Marvel movies have become some of the most dominant forces at the box office over the past decade, with a good portion of their success being credited to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, even non-MCU Marvel movies tend to leave some sort of mark at the box office, such as the Deadpool franchise and a few other X-Men movies.
Though Marvel is currently at the height of its popularity in cinema, movies have been made based on Marvel comics for decades, with the first Marvel movie being made back in 1944, back when Marvel was known as Timely Comics.
Unfortunately, the longevity of Marvel and the current success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe does not necessarily mean that every Marvel movie ever produced has been a big hit. A number of Marvel movies were met with bad reviews, whereas a large number of others ultimately became total flops at the box office.
Some of these Marvel movies that flopped stopped franchises in their tracks, whereas others hoped to spawn a franchise but ultimately failed to even get one good movie off of the ground.
In fact, for every Marvel movie that went on to become a total success at the box office, there was arguably another Marvel movie that completely bombed in the same arena.
While a good portion of these Marvel movies did manage to earn back their budget by the end of their box office run, the general rule in Hollywood is that a movie needs to earn back over twice its budget, otherwise it is a total flop in the eyes of the studio.
With this in mind, here are the 10 Marvel Movies That Completely Flopped (And 10 That Became Massive Hits).
20 Flopped: Hulk
Before Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton portrayed Bruce Banner, otherwise known as the Incredible Hulk, Eric Bana took the mantle of the green giant in 2003's Hulk. Unfortunately, there is a reason why we never saw Bana in the role again.
With a massive budget of $137 million, Hulk should have been a decent movie.
Unfortunately, many audience members were quite disappointed with this superhero movie, which led to a rather poor performance at the box office.
Hulk only managed to earn back $132 million of its budget back at the domestic office.
While foreign markets brought Hulk's worldwide total up to $245 million, it was still not the success that Universal was hoping for, which is why the franchise was rebooted five years later.
19 Massive Hit: Spider-Man 3
Though many people credit the third instalment of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man franchise to be the one that ended the series, mostly due to its choppy narrative, it actually performed better than any other Spider-Man movie ever released, including last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Sony Pictures took a bit of a risk with Spider-Man 3 when they gave it a whopping $258 million budget, but that immediately paid off when the movie hit theaters.
Spider-Man 3 managed to earn over $336 million in the United States, and over $554 million in the foreign market, giving this sequel a worldwide box office total over nearly $891 million.
Some fans may have been disappointed with how this movie turned out, but that evidently didn't stop people from going to see it in theaters.
18 Flopped: The Punisher
The 2003 R-rated Marvel movie The Punisher, starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta, did not perform as well as Lionsgate was hoping.
Though it had a decent cast and a decent story, it still ended up becoming a box office flop.
The Punisher barely managed to earn back its $33 million budget in the United States, with its domestic run at the box office reaching only $33.8 million. The foreign market wasn't too generous either, only managing to earn the movie $20 million overseas.
Though its worldwide total of $54 million was more than its $33 million budget, The Punisher is still considered a flop.
However, this didn't stop Lionsgate from releasing an even more expensive sequel five years later.
17 Massive Hit: The Avengers
Though Marvel Studios certainly expected their 2012 ensemble movie The Avengers to be a hit, it undoubtedly performed a lot better than they had expected.
With a budget of $220 million, The Avengers became one of the most expensive Marvel movies ever made at the time.
However, this budget was nearly earned back in the opening weekend, and was nearly tripled in the United States alone.
The Avengers' domestic run earned the movie $623 million. With $895 million coming in from the foreign market, The Avengers earned itself a worldwide box office total of over $1.5 billion.
The Avengers went on to become the first of many Marvel movies to ever make over a billion dollars at the box office.
16 Flopped: Punisher: War Zone
Despite having a larger budget than the 2004 Punisher movie, the 2008 sequel Punisher: War Zone was met with a horrible reception, both critically and at the box office.
Equipped with a generous budget of $35 million, Punisher: War Zone was expected to do rather well, considering it came out the same year as some other superhero hits like Iron Man and The Dark Knight.
Unfortunately, this disappointing sequel only managed to earn about $8 million in the United States.
While sometimes comic book movies are saved by their overseas sales, Punisher: War Zone only managed to earn $2 from the foreign market, bringing its box office total to $10 million, a whopping $25 million less than the cost of the movie. Ouch.
15 Massive Hit: Iron Man 3
Though many Marvel fans consider the third Iron Man movie to have been a serious bump in the road for Marvel Studios, it actually went on to become the second Marvel movie to earn over a billion dollars.
Iron Man 3 doubled its $200 million budget domestically with $409 million.
However, the movie's big bucks actually came from foreign markets, which earned Iron Man 3 an additional $805 million, bringing its worldwide box office total to a massive $1.2 billion.
The success of Iron Man 3 is primarily credited to The Avengers, which had released exactly one year prior. It was an incredibly smart move by Marvel to release an Iron Man movie right after The Avengers, as it brought in nearly just as many audience members as the ensemble movie itself did.
