Saturday, May 30, 2015

Top 20 Highest Grossing Superhero Movies at the Worldwide Box Office

There’s no room for your ‘Fantastic Four’s or ‘Green Lantern’s in this list: with our special inflation adjuster at the ready, we’ve sifted through the receipts, written off the popcorn expenses and calculated the 20 most successful superhero movies of all time.
Heroes! Villains! Capes! Tiny pants! One thing these 20 movies have in common is they made a whole lot of money…
20. ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ (2006)

Often seen as the red-headed step-child of the original ‘X-Men’ trilogy, Brett Ratner’s threequel out-grossed Bryan Singer’s two movies, even after being adjusted for inflation.
19. ‘The Mask’ (1994)

Though this film might make the list on a technicality – Stanley Ipkiss has a special suit, wears a mask and has outrageous super-powers, and it’s based on a comic book – there’s no denying the stopping power of Jim Carrey in his prime: his heroic gurning won over audiences to the tune of over half a billion dollars. For comparison, Carrey’s 2013 superhero movie ‘Kick-Ass 2’ grossed just $60m.

18. ‘Iron Man’ (2008) 

Arguably the movie that kick started the current superhero trend (shared universes, cameos, super-powered attitude), Jon Favreau’s first ‘Iron Man’ movie was a real money-spinner – the initial receipts don’t stack up too high in this list, but that Nick Fury post-credits scene launched a franchise that’s grossed around six billion dollars to date. And we’re still only in Phase 2.
17. ‘Thor: The Dark World’ (2013)

Five years on from ‘Iron Man’, few would have believed Thor would be out-grossing his Midgardian colleague, but in 2013, the Marvel effect was in full flow – the brand association alone had audiences flocking to cinemas. ‘The Dark World’ grossed approximately $200 million more than Kenneth Branagh’s 2010 original, which doesn’t make the cut.
16. ‘Man Of Steel’ (2013) 

DC would have breathed a sigh of relief when the final figures came in for Superman’s reboot – not only is the big blue boy scout the jewel in their crown, Zack Snyder’s action extravaganza was ground zero for their own shared universe. Batman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League are all incoming – who knows what this list will look like in 10 years?
15. ‘Iron Man 2’ (2010) 

Objectively a poorer movie than its predecessor, ‘Iron Man 2’ nonetheless out grossed the original considerably, thanks mainly to the now-established tease of the burgeoning Avengers universe. Exactly what portion of the film’s box-office take can be attributed to Scarlett Johansson’s performance in a little black cat-suit is difficult to attain.
14. ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ (2014) 

Make way for the newbies! The financial success of ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ would have been music to Marvel’s ears – thought to be their trickiest prospect to date (unknown heroes, an adventure outside the Avengers universe, talking animals), fans embraced Star-Lord, Rocket and the gang just as they did Tony Stark and pals all those years ago.
13. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (2014)

In what universe this could be considered a flop we don’t know, because Sony’s latest Spider-Man movie still broke the $700 million barrier – that’s more than ‘X-Men’ and ‘X-Men 2’ ever managed. Sony are hoping the shared universe tactic will pay off for their Spider-Man franchise, but don’t count on the likes of ‘Sinister Six’ getting close to even touching this total take.
12. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014) 

Thought Thor’s sequel uplift was impressive? ‘The Winter Soldier’ almost took double what ‘Captain America: The First Avenger made’ – more proof that Marvel know exactly what they’re doing. Marvel’s WW2 vet now has ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ worried, with the DC team up film moving release dates to avoid a box office clash.
11. ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ (2014) 

'Days Of Future Past' became the most popular X-Men movie to date in 2014, with Bryan Singer retaking his crown as superhero filmmaker extraordinaire. He's already hard at working prepping 2016's 'X-Men: Apocalypse', which will close the trilogy started by 'X-Men: First Class' (which managed a respectable worldwide gross of $353 million).
10. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012) 

Fans thought it was screen suicide to reboot the Spider-Man franchise so soon after the original trilogy, but the new radioactive blood of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Marc Webb et al did see Spidey make some pretty serious bank. Still, Spider-Man 2.0 couldn’t get within web spinning distance of any of the Sam Raimi movies.
9. ‘Batman’ (1989) 

Who knew a lunatic in black PVC would be so universally beloved? Tim Burton took Batman into a gothic playground of his own creation in this, the daddy of all modern superhero movies. Audiences went crazy for the caped crusader, scaring up over $400 million – that’s worth almost double in today’s money. Remember the name: Batman. He’s gonna be big.
8. ‘Spider-Man 2’ (2004) 

