Jul 19, 2021
min read

Marvel Studios: The Tale of their Financial Supremacy

A journey from financial ruin to the biggest film franchise ever.

Whenever we think about Marvel Studios, all the ferocious and likable characters and superheroes appear in our heads. This Movie Franchise is best known for the innovative and revolutionary fashion in which they present their Movies and TV Shows to their audience. From the most astounding VFX to the most fascinating storylines, Marvel has written the plot for an eye-catchy story of success.

They started from scratch in the year 2007, with the production of their first action-packed film, ‘Iron Man’ and have now become a Movie Production Company that has made two record-breaking blockbusters- Avengers: Endgame which crossed the mammoth milestone of $2.79 billion and Avengers: Infinity War, the film which left us all with heavy hearts, has also surpassed the gigantic milestone of $2 billion.

Though, this isn’t all that has transformed Marvel Studios into the world’s most successful and profitable Movie Franchise.

We are here to discuss Marvel’s extraordinary and ingenious strategies which have proven to be the secret behind their success. We’ll also be discussing the constant improvisation which Marvel brought forth and some noteworthy masterstrokes which separate it from other Franchises and Studios.

What makes Marvel stand out?

A huge range of comic books

Marvel has an extremely wide and captivating range of comic books. These comic books have helped them to lay the foundation of their Cinematic Universe. The storylines of the comic books have been used as the main plot of almost all the Marvel movies with some minor tweaks made here and there by the directors.

The liveliness of the films

Almost every Marvel film has some amount of sadness in it but one doesn’t dive deep into sorrow as the theme of the film is kept lively and vibrant by putting in some awkwardly funny jokes and one-liners. The choice of colours is also a major factor that makes our most dear films so interesting and merry to watch and indulge in.

The movies have unbelievable plot twists

Some Marvel movies have had the most shocking plot twists. For example, Thor meeting Hulk on the planet ‘Sakaar’ in Thor: Ragnarok, Thanos discovering about the Nebula who time-travelled to the past in Avengers: Endgame, and lastly, Loki escaping with the Tesseract which encouraged the Franchise to give Loki’s character a whole new series of his own which goes by the name ‘Loki’.

They pull off the most unexpected crossovers

Marvel has formed a habit of shocking the audience by providing them with the most shocking crossovers. For example, Marvel firstly introduced the fans to Iron Man(Tony Stark), Captain America, and Thor along with their backstories. This made the fans familiar with these characters and their life struggles and then Marvel dropped the mega-blockbuster – The Avengers, a grandeur crossover film with all the Avengers who were introduced in Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe(MCU).

Marvel avoids repetitiveness

While some studios constantly tend to follow a dark and sombre theme and feel afraid to take the risks of adapting to newer concepts, Marvel prevents any repetitions or similarities among their past and new films and shows. Thus, they are able to deliver a fresh and overwhelming experience to their audience every single time.

Well, if you are by any chance, unaware of the ‘marvellous’ financial feats that the Marvel films have achieved, here’s a list for you:

  1. Avengers: Endgame - $2.79 billion
  2. Avengers: Infinity War - $2 billion
  3. The Avengers - $1.51 billion
  4. Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1.4 billion
  5. Black Panther - $1.3 billion
  6. Incredibles 2 - $1.24 billion
  7. Iron Man 3 - $1.21 billion
  8. Captain America: Civil War - $1.15 billion
  9. Spider-Man: Far From Home - $1.13 billion
  10. Captain Marvel - $1.12 billion

Marvel has earned a total of $22.5 billion and the average earnings of their films are a breath-taking $750-800 million!

How did Marvel establish itself and become such a financial hit?

They invested substantial sums of money into visual effects and CGI

Marvel has never over the years, made the mistake of compromising on the quality of visual effects. Though people may think that visual effects aren’t that costly, they are shockingly more expensive than your expectations as the combined cost of the visual effects of Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War was a staggering $675 million. This proves that Marvel has got no stingy hands when it comes to spending their income on their ambitious projects.

They saved a ton of revenue while casting

In the starting phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel saved a huge chunk of money which was solely a result of their clever casting choices. If you could just think for a moment, you would realize that some of the actors weren’t that well established irrespective of their remarkable acting skills. For example, Chris Hemsworth who plays the role of Thor, the God of Thunder had hardly set his foot in Hollywood when he signed up for his role as Thor. Another example of this is Anthony Mackie, who plays the role of the Falcon(Sam Wilson). Anthony was not receiving the deserved appreciation and fandom for his skills but Marvel completely changed it. This proves that they have saved a huge amount of money by not casting the ‘big names’.

