13 most expensive MCU projects ranked from cheapest to overpriced

Watching our favorite heroes come to life on the big screen comes at a cost (literally). So here are the most expensive MCU projects we've gotten over the years.
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War..L to R: Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle)...Photo Credit: Film Frame..© Marvel 2016
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War..L to R: Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle)...Photo Credit: Film Frame..© Marvel 2016 /

Unfortunately, people can't really stick to the side of walls and swing between buildings using spiderwebs on a day-to-day basis. So the closest we'll ever be to living out that dream is watching our favorite superheroes come to life on the big screen. Visual effect artists come together with directors, actors, and producers to make a groundbreaking movie where the impossible becomes a reality, and the sky is the only limit. But for any of that magic to happen in the first place, there needs to be a solid budget to fund it all.

With over 16 years of history and counting, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought countless adventures to life both on the big and small screen. While most of them have reasonable budgets behind their creation, others went way overboard on this department. So it's time to look at the 13 most expensive MCU projects ever made and rank them from cheapest to overpriced!

But before we begin, it's important to note some of the different movies we're about to discuss cost the same amount of money to make. For those cases where the budgets for different projects happened to be the same, we'll group them as one single entry on the ranking. That way we can cover a wider amount of MCU adventures, and it gives us a better idea of just how expensive it is for our favorite heroes to save the day. So now that we got that out of the way, it's time for the ranking.

(L-R): Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in Marvel Studios' WANDAVISION. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

10. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law & Wandavision

If I were to ask you to guess what are some of the most expensive MCU projects ever made, chances are the big crossover movies would be the first to come to mind. Surely the first Avengers adaptation has to be up there, doesn't it? Or what about Spider-Man: No Way Home? Bringing together three different versions of the wall-crawler to fight against five villains must have been pretty costly, right? Well, yes. Both of those projects had huge budgets by all means, but not enough to secure them a spot on this list. Instead, we kick things off with a shocking two-way tie between two Disney+ series.

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law and Wandavision had a reported budget of $225 million each. Since they both had a nine-episode run, that would mean every episode cost approximately $25 million to make. That puts both series above other projects such as the first Avengers movie which had a budget of only $200 million.

There's a discussion to be had about the quality of the VFX in the Disney+ series compared to some of the earlier Marvel projects. While Wandavision sure feels like one of the most polished MCU projects ever made, the CGI shots in She-Hulk left a little to be desired. Especially when taking into account that - for less money - we saw Earth's Mightiest Heroes join forces on the big screen back in 2012. A greater budget doesn't necessarily equal a better project. But if this example isn't enough to convince you, maybe some of the other entries on this ranking might.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War..L to R: Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) ..Ph: Zade Rosenthal ..©Marvel 2016 /

9. Thor: Love and Thunder, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 & Captain America: Civil War

If a two-way tie for tenth place wasn't enough, then let us step up the game and talk about how three different movies steal the ninth spot on this list. Thor: Love and Thunder, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 & Captain America: Civil War all had a reported budget of $250 million each.

That seems like a reasonable amount in the case of Cap's third adventure and the Guardians' latest ride. After all, both movies feature many big characters in a protagonistic role, and their stories are huge in scope. Not only that, but they acted as the third installment in franchises widely loved among MCU fans. It wasn't a risk for Marvel to give them such a huge budget when they knew audiences would show up without a doubt.

As for Thor: Love and Thunder, the story is a little bit different. Yes, the success of Ragnarok made us all think a fourth movie in the God of Thunder's saga was going to blow the roof off once again. But its story wasn't as big or epic as the one seen in Civil War or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Besides, it can be argued its VFX shots are worse as well. So it really makes you wonder what such a huge budget was used for. But whatever the case, two out of three $250-million Marvel movies being amazing is not a bad record at all.

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL. /

8. The Marvels

Out of every MCU movie ever released, only two failed to turn a profit. And when you consider The Marvels is one of them, it's easy to see why. After all, its huge budget of $270 million meant the movie had to gross a whopping $439.6 million just to break even (accounting for marketing expenses as well). However, the movie fell way short of that number by more than half as it only grossed $206 million across its theatrical run.