14 Flopped: Fantastic Four (2015)
Desperate to keep the Fantastic Four rights before they expired, 20th Century Fox quickly pumped out a reboot of Marvel's first family that proved itself to be a massive disappointment.
Director Josh Trank tried to make this version of the Fantastic Four stand out by making it more of a science fiction movie than a superhero movie, which only made the narrative choppy and hard to follow.
Add this to the controversial casting decisions, and it starts to make sense why the 2015 Fantastic Four became such a box office bomb.
Fantastic Four only managed to earn itself $56 million domestically, and $111 in the foreign market, bringing its worldwide total to an underwhelming $167 million, only $47 million more than its $120 million budget.
It's no wonder why Fox took the sequel off of their release slate.
13 Massive Hit: Deadpool
Since 20th Century Fox did not have the highest hopes for their R-rated superhero comedy Deadpool, it was only given a budget of $58 million, which is surprisingly low for such a demanding superhero movie.
Despite having such a low budget, Deadpool proved itself to be one of the most successful superhero movies of 2016.
In the United States alone, Deadpool raked in $363 at the box office, over six times its budget.
The foreign market ironically brought in $420 million more for Deadpool, bringing its worldwide total up to $783 million, making it the highest grossing R-rated movie ever released.
The success of Deadpool apparently gave Fox a bit more faith in the franchise, as they nearly doubled the movie's budget for the sequel.
12 Flopped: Howard the Duck
The 1986 box office flop Howard the Duck has gone on to become one of the most infamous Marvel movies ever made. Its puppets and costumes in the movie looked cheap and cringy, and the less we say about the movie's creepily themed plot, the better.
Howard the Duck was given a budget of $37 million, which was actually a rather generous budget for the 1980s (for reference, Back to the Future only received a budget of $19 million the year before).
Domestically, Howard the Duck only earned $16 million. Its worldwide total came to $37.9 million, which was barely over the movie's initial budget.
Since then, Howard the Duck has yet to receive another solo movie, and now only makes brief cameos in Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
11 Massive Hit: Avengers: Infinity War
We can't make an article about massive Marvel hits without bringing up the biggest Marvel hit of all time: Avengers: Infinity War.
The most recent addition to the Avengers franchise seriously raised the bar for Marvel movies, both in terms of narrative and money.
Infinity War certainly wasn't a cheap movie to make, being estimated as one of the most expensive movies of all time. While we do not know the exact budget, it is currently estimated to be somewhere between $300 and $400 million.
Despite being ridiculously expensive to make, Avengers: Infinity War still made a monstrous profit, earning $678.8 million domestically and $1.3 billion overseas, bringing its worldwide total to a colossal $2 billion.
It is standing strong as the most successful superhero movie of all time and is the fourth highest grossing movie ever made.
10 Flopped: Avengers: Age of Ultron
By general standards, Avengers: Age of Ultron was far from a box office flop. The movie earned itself $1.4 billion at the box office and is still part of the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time.
Despite the success, many reports surfaced in 2015 that Disney was actually disappointed by how little money the Avengers sequel earned and did not consider the movie to be a success, which was part of the reason why they took away Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter's involvement with Marvel Studios.
Avengers: Age of Ultron did not make as much as the first Avengers, which to Disney was an under-performance.
They reportedly pinned this on the negative reception to the movie, which meant that many audience members who typically would have gone to see it twice were satisfied with only one screening of the movie.
Another factor that made Avengers: Age of Ultron such a disappointment in the eyes of Disney was the budget. Age of Ultron cost $444 million to produce, over twice that of The Avengers, and still earned less than its predecessor.
9 Massive Hit: Logan
Hugh Jackman's final performance as the brutal X-Man Wolverine ended up becoming a huge hit for 20th Century Fox, despite it being the studio's riskiest Wolverine movie yet.
Just like Deadpool, Fox was worried that Logan would not bring in too large of an audience due to its R-rating, which led the studio to give the movie a smaller production budget than they typically would.
Compared to the $150 million and $120 million budgets of the previous Wolverine movies, Logan only received $97 million, which was quite the budget decrease.
Despite the small budget, Logan outperformed every previous Wolverine movie by a landslide, earning itself a worldwide box office total of $619 million.
Logan certainly exceeded all of Fox's expectations.
8 Flopped: Blade: Trinity
The original Blade movie remains a beloved Marvel movie to this day, but its two sequels aren't quite as beloved. While there's not really much wrong with Blade II, Blade: Trinity was the movie that ultimately ended the franchise.
The third Blade movie received a budget of $65 million, which may not seem like much compared to Marvel movies today, but at the time, that was quite a heavy budget for an R-rated flick.
Unfortunately, Blade: Trinity did not go on to become a success like its two predecessors.
Domestically, Blade: Trinity only earned itself $52 million, with a worldwide total of $128 million. While this was only a bit less than the original Blade movie, it was enough to prove to New Line Cinema that this franchise was no longer worth the money.
