13 highest-grossing MCU movies, ranked

33 movies, hundreds of characters and superpowers, but not all of them grossed as highly as Marvel Studios desired. But which ones did, and why?

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..L to R: Captain America (Chris Evans) in b/g Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..L to R: Captain America (Chris Evans) in b/g Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /
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6. Iron Man 3 - $1.215 billion

Iron Man 3 was the movie that soared higher than Tony Stark on a jet-powered escapade. This blockbuster, fueled by the charisma of Robert Downey Jr. and the genius of director Shane Black, didn't just fly - it skyrocketed, raking in a colossal $1.2 billion globally. But why did this metal-clad hero's third outing captivate audiences and make the cash registers ring like a chorus of clanging anvils?

Iron Man 3 was riding the tidal wave of The Avengers' success. After seeing Tony Stark team up with other Marvel heroes to save New York City, fans were more eager than ever to see what was next for the billionaire playboy philanthropist. The movie promised and delivered a personal journey for Stark, one that tested his mettle (pun intended) beyond the suit. Add to that a storyline that twisted and turned more than a roller coaster at Stark Expo, including villains that made us rethink our definition of terrorism and technology gone awry. It wasn't just a superhero movie - it was a fireworks display of action, emotion, and cutting-edge CGI that glued viewers to their seats. Toss in the global marketing machine of Disney, stirring trailers, and merchandise that was everywhere from your local toy store to your breakfast cereal, and you've got a formula for success that even the Mandarin would envy. Iron Man 3 proved that in the world of blockbuster hits, Tony Stark was, indeed, the man with the golden touch.

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER
Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018 /

5. Black Panther - $1.344 billion

Black Panther didn't just walk into the box office jungle: it roared, leaping onto the cinematic scene in 2018 with the grace of a superhero landing. Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero, this Marvel sensation wasn't just a movie - it was a cultural event. It clawed its way to an astounding $1.344 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing solo superhero movie of its time. Why? Well, aside from featuring a predominantly Black cast in a genre that's been thirsting for diversity, Black Panther brought something fresh to the table: a rich narrative deeply rooted in African culture, wrapped in the sleek, technologically advanced nation of Wakanda.

The movie's box office success was fueled by more than just its groundbreaking representation. It was a perfect storm of critical acclaim, audience love, and social significance. Critics praised its storytelling, visuals, and performances, especially Boseman's regal portrayal of King T'Challa. Fans invaded theaters, some donning traditional African attire, turning movie viewings into celebrations of African heritage and Black excellence. The #BlackPantherChallenge, which helped children from underserved communities see the movie for free, exemplified its societal impact. This wasn't just a movie - it was a movement, proving that stories embracing diversity can not only resonate universally but also smash box office records, making Black Panther a king among movies.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Ultron (voiced by James Spader)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015 /

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1.403 billion

Avengers: Age of Ultron was like that colossal party you throw when your parents are out of town - except the guests are superheroes, and the town is the entire planet. Launched into cinemas in 2015, this superhero extravaganza didn't just invite the audience; it grabbed them by the eyeballs and plunged them into a whirlwind of action, wit, and a dash of existential dread (thanks, Ultron). It's no wonder the film's box office numbers soared higher than Iron Man on a caffeine buzz. With a worldwide gross that made billionaires blush, Age of Ultron firmly etched its name into the annals of blockbuster history. Why did it rake in the cash? Well, mix together Marvel's recipe for success - beloved characters, mind-bending special effects, and quippy dialogue - then sprinkle in the curiosity to see how our heroes handle a villain who's basically a snarky internet comment come to life, and you've got yourself a box office bonanza.

But Age of Ultron wasn't just a moneymaking machine by accident. The film was strategically positioned in the MCU lineup, coming off the heels of the first Avengers movie's colossal success. Audiences were itching to see more of their favorite heroes teaming up to save the world, and Marvel Studios delivered just that, with added layers. The introduction of new characters (hello, the excellent Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver), the exploration of our heroes' vulnerabilities, and a plot that questioned the very notion of control and safety in a super-powered world all contributed to the film's appeal. Combine that with an aggressive marketing campaign that painted every billboard, screen, and cereal box with the Avengers' faces, and you've got a formula that transformed anticipation into cold, hard cash. Age of Ultron was an event that fans across the globe didn't dare miss, ensuring that every seat in the house was filled, from Wakanda to Asgard and everywhere in between.