You’d think all Marvel movies are blockbuster hits, earning billions of dollars for Marvel Cinematic Universe, with guarantees of even more successful films and sequels. Since Walt Disney acquired it in 2008, the superhero films series has become the highest grossing movie franchise today, with a worldwide gross of $15.5 billion.
Yet, believe it or not, some Marvel movies have bombed at the box office. Here’s a list of lowest grossing Marvel movies from 2008 (when Walt Disney became its parent company) up to the present, based on worldwide unadjusted gross.
1. Punisher: War Zone (2008)
This Punisher film is a reboot and the first to be produced under Marvel Studios. Frank Castle as the punisher is motivated by revenge and declares war on organized crime in New York City. It is a bloody and violent movie and the protagonist has no superpowers, only super skills learned during his stint in the army.
The violence and carnage are overly excessive, the acting is unexceptional, the dialogue is weak, and the scenes are just so unbelievable for a non-sci-fi film. No wonder, it bombed at the box office.
Worldwide Gross: $10.1 million
Production Budget: $35 million
2. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Nicolas Cage is Johnny Blaze as the Ghost Rider tries to save a young boy from the devil and fights against his own devil’s curse. He succeeds and rides away on his motorcycle but sadly, the movie had no such success.
For a superhero, the character’s development was too tame, the story looked like one long chase and the effects aren’t at all cinematic. It did better abroad than in the US, thus raising its gross.
Worldwide Gross: $132.6 million
Production Budget: $57 million
3. Fantastic Four (2015)
This third Fantastic Four film released in 2015 has the inglorious reputation of being in the list of the biggest box office bombs of all time. Publicized as a reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise, the movie failed in many aspects. It had a grim undertone, pacing dragged throughout the whole film, the characters weren’t developed enough, and overall did not stay true to its origin.
The film won several “worst” awards but what must have hurt the most for 20th Century Fox is its rumored loss in the area of $100 million.
Worldwide Gross: $168 million dollars
Production Budget: $120 million
4. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
This reboot of Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk is a dull version. Edward Norton as Bruce Banner is forever looking for antidotes to cure himself of his green monster alter ego and pining for his girlfriend who has since moved on. Fearing intimate relationships after a traumatic loss and running away from the US Army, the Hulk is forever on the run. It’s boring-ness shows in its box office bomb, too.
Worldwide Gross: $263.4 million
Production Budget: $150 million
5. X-Men: First Class
This film is a prequel to the four previous X-Men movies. It’s a team of mutants hired by a CIA agent to fight a Nazi scientist mutant. The friendship, eventual rivalry and falling out of mutants Charles (Professor X) and Erik (Magneto,) who grew up on opposite sides of the societal spectrum, are the focus of the movie.
The film is action-packed but maintains its coherence. Its story and character development are full, gaining the critics’ approval. But of the five X-Men series, this one had the lowest gross.
Worldwide Gross: $353.6 million
Production Budget: $160 million
6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Who would have thought that a Captain America film had a place in the lowest grossers list? With a gross of $370.6 million, it’s not exactly a loser. But compared to the blockbuster Avengers, it falls way behind in earnings. The First Avenger has Steve Rogers offering himself as a guinea pig to become Captain America, leading the war against the wicked HYDRA group.
Factors that may have spelled doom for this movie include the period setting and pushing the myth of a good America versus bad foreign guys. At any rate, Chris Evans went on to rake in billions for the succeeding Avengers series.
Worldwide Gross: $370 million
Production Budget: $140 million
The New York Times revealed that an initial plan was to change the movie’s title overseas to simply The First Avenger since “Captain America” may not appeal to some people with anti-US sentiments. In Russia, Ukraine and South Korea, the title change did occur.
However, the Times says, in China it was doubtful that the communist government would allow the film’s showing. For restricted environments, you can still watch movies with a VPN like Surfshark and protect your identity.
7. The Wolverine (2013)
The second Wolverine solo film, this movie got high ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and other reviews sites and critics. It also scored high from the audience and grossed $414.8 million, ranking #1 on opening weekend. It helps that Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. While reviews are mostly positive, its earnings in domestic gross is the lowest among its predecessor and other X-men series.
Worldwide Gross: $414 million
Production Budget: $120 Million
8. Thor (2011)
Thor gets high approval ratings from critics and audience. The family politics in the astral arena combines drama, wit and humor. But down in earth, where Thor is banished by his father Odin, it becomes less exciting. There’s no dull moment watching the movie. Yet, among the three movies, this one had the lowest gross.
Worldwide Gross: $449.3
Production Budget: $150