Coming into 2017, Marvel Studios had never released more than two films in a single year. Putting out three films in one year was a new challenge for the studio, but they have answered it emphatically. Thor: Ragnarok will pass Wonder Woman ($821.8M) at the worldwide box office today (if it hasn’t already), so Marvel Studios’ three films will own all of the top three spots for superhero movies in 2017.
The impressive hat trick for Marvel Studios includes the current 2017 superhero champion, Spider-Man: Homecoming ($880.2M), followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863.6M), and then Thor: Ragnarok. The third Thor film came into the day with $821M worldwide, but today’s domestic earnings and updated totals from the international box office will push it past Wonder Woman. Marvel Studios has now produced three of the year’s seven highest grossing movies, regardless of genre.
Not all of the box office revenue Marvel Studios generated this year will fill Disney’s coffers. Spider-Man: Homecoming was produced by Marvel Studios, but distributed by Sony Pictures. Though Spider-Man‘s revenue does not count for Disney, it still counts toward Marvel Studios’ annual and lifetime totals. It is no different than the pre-Avengers Phase One films, four of which were distributed by Paramount and one by Universal, counting in Marvel Studios’ lifetime total.
The studio will look to repeat this year’s superhero box office domination in 2018 with three more releases. The studio will deliver Black Panther on February 16, Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, and Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6. It will not be easy, however, with five other Marvel or DC-based movies due out next year (New Mutants, Deadpool 2, Venom, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and Aquaman). Marvel Studios may not snag all of the top three spots in 2018, but it’s difficult to bet against them.
This year was no slouch in terms of competition with three other live-action films based on Marvel or DC characters. Logan, Wonder Woman, and Justice League were all legitimate contenders to finish at the very top, or at least in the top three back when the year started. Marvel Studios, already known for their remarkable consistency, reached a whole new level above their competition with three releases over $820M worldwide, all of which won over critics (“Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) and general audiences (three “A” ratings from CinemaScore).
It’s a simple enough idea: make movies that people like. It just isn’t easy to do consistently and yet Marvel Studios continues to deliver, movie after movie, year after year.