “Spider-Man 3”.
Sony announced the start of work on a sequel ahead of the movie’s release. In addition, viewers will see Spider-Man in the “Avengers: Infinity War”. So, the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” turned out to be a landmark film project.
Thor: Ragnarok – Premiered in 2017
After the unsuccessful release of the “Thor: The Dark World”, Marvel thought about how to revive a series of films about the Scandinavian god, forcing viewers to go to the nearest cinema with delight. As a result, the idea arose to pour fresh blood into this project – so, the New Zealand director Taika Waititi, at that time the author of still little-known comedies, was invited by Marvel to work on a new blockbuster.
Having completely changed the very conservative concept of the mythological fantasy, Waititi made the new film more funny, thoughtful and a little bit insane at the same time. Although the original cast was retained, the gorgeous Cate Blanchett was chosen to portrait goddess Hela, the main villain – and she really enjoyed her new role. Disappeared from the plots of the last few films, the Hulk returned to join Thor – so, actor Mark Ruffalo was also added to the cast.
As a result, the “Thor: Ragnarok” turned out to be an impressive blockbuster, which was warmly received by both audiences and critics. The new film grossed more than the two previous films combined, and Taika Waititi became an iconic figure in the film industry. With dozens of film projects in process including a new “Star Wars” movie, Waititi is now one of Hollywood’s most sought-after directors.
Black Panther – Premiered in 2018
“Black Panther” is a new MCU film aimed at expanding Marvel’s audience. This is the first MCU blockbuster entirely dedicated to the dark-skinned superhero who first appeared in the “Captain America: Civil War”.
T’Challa is the crown prince of the African country of Wakanda, which contains the Vibranium mine, a super-metal. Since the people of Wakanda once decided to hide their fantastic technological achievements from other countries, now this state is considered a third-world country for the world community.
Following his father’s death in the “Captain America: Civil War”, T’Challa became the new king. He also possesses the mystical powers of the Black Panther. However, an adversary appears who – pursuing very selfish goals on the one hand, but very understandable ones on the other – also claims to the throne.
With an almost entirely African-American cast, “Black Panther” has received tremendous viewership. In addition, this cleverly filmed and highly exotic blockbuster impresses with the work of the artists.
Gaining 1.3 billion in box office grosses (#3 in financial success among MCU blockbusters) and 3 Academy Awards (7 nominations in total), the “Black Panther” has been incredibly successful. Of course, Marvel announced the filming of the sequel without ceasing to work on the inclusiveness of the project.
Avengers: Infinity War – Premiered in 2018
So, it’s time to shoot a new global crossover, and growing its momentum, Marvel is investing incredible amounts – according to some sources, the budget for “Avengers: Infinity War” was about $ 400 million.
This time, Marvel has hired a duo of directors who have already proven themselves to be excellent. Having directed two highly successful films about Captain America, the Russo brothers are now directing a double blockbuster that has shaken the world’s cinemas.
Remarkably, a few years before the “Avengers: Infinity War” release, Marvel announced two crossovers – instead of the “Avengers 3” – which will be released one year apart.
The uber-villain of the comic universe Thanos, who wants to destroy half of the inhabitants of the universe in order to improve the quality of life of the remaining inhabitants, is at the center of the plot. To realize his plan, he needs to collect six Infinity Stones and get a Gauntlet, a powerful artifact capable of destroying half the population of our world with one snap of the fingers. Previously, viewers could only observe five Infinity Stones, and the sixth one was supposed to be introduced in “Avengers: Infinity War”.
The “Avengers: Infinity War” is a next-generation blockbuster with dozens of characters from the previous eighteen Marvel films coming together to once again fight against evil.
It can be safely argued that Marvel was unlikely to take a big risk, spending colossal sums on the shooting of the film, which undoubtedly awaited great success. And yet, the “Avengers: Infinity War” grossed an incredible $ 2 billion at the box office, coming in at #4 on the list of highest-grossing films in cinema history (and # 1 on Marvel rankings). In addition, the new movie was well received by critics and made viewers look forward to the sequel.
Ant-Man and The Wasp – Premiered in 2018
Two months after the premiere of the “Avengers: Infinity War”, Marvel released the “Ant-Man and The Wasp”, a new film from the studio’s most humble film line. Being a very unpretentious film, it became a very important link between the previous and next part of “Avengers”. Judging by MCU fans, the “Ant-Man and The Wasp” was created to play an important role in the next crossover. Notably, Ant-Man turned out to be one of the few characters not included in the plot of the “Avengers: Infinity War”.
As a film in its own right, the “Ant-Man and The Wasp” gave the world a magical story and allowed the magnificent Michelle Pfeiffer to once again showcase her outstanding acting talent. Having collected a good box office, and also received good reviews, this film left hopes for a triquel. However, since all of Marvel’s filmmaking capacity is focused on filming two new super-blockbusters, there is no talk of a possible sequel to the film yet.