There are many reasons why The Marvels flopped at the box office. The timing of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes prevented its cast and crew from promoting the film. Additionally, audiences are becoming skeptical of the Marvel formula after what seems like a long-losing strike of projects. And as if it wasn't enough, the second season of Loki also stole a lot of the spotlight from the movie as well. But even then it would've been hard for anyone to predict that Captain Marvel's first stand-alone adventure would gross over a billion dollars only for its sequel to fall so short behind.

According to recent reports, a third chapter in Carol Danvers' saga has been canceled at Disney. But while we should still expect her to appear in another big crossover such as the upcoming Avengers 5 (formerly known as Kang Dynasty), it's undeniable the MCU's future isn't as certain as it once was.

Marvel Studios' ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2021 Marvel Studios. All Rights Reserved. /

7. Eternals

Aside from She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, every project on this list features one or more protagonists that audiences already know from another MCU adventure. And it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Starting a new franchise with heroes unfamiliar to the big screen represents a huge risk itself, so Marvel wouldn't want to spend a lot of money when doing so. It isn't until they know a sequel is a safe bet that they will allow greater budgets to be used. The Marvels, Thor Love and Thunder, Captain America: Civil War, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are all perfect examples of that. However, there's one big exception to this rule in the form of Eternals.

Eternals is the most expensive Marvel stand-alone adventure that introduced brand new characters to the big screen with a budget of $272.6 million. Just to put that amount in perspective, let's compare it against the budget of yet another film that presented a group of misfits to mainstream audiences for the first time. The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie reportedly cost only $170 million to make back in 2014. There's a $100 million difference that shows how much more of a powerhouse Marvel is now compared to ten years ago (of course, that is without taking into account inflation). But even then, Eternals seems like a huge bet especially when not even the most hardcore comic book fans really knew about them.

(L-R): Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) in Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

6. Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff was one of the first heroes to be introduced to the MCU back in 2010 in Iron Man 2. However, it wasn't until eleven years later that she was finally the star of her own stand-alone adventure. It took quite a while to get there, but when the day finally came to make a Black Widow movie Marvel didn't hold back with the budget whatsoever.

We previously discussed how Eternals has the greatest budget out of all stand-alone Marvel movies to feature brand-new characters. But Black Widow is the most costly MCU project ever made that isn't a sequel or a follow-up, but rather the first chapter in a franchise. It had a budget of $288.5 million and it barely managed to make a profit of just $67 million after ending its theatrical run.

However, it's important to remember the movie came out during the pandemic which meant it also had a simultaneous release on Disney+ (something that undoubtedly hurt its box office run). So even with a lot of external circumstances going against it, it's nice to know Black Widow still managed to be a success. While it may be disappointing to know there won't be more of Natasha Romanoff on the big screen, that doesn't mean Scarlett Johansson is out of the MCU altogether. She will produce a TV series with Marvel, and we can't wait to learn more about that collaboration.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios' DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. /

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Long had Marveld toyed with the idea of breaking the multiverse open on its interconnected universe of live-action projects. The possibilities of what could occur were endless, and there were exciting ideas about who audiences might see cameo in a parallel universe. What Disney failed to consider, however, was how expensive it would be to bring that plan to life. After all, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness slides its way into the top five most expensive MCU movies ever made.

Coming nearly short of the $300 million mark, Stephen Strange's second stand-alone adventure cost $294.5 million to make. Interestingly enough, it appears Marvel originally intended for the budget to be just $200 million - almost $100 million less than the actual cost - but things didn't go according to plan. The movie was unfortunately delayed from May 7, 2021, to May 6, 2022, due to the effects of the pandemic. This extra year of production meant costs were increased, and the budget spiraled slightly out of control.

Fortunately, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness grossed almost one billion dollars throughout its theatrical run. So even accounting for marketing expenses and the unfortunate effects of COVID-19, the movie managed to be a success. Let's just hope that motivates Marvel and Disney to let us know when we'll see Stephen Strange and Clea strike next sooner rather than later.