The greatest superhero movie ever made? You could make a pretty convincing argument for sure. What isn’t up for debate is just how successful Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 2’ was at the box-office – it almost breaks the billion dollar barrier when adjusted for inflation. Darker, faster, bigger and more expansive, it’s the movie that set the template for super-sequels.
7. ‘Spider-Man 3’ (2007) 

Too many crooks might have spoiled this broth, but the presence of Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom did not turn off audiences one bit – it might have grossed less than the first Spider-Man movie but you can forgive a few million dollars here or there when you’re counting receipts in the billions. Raimi went out on top.
6. ‘Spider-Man’ (2002) 

James Cameron couldn’t get his proposed Spider-Man movie out the door. If he had – and given the fact the director is behind the two highest-grossing movies of all time – you wonder exactly how much money his ‘Spider-Man’ would have made. But it matters not: Sam Raimi’s wallcrawler showed the world just how exciting superhero cinema could be. A game-changer.
5. ‘Superman: The Movie’ (1978) 

The first superhero movie. The most iconic superhero movie. The best superhero movie. But only the fifth most successful superhero movie? Blame that on the marketing practices of the era and the fact that 1978 cinemagoers might have been reluctant to spend two hours in the company of a man in tights. Put simply, ‘Superman: The Movie’ made the genre what it is – every other film on this list owes it every dollar they made.
4. ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008) 

Hype was at deafening levels even before the untimely death of Heath Ledger pushed ‘The Dark Knight’ to ‘would sell own kidney to see immediately’ status. The first ever superhero movie to make a billion dollars at the box-office, Christopher Nolan’s sequel to ‘Batman Begins’ owed a huge debt to the Joker – and DC were laughing all the way to the bank.
3. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012) 

Topping off a great year for superhero movies, Nolan’s trilogy closer had everything – Batman at his peak, a formidable villain in Tom Hardy’s Bane and Anne Hathaway at her least irritating. Thanks to stellar reviews and word of mouth, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ outgrossed its predecessor to become the most popular Batman movie ever. Take that, ‘Batman & Robin’!
2. ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013) 

Okay, we love Shane Black, Robert Downey Jr and Ben Kingsley, but on the surface, there was nothing remarkable about ‘Iron Man 3’ – the first threequel of the MCU – apart from one thing: it came immediately after ‘The Avengers’. Hungry for more action, audiences would have been delighted at the whip-smart script, awesome twist and Iron Man mayhem they received – fans couldn’t throw enough money at Marvel.
1. ‘The Avengers’ (2012) 

With five full-length feature films effectively acting as trailers for its 2012 release, it was a surprise to no one that superhero ensemble ‘The Avengers’ assembled quite so much cash at the box office. A light and frothy alternative to the increasingly gloomy ‘Dark Knight’ movies, it made Marvel billions and ensured the rest of the industry sat up and took notice. It’s currently the third most successful movie of all time. And now you want to watch it again.
Where will Avengers: Age of Ultron end up on the list? At present the top ten will be shifting around for sure. Do you agree with the list? Any of your favourites missing? Tell us in the comments.
Box-office figures from
Inflation figures calculated using

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Avengers

Think You Know the Avengers? Here are 10 things you may not know.

Going to see Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend? You'll probably want to brush up on the sprawling history of Marvel's top super-squad. On September 10, 1963, The Avengers #1 brought together Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, The Wasp, and Hulk to battle the Asgardian trickster Loki, and the Marvel universe has been a little safer ever since. More than five decades, 500 issues, and one record-shattering movie later, the team dubbed “Earth's Mightiest Heroes” stands out as one of the legendary duo Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's greatest creations.

Over half a century of history, an ever-changing roster of Avengers has assembled to tangle with all kinds of enemies. And like most long-running superhero teams (*cough* X-Men *cough), the ongoing narrative has gotten pretty confusing at times. Thankfully, you don't need to be an Avengers scholar to appreciate some of the most interesting aspects of the team's long and storied history. Luckily, you don't need to read all 51 years' worth of issues to enjoy the newest Marvel blockbuster. Just use these 10 nuggets to regale your fellow fans in the box office line. 


The Marvel movie-verse may have cast America's favorite super-soldier as a founding member of the team, but Captain America didn't actually join up until the fourth issue of The Avengers comic series. The team—which had dropped to four members due to the Hulk's departure—encountered a mysterious, frozen man in the ocean while chasing Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Lo and behold, the frozen fellow turned out to be Steve “Captain America” Rogers. After thawing him out, the existing Avengers team granted Captain America “founding member” status in place of Hulk, and the rest is comic-book history.


