How The MCU Got So BIG

How did the highest-grossing film franchise of all time find its success?

Marvel Studios
"There was an idea... The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more."

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated 21st Century cinema, spawning 23 films over 11 years and raking in $22 billion in the worldwide box office. And that’s not counting the multitude of videogames, comics, and television spin-offs that have strengthened the MCU’s status.

It’s easy to harp on about Marvel’s accolades, adoring fanbase, and financial success, yet Marvel’s history hasn’t always been so peachy. In fact, the MCU’s creation was an unlikely rags-to-riches tale. In the early years, one misstep would have spelt the MCU’s end, and no one thought 2008’s Iron Man would birth a cinematic behemoth worth billions.

But with Iron Man’s success, Marvel could slowly outgrow its competitors to become the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. However, Marvel’s superiors (and the Disney overlords above them) didn’t stumble onto cinematic success by dumb luck. Okay, quite a bit of luck was involved.

Still, the vast risks taken and very meticulous planning sure helped establish the MCU as one of the most gripping, tightly bound cinematic stories of all time.

These dicey creative and business choices hold vital clues to how the MCU got so big. But to understand them, we have to go back to the very start – before Marvel Studios even existed...

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A freelance entertainment journalist who can't fall asleep during films; it's a blessing and a curse. Indie games are the spice of my life.