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) Photo: Chuck Zlotnick ©Marvel Studios 2018 /

4. Avengers: Infinity War

While it shouldn't be surprising to see Avengers: Infinity War within the top five entries of this ranking, it is quite a shock it falls only in fourth place. After all, it can be argued only Avengers: Endgame managed to be a "bigger" movie with more characters and a larger scope. So it's safe to say that Joe and Antony Russo did make the most out of the budget they had because -as we're about to see - having more money doesn't magically translate into a better result.

It's a bit tricky to tell just how much exactly Avengers: Infinity War cost. Marvel hasn't revealed an official figure yet (and chances are that won't change in the future). However, a lot of estimates place it within the range of $316 to $325 million - which is a lot. Interestingly enough, Joe Russo revealed that both Infinity War and Endgame combined cost Marvel one billion dollars (likely counting marketing expenses as well). Fortunately for Marvel, those two movies ended up grossing almost five times that initial investment with a total of 4.7 billion dollars, so the risk ultimately paid off.

Now let's just hope that the next Avengers movie has the same care and love put into it as Infinity War.


3. Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania

Oh, the Quantumrealm. A whole new world filled with mysteries, weird creatures, unique fauna, and lots of expensive special effects. It's no wonder such a CGI-heavy movie as Quantumania falls in the top three most expensive MCU projects ever, with a budget of $326.6 million. That makes it the only stand-alone Marvel adventure to surpass the $300 million mark, something that not even huge titles such as Iron Man 3 or Captain America: Civil War managed to accomplish by a long shot. Now the question remaining is: was the investment worth it?

Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania was marketed as something huge. But at some point, it feels like Marvel wanted to go overboard in the quantity just for the sake of it, instead of focusing on the quality of the project first. The movie did have a huge opening weekend as a result. But after that, audiences found out that Scott Lang's latest adventure wasn't all that good, and so they failed to fill seats at the theater in the following weeks.

The current model Disney has of spending exorbitant amounts of money on projects such as Ant-Man and She-Hulk isn't sustainable. They need to go back to their old ways when a movie featuring a really popular character such as Captain America had a budget of $170 million maximum. Besides, it's not like throwing a lot of money at their movies is going to magically make them better anyway. If anything, recent expensive projects such as Quantumania are known for lacking good VFX shots or an engaging story. If the MCU wants a shot at keep being relevant, there needs to be a change moving forward.

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..L to R: Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /

2. Avengers: Endgame

Let's be honest: the only surprise here is how didn't Endgame secure the first spot on the list. With an all-star cast, a lengthy runtime of three hours and two minutes, and tons of special effects required, this movie was going to be expensive no matter what. Besides, Marvel had just one chance of bringing the Infinity Saga as a whole to an end, so of course they weren't going to hold back moneywise.

Avengers: Endgame had an exorbitant budget of $356 million. That's a bet that most studios don't have the luxury to make. However, it all paid off (literally) as the movie would go on to become the second-highest-grossing movie of all time, only falling behind James Cameron's Avatar. Earth's Mightiest Heroes' latest adventure earned a groundbreaking $2.8 billion at the box office. So even if its production cost was higher than most other big Hollywood movies, it was well worth it in the end.

Avengers: Engame had over 2,500 visual effect shots. That staggering amount indicates where most of its budget went. And when you take into account this was the last Marvel appearance of big stars such as Robert Downey Jr, it's easy to see why the movie was so expensive altogether.

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

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron

It may not be a shock to learn that an Avengers movie steals the spotlight as the most expensive MCU project ever made. However, it is surprising to learn that it isn't either Endgame or Infinity War, but rather Age of Ultron. After all, many fans rank it as their least favorite out of all the movies featuring Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

With a reported budget of $365 million, not only is Avengers: Age of Ultron the most costly Marvel project ever, but it is also the fifth most expensive movie ever made in the history of cinema as well. It only falls behind huge names such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Part of the reason it was so expensive is because the cast and crew of the film flew to many different parts of the world to film scenes on location to give the movie a realistic feel. Infinity War is the opposite example of that since most of it takes place in space and there's no way to record that but using a green screen. However, it's important for directors to use as many real props as possible, and Avengers: Age of Ultron succeeded in this aspect without a doubt. You can criticize the movie for many different things but it has one saving grace: scenes always look beautiful and realistic (except for a few shots of Ultron himself, that is).

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