If not for a delay in sending Daredevil #1 to the printer, the Avengers might never have existed. According to Marvel's Senior Vice President of Publishing, Tom Brevoort, when the publisher realized that the first issue of Daredevil wasn't going to be ready in time for its scheduled print run, Stan Lee proposed the idea of bringing a bunch of existing Marvel characters together to form a team like DC's Justice League of America. By doing so, they wouldn't need to create complicated origin stories for the individual members, which would allow the squad to jump right into whatever adventure Lee and Kirby could come up with on short notice. The pair brainstormed for a while and came up with the Avengers, then hastily put together the first issue and sent it off to the printer. 


After the five heroes of The Avengers #1 decided to work together, they needed a name. Thankfully, the size-changing heroine Janet van Dyne—a.k.a. The Wasp—was there with the right suggestion. “It should be something colorful and dramatic like 'The Avengers,' or...” she said, only to be interrupted by Ant-Man. “Or nothing! That's it! The Avengers!” he announced.

One can't help wondering what her second suggestion was going to be—and why she was left out of the movie series, given this key moment in the team's history.


Since their earliest rosters, the Avengers have always experienced a lot of turnover. After Hulk left in the second issue, the team added Captain America in the fourth issue, only to have everyone except Captain America depart the team in The Avengers #16. The original four members were quickly replaced by three new additions: Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye. These rookie Avengers were interesting choices for a top super-team since they were previously villains in the Marvel Comics universe. Few superhero teams had ever undergone such a unique lineup change, and the transition is still regarded as one of the most amazing stunts a superhero comic has ever pulled.


It only took a few years for Marvel to realize they had something special in the Avengers, so it's no surprise that the publisher didn't trademark the team's name until 1970. However, the company ran into some trouble when the 2012 movie screened across the ocean, as the British version of the The Avengers—a spy series that aired during the 1960s—pre-dated Marvel's superhero team. The legal wranglings were eventually settled with some clever re-titling of the film in certain markets, including Marvel Avengers Assemble in the UK.


The Avengers weren't the only new team to hits newsstands in September 1963. Marvel's merry team of mutants also made their debut that month in Uncanny X-Men #1, and the two teams' paths have crossed plenty of times over the course of their adventures.


The team has had many “honorary members” over the years—usually friends, family, and allies who have assisted the team in its battles. The first-ever inductee as an “honorary member” was Rick Jones, the man Bruce Banner saved from a gamma bomb's explosion by sacrificing his own body. Rick later became the Hulk's “sidekick” of sorts and was instrumental convincing the new team that Hulk wasn't the evil behemoth they originally believed him to be. In later issues, Tony Stark's butler, Jarvis (a human in the comics, not the computerized entity familiar to movie fans) was also granted “honorary member” status.


Of the many heroes who have been offered membership in the Avengers, several prominent characters turned the team down at one point or another. Both Spider-Man and Daredevil initially declined to join the team when offered a spot on the roster, with the two heroes each offering a similar reason for their decision: They want to keep their crime-fighting close to home. It's worth noting, though, that both heroes did eventually join the team, but only in recent years—long after they were first offered membership.


The Avengers may be the team that unites to battle threats that no single hero can handle alone, but what if there's more than one threat? That's the question that the team hoped to answer with West Coast Avengers, a team that debuted in 1984 and featured several members of the Avengers roster splintering off to form a new group of heroes based in Los Angeles.

With the original Avengers team handing things from their headquarters in New York City, the new team—led by Hawkeye—kept the other side of the country safe from supervillains. Subsequent years—and the popularity of The Avengers among readers—would lead to several more spin-off teams and series outside the primary The Avengers series, such as the Secret Avengers and New Avengers. 

Some of them were even a bit unofficial, such as the hapless, accident-prone Great Lakes Avengers, who often managed to save the world despite their own ineptitude.


Yes, you read that correctly. Way back in 1984, Late Night With David Letterman was cruising along at the height of its popularity and The Avengers was doing pretty well for Marvel. Naturally, the powers-that-be saw serious crossover potential. The result was a single-issue story that saw several members of The Avengers—including Hawkeye, Black Panther, Black Widow, Wonder Man, and the X-Men's Beast—appearing on Letterman's show, only to be ambushed by a pitiful villain who attempted to fry them with camera-mounted lasers. Letterman saved the day, though, when he hit the bad guy over the head with a giant doorknob. Seriously. This actually happened