7 Massive Hit: Guardians of the Galaxy
When it was first announced that Marvel Studios was producing a movie about a tree, a raccoon, and Andy from Parks & Recreation in space that was being directed by the guy who wrote the Scooby-Doo movies, the last thing people expected was that it would go on to become a massive hit.
Fortunately for Marvel, the creativity of James Gunn, the comedic talent of the cast, and the $170 million that was put into the movie was enough to make it into a Marvel flick that people wanted to see over and over again.
Guardians of the Galaxy earned $333 million domestically, with a truly impressive worldwide total of $773 million.
Its sequel went on to earn even more, with a worldwide total of $863 million.
6 Flopped: Elektra
The 2003 mediocre superhero movie Daredevil was barely a success, earning $179 million on a $78 million budget. Despite this, the movie still managed to earn itself a spin-off, with a much lower production budget.
The year 2005's Elektra starred Jennifer Garner, who reprised her role from the previous movie in a spin-off that very few people actually enjoyed.
Despite having a low budget of $43 million, Elektra still had difficulty earning that money back.
Domestically, the spin-off only managed to bring in $24 million. The foreign market ultimately saved the movie, bringing its worldwide total up to $56 million.
While it did technically make its money back, this proved the franchise to be a total waste of resources for Fox, which would explain why they didn't fight to keep the rights when they eventually returned to Marvel.
5 Massive Hit: Captain America: Civil War
While the Captain America movies were never not successful for Marvel Studios, they were never big hits for the studio either, up until 2016 that is.
Captain America: Civil War proved itself to be the peak of the Captain America franchise, bringing back a good portion of the characters from The Avengers to fight head to head, while still doing a decent job at being a solo Captain America movie.
Civil War was by far the most expensive Captain America movie that Marvel ever produced, costing $250 million to produce, $80 million more than Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Fortunately, even with such a high budget, Captain America: Civil War proved itself to be a worthwhile investment for Marvel and Disney.
It earned a worldwide total of $1.1 billion by the end of its box office run.
4 Flopped: Inhumans
While Marvel's Inhumans wasn't technically a movie, it still found a way to flop at the box office. This Marvel series decided to take a bit of a risk by releasing its first two episodes, seamlessly cut together to look like a movie, in theaters about a month before the show premiered.
Unfortunately, this risk ended up blowing up in Marvel's face, as Inhumans was met both with awful reviews and with a horrible run at the box office.
Domestically, Inhumans barely managed to earn $1.5 million at the box office, and the foreign market didn't help much either, with its worldwide total being a mere $2.8 million. Ouch.
The downfall of Inhumans can be credited both to its bad reviews and to IMAX. When they shot these two episodes, they shot them exclusively on IMAX cameras (which are terribly expensive to use).
In order to make some of that money back, Inhumans was released in theaters exclusively in IMAX, which meant that people would have to spend about twice as much to see it as they would spend seeing a normal movie, which many people didn't consider worthwhile considering that they could just watch the two episodes in about a month anyways.
Had Inhumans been released in more than just IMAX theaters, perhaps it would have performed better. Unfortunately, hindsight does not appear to be an ability that any of these superheroes have.
3 Massive Hit: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Following the disappointing run of X-Men: First Class, all hope seemed lost for the X-Men franchise. Even the Wolverine movies weren't doing so hot at the box office, with The Wolverine only earning $414 million in 2013.
However, 2014 provided new hope for the X-Men series with the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which brought back a majority of everyone's favorite X-Men in a time travel thriller that solved a lot of the narrative issues fans had with some of the previous installments.
X-Men: Days of Future Past easily earned back its $200 million budget, and then some, with its worldwide gross ending at $747.8 million.
To this day, Days of Future Past is still the highest grossing X-Men movie, not including the Deadpool franchise.
2 Flopped: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
It was quite a stretch calling the first Ghost Rider movie a success, which earned $228 million on its $110 million budget.
Despite this, Ghost Rider still managed to earn itself a sequel, which proved itself to be even more of a flop.
Sony Pictures did seem to learn a bit from the last movie when they made Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance by seriously cutting its budget down to $57 million.
Unfortunately, the amount of money the movie made at the box office compared to its predecessor was cut even more.
Domestically, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance only earned $51 million. The foreign market was the movie's saving grace, which brought the total up to $132 million.
However, the movie was still considered to be a serious flop, making almost half of the profit of the original, which already performed poorly.
1 Massive Hit: Black Panther
The year 2018 has proven itself to be a fantastic year for Marvel Studios, with two of their biggest movies ever being released within just a couple months of each other. The first Marvel movie of the year, Black Panther, ended up being arguably the biggest surprise hit to ever come out of the studio.
With an estimated budget of $200 million, Black Panther went on to become the most successful solo superhero movie ever produced.
Domestically, Black Panther raked in an enormous $700 million, which was several million more than Infinity War's domestical total.
The foreign market for Black Panther helped the movie even more, bringing its worldwide total up to a royal $1.3 billion.
Black Panther is now the 9th highest grossing movie of all time, and the 5th highest grossing movie in the United States.
Are there any other Marvel movies that flopped or became massive hits? Let us know in the comments!