Marvel creates an excessive amount of hype for an upcoming film or show

This is one of the major factors as to why Marvel has been able to receive their desired reaction and hype from the public. They start releasing the teasers and trailers 10-12 months before the release of the film or show. These teasers and trailers cause the fans to think about what the next movie or show could have in store for them. These trailers take almost every social media platform by storm as they leave the audience with awe and people even start to discuss the potential plot and story of the film or show. This creates the hype and does the marketing for Marvel Studios and they don’t even have to pay for it.

They went with their guts and took risks

While industries across the globe were busy with making traditional and stereotypical superhero movies with similar plots, characters, and action sequences, Marvel brought its characters to life with inspiring storylines and surreal CGI and VFX, even though it cost them a substantially larger amount. Not only this, for the first Marvel movie ever, ‘Iron Man, Marvel had actually designed an Iron Man suit made of pure metal which was an impressive feat given the time at which the film came out. This paid off and the film grossed a mind-boggling $585 million.

Record-breaking earnings by comic books

Apart from providing the movie franchise with fascinating storylines, Marvel’s comic books also contribute to the financial success of Marvel Studios as they have grossed over $321 million as per the calculations in 2014. So, it is safe to say that even though Marvel may hide its earnings from comic books from the fans nowadays, the comics have proven to be a priceless asset to the franchise.

They made Grand Crossover films with regular intervals

Now, you might ask me that how has this contributed to Marvel’s financial success but let me stop you there and ask you the question “Do you want to watch all the superheroes in their solo movies or prefer to see them all get together on the big screen?” Yeah, this answer is an absolute yes. Marvel Studios played the game cleverly and after establishing and interlinking each character and superhero’s story, they picked an overpowered villain for a final showdown with the Avengers.

The following is the list of the earnings of 5 of the biggest Marvel crossover films:

  1. Avengers: Endgame - $2.79 billion
  2. Avengers: Infinity War - $2 billion
  3. The Avengers - $1.51 billion
  4. Avengers: Age of Ultron - $1.4 billion
  5. Captain America: Civil War - $1.15 billion

These films grossed an astonishing $7.8 billion on the worldwide box office and are still earning as the people have the facility to stream them on Disney’s very own OTT platform: Disney+Hotstar.

Where did it go wrong for the other movie franchises?

Monotonous due to the similarities between most movies

We all know that the majority of studios preferred, and still prefer to showcase their action sequences with purely violent and gross fighting scenes. This trend was extremely prevalent in the early and mid-phase of the 2000s and most of the films which were produced followed a darker theme. Apart from this, the monotony was also caused by the same pattern in which each and every film was made and presented.

Their Visual Effects weren’t up to the mark

There is no telling about the significance of visual effects and what could go wrong if they aren’t of the top-most quality. However, some Franchises and Studios failed to grasp the importance of this and produced movies with childish visual effects and action sequences. Although, some Franchises couldn’t be blamed as they might not possess the necessary means to afford such expensive visual effects but some Studios are just unconcerned about what the public really expects of them.

They weren't receptive to feedback and constructive criticism

The fans make everything clear to the Franchise about the kind of content required to meet their expectations. Some studios aren’t just ignorant towards feedback and constructive criticism, they also lack the slightest skills necessary to produce Sci-Fi action films relevant to the world we live in.

Repetitive storylines and villains

It is understandable that if a particular kind of storyline or villains are contributing to the success of movies, it is not easy to just leave them and move on. However, this is no excuse for repeating the same stories over and over again with a few minor tweaks. If people develop a sense of judgment against a particular Franchise that “Nah, I can’t watch these films as they’re a pure copy of other films and their concepts”, you can’t blame them for doing so.

The directors couldn’t pull off the storylines

We know that the Studios want the best for every movie they produce and they also give freedom to the directors to take their own takes on the stories and plots but, sometimes there is an actual mess up in terms of storytelling and character development(the way in which a movie character develops or matures as an individual) of the characters. The films remain vague and confusing and are often filled with unwanted and unnecessary action scenes for the sake of making up to the fans.

They failed to connect the storylines of their films

Well, we all want to see things in a flow and continuity. Marvel was able to comprehend this fact from the very beginning so they intertwined the events of each and every film, leading to the final crossover film ‘Avengers: Endgame’. However, franchises and studios often fail to properly connect and link the events of their films which leads to chaos and confusion in the minds of the fans. This also ruins the excitement and build-up that could be created before they release any of their most expensive projects wherein all their superheroes form a team to fight a powerful supervillain.

Key Takeaways

  • Marvel has successfully established itself as the face of action films and has got no competition in the present time.
  • Marvel was able to do so by pulling off their plans and strategies with precision, as per their own vision.
  • Also, the complexities the other studios were struggling with at the time of Marvel studios’ start in filmmaking, makes it a major factor that led to Marvel’s global dominance.
  • It is not so late for the other franchises to make up for their mistakes as the fans are ever-excited to watch fresh concepts and stories.