Captain Marvel – Premiered in 2019
The most successful year for Marvel kicked off with “Captain Marvel” released on March 7, 2019 – this time Disney presented a film featuring a very unusual character.
The “Captain Marvel” is the first MCU movie to feature a woman as the protagonist. Vers (Carol Danvers or Captain Marvel) is an important character not only in the world of print comics, but also for the film franchise a whole. One of the most powerful superheroes out there, she must lead the Avengers in the future, as – according to rumors – Iron Man and Captain America are about to retire.
Brie Larson, an actress whose career has seen its ups and downs over the past two decades (until 2016 when she won an Academy Award for her role in “Room”), received the title role in the movie. Wanting to get a recognizable actress who is not super popular, Disney began to cultivate a new star.
As a blockbuster with a feminist agenda, the “Captain Marvel” has taken a hit from the far-right. As a result, film aggregator Rotten Tomatoes made changes to its algorithm for calculating movie ratings.
However, the opponents were outraged, as the “Captain Marvel” grossed $ 1.1 billion at the box office becoming the seventh highest grossing film on the MCU (but not for a long time). Amid the success of the blockbuster starring a female protagonist, Disney has announced work on a sequel due to premiere in 2022.
Avengers: Endgame – Premiered in 2019
The “Avengers: Endgame” is the apotheosis of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to which the plots of two dozen blockbusters previously released by the studio led.
The “Avengers: Endgame” is a great blockbuster that brought together all the main characters of the MCU to save half of the universe. MCU fans will remember that – according to the plot of the “Avengers: Infinity War” – Thanos managed to destroy half of the living creatures, including some superheroes. The remaining superheroes will have to join forces to bring back the disappeared creatures and overcome Thanos.
It is not easy to imagine a blockbuster capable of surpassing the “Avengers: Endgame” in any way, so Disney has made no secret of his huge ambitions. The studio wants not only to complete the storyline about the Infinity Stones, but also to achieve huge box office success. In addition, Disney wanted to finally remove “Avatar” from the top-grossing list of films. To this end, the rental of the “Avengers: Endgame” was extended, and the goal was achieved.
With a lot of inconsistencies in the plot (it concerns jumping in time) and an overwhelming level of pathos (although the creators managed to combine it with great humor), the “Avengers: Endgame” became a real milestone in the development of popular cinema, a pinnacle that is unlikely to be surpassed in the near future.
Just take a look at the statistics:
The film’s budget was $ 356 million
The box office grossed $ 2.8 billion
One Academy Award nomination
3 dead Avengers
Spider-Man: Far From Home – Premiered in 2019
Following the “Avengers: Endgame”, its highly successful film, Marvel has decided to end its highly successful phase with the release of a very lighthearted blockbuster. While the new film is an unobtrusive story of what the world looks like after the events of the “Avengers: Endgame”, it serves as a very upbeat semicolon. With the start of a new MCU phase scheduled for 2020, the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” looks very promising.
Traveling with his high school friends to Europe, Peter Parker faces a fundamentally new rival. Jake Gyllenhaal, a great actor and audience favorite, plays the villain. As for the ending of the film, it hints at the fact that Marvel seems to be going to change the rules of the game.
Having attracted quite a lot of audience interest, the sequel to Spider-Man grossed $ 1.1 billion at the box office. All in all, 2019 is a triumphant year for Marvel with a total box office of $ 5 billion.
It is here, at the moment of the success of the “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, that the third phase of the MCU ends. Between 2008 and 2019, Marvel released 23 blockbusters that brought in $ 22.5 billion at the box office and made the franchise the highest grossing one in the history of the film industry, leaving both “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” far behind. Unfortunately, the MCU experienced its first serious problems just after the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” release.
First, there was another controversy between Marvel and Sony over the rights to Peter Parker’s character. With both studios eager to make good profits, this conflict nearly caused Spider-Man to drop out of the Avengers. However, both companies came to a new agreement and announced the start of work on the triquel.
Secondly, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a serious problem for the release of new blockbusters. 2020 is the first year in the history of the franchise (with the exception of 2009) when the studio has not released a single blockbuster. The “Black Widow”, the highly anticipated film set to launch the fourth phase of the MCU, has been gathering dust on the shelf for about a year now, waiting for the right moment to release. Meanwhile, Marvel has begun to take over the TV industry by launching several TV shows that have officially entered the MCU. However, this is a completely different story.
In the next article, we will talk about the fourth phase of the MCU, which kicked off successfully with the “WandaVision” TV show. So, see you soon on a new page!
Меня зовут Игорь. Я из тех, кто постоянно выискивает себе новые увлечения. Начинал с зоологии и чтения в детстве и докатился до путешествий, кино и истории искусства. Не могу жить без новых книг, новых телешоу и новых стран. Свято верю в науку, доброту и то, что впечатлениями надо делиться. Учу языки, планирую поездки разного километража и пишу про кино и сериалы.