Superhero movies: domestic box office revenue

As of January 2020, the superhero movies ‘Avengers: Endgame', 'Spider-Man: Far From Home', and 'Joker' among others collected a combined box office revenue of nearly 3.2 billion U.S. dollars. This figure includes the box office revenues generated by four 'Batman' re-releases, as well as the 2019 revenues for 'Aquaman' and 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'. Superhero movies have grown immensely popular in the last few years, not just in the United States but on a global level. DC’s ‘Aquaman’ grossed almost 1.15 billion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2018, and movies from the X-Men series continued to perform well in theaters across the world.

Superhero movies: the latest trend in cinema

A survey held in the United States in early 2019 showed that most respondents were fans of superhero movies and said that they would continue to go to see them in movie theaters. But seeing superhero movies is no longer just about enjoying the action and the effects that such productions are known for, but also the ongoing narrative running from movie to movie, the costumes, merchandise, and the comics which inspired the film adaptations.

Marvel has become synonymous with the word ‘blockbuster’, and the release of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in spring 2019 was one of the biggest things to happen in the movie world at that time. The movie broke multiple records, and now holds the title of being the all-time highest grossing movie based on a comic, generating 858.37 million U.S. dollars at the domestic box office. ‘Endgame’ also topped the ranking of most successful movies of all time based on box office revenue, knocking James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ into second place.

Combined annual domestic box office revenue of superhero movies from 1978 to 2019

Revenue in million U.S. dollars
'193,187.7
'183,297.3
'172,168
'161,900.53
'15687.61
'141,443.45
'131,067.77
'121,449.88
'11719.8
'10508.92
'09287.42
'081,454.38
'07584.25
'06468.96
'05496.37
'04821.08
'03449.67
'02497.47
'0114.69
'00252.32
'9932.27
'98164.79
'97172.27
'9639.03
'95260.98
'9490.7
'9355.91
'92179.46
'91125.36
'90169.14
'89251.19
'8715.68
'8420.07
'8359.95
'81120.8
'8043.04
'78134.22
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Source

Release date

January 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1978 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded.
The list of movies included per year are as follows;
1978; Superman, 1980; Hero at Large, Flash Gordon, 1981; The Legend of the Lone Ranger, Superman II, 1983; Superman III, 1984; Sheena, Supergirl, 1987; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, 1989; Batman, 1990; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Darkman, 1991; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, The Rocketeer, 1992; Batman Returns, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1993; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Meteor Man, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, 1994; The Crow, The Shadow, Blankman, 1995; Tank Girl, Batman Forever, Judge Dredd, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers,1996; Barb Wire, The Phantom, The Crow: City of Angels, 1997; Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Batmand and Robin, Spawn, Steel, 1998; The Mask of Zorro, Blade, Orgazmo, 1999; Black Mask, Mystery Men, 2000; X-Men, The Specials, Unbreakable, 2001; Iron Monkey, 2002; Blade II, Spider-Man, The Powerpuff Girls Movie, 2003; Daredevil, X2: X-Men United, Hulk, 2004; Hellboy, The Punisher, Spider-Man 2, Catwoman, The Incredibles, Blade Trinity, 2005; Elektra, Batman Begines, Fantastic Four, Sky High, The Legend of Zorro, 2006; X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman Returns, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Zoom, 2007; Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, 2008; Superhero Movie, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hancock, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Dark Knight, Punisher: War Zone, The Spirit, 2009; Watchmen, Super Capers, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2010; Kick-Ass, Iron Man 2, Megamind, 2011; The Green Hornet, Super, Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, Captain America: The First Avenger, 2012; Chronicle, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Marvel's The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, 2013; Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2, Thor: The Dark World. 2014; Big Hero 6, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of the Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America - The Winter Soldier. 2015; Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron. 2016; Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Batman: The Killing Joke, Suicide Squad, Doctor Strange. 2017; The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, Power Rangers, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League. 2018; Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Incredibles 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Venom, Once Upon A Deadpool, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Aquaman. 2019; Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Joker, Shazam!, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Glass, Hellboy, Batman (2019 re-release), Batman Returns (2019 re-release), Batman Forever (2019 re-release), Batman & Robin (2019 re-release), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse*, Aquaman*.
*For movies released late in 2018, figures from their release date until the end of 2018 were included in the 2018 annual box office figure. Revenues generated thereafter until the end of their theater run were included in the 2019 figure.

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Statistics on "Superhero movies in the U.S."

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