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The Ultimate Guide to (Not) Watching the MCU Before Avengers: Infinity War

Over the past several weeks, so many friends have come to me and said, “So, which of the Marvel movies do I need to have seen before watching Avengers: Infinity War?” (which comes out April 24) My answer, invariably, has been “Uhm. . . all of them?”

I then realize most of my friends are nowhere near as obsessive as I am and haven’t been planning this for months. That’s completely fair. And, as was said quite well on Twitter by film writer Jason Bailey:

Well, the root word of “fan” is “fanatic,” right? So, forgive some of us our ridiculous indulgences. I’m the guy who, in preparation for The Last Jedi watched not only all of the Star Wars movies in chronological order, but also almost all of The Clone Wars and Rebels cartoon shows. I started before Thanksgiving.

But this is for everyone else, written with what you should watch, in what order, and what you need to know in Cliff’s Notes form to get ready.  Speaking of, here’s what you need to know, even if you don’t watch any of the movies: The Avengers, “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” are in shambles after a devastating difference of opinion split it into two factions led by Iron Man and Captain America. Meanwhile, an alien of phenomenal power named Thanos has been trying to collect six “Infinity Stones” to place into a gauntlet which would give him, basically, unlimited power. Each stone grants power over an element or concept: space, time, reality, power, mind, and soul. So far over the last decade and eighteen movies, five of the six have shown up.

So, first, figure out exactly how many movies you want to watch, and I’ll give you the right order to watch them in. I’ll start with the fewest movies, and end with two different ways to watch all of them.

NOTE: These are NOT judgments on the quality of the individual films. Indeed, the BEST film of the MCU (Captain America: The Winter Soldier — fight me) is only on the list of watching all or almost all of the films, while some of the lesser quality films (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World) are featured frequently only because they explain the background of the Infinity Stones.

If you only watch ONE movie

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Wha? But that movie has, like nothing to do with Thanos and the Infinity Stones? Right?

Yes, but the MCU’s saving grace is that it has always been more about characters and less about the other trappings. And in a movie like Infinity War that aims to balance the stories of two dozen protagonists, it’s best that we know where the majority of them ended up. And it’s worth knowing the personal stakes for everyone. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of the best films of the series (I rated it my #1 film of 2015)

So that’s all fine and good, but what else do I need to know?

Remember that Thanos is trying to collect all six of these stones, so we can assume that is central to the plot. At the end of the 18 films, here are the last known confirmed locations of the Infinity Stones (and their colors):
The Space Stone – Blue – “The Tesseract” was in Odin’s Treasure Room, but presumably Loki nicked it before Asgard was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok
The Reality Stone – Red – “The Aether” was last seen being delivered to Taneleer Tevan aka The Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World
The Power Stone – Purple – “The Orb” was put in the Nova Corps’ vault on Xandar at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy
The Mind Stone – Yellow – Previously housed in Loki’s Scepter, the Mind Stone is now firmly set in the middle of Vision’s forehead, as last seen in Captain America: Civil War
The Time Stone – Green – Housed in “The Eye of Agamato,” this is presumably either in Stephen Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenich Village, New York City or around his neck, as seen in the end of Doctor Strange 
The Soul Stone 
– Orange – ???

Other characters? There are lots of people who weren’t involved in the Avengers Civil War. Where are they?
The Hulk, Thor, and Loki – Asgard got blowed up in Thor: Ragnarok. Last we saw the surviving Asgardian refugees, they were escaping in a spaceship, and in an after credits scene were confronted by Thanos’s ship. Eep.
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Gamora and Nebula were raised by Thanos. It was an abusive relationship, and they now oppose him. Starlord aka Peter Quill was raised on Earth but his father was an ancient celestial being that tried to murder all of them. This, however, gave him power to (briefly) wield the Power Stone. Drax the Destroyer’s main goal is now to kill Thanos, who ordered the death of his wife and daughter.

 

If you only watch THREE movies

It’s not unreasonable to watch a trilogy of movies. For people with limited time and attention, here are three to watch and why:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy – This film gives the best explanation of the Infinity Stones, shows us Thanos actively trying to collect them, and introduced the Guardians.
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron – We see the power of the Mind Stone, and Thor explains more about them
  3. Captain America: Civil Warsee above

So what else do I need to know?
Three other Infinity Stones have shown up in various places: The Space Stone (in The Avengers and elsewhere), The Time Stone (in Doctor Strange), and The Reality Stone (in Thor: The Dark World). Also, Thor, Loki, and the Hulk were last seen in a spaceship that had just encountered Thanos’s ship. Eep. Also, in Guardians 2, Nebula and Gamora make up after bonding over the fact that Thanos would make them fight in mortal combat for his amusement and to make them better weapons.

 

If you only watch SIX movies

This is, in my opinion, the sweet spot. It gives you the locations of all of the Infinity Stones and sets up most of what’s going to happen next. Six movies may seem like a lot, but is it really any different than binge watching a favorite show? You may notice #6 is Black Panther rather than Thor: Ragnarok 

  1. The Avengers – The Space Stone, The Mind Stone, The Avengers first assemble, and a post credit teaser of Thanos
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy – The Power Stone, The Guardians. See above for more info
  3. Avengers: Age of Ultron – not the best movie, but the most about the Infinity Stones
  4. Captain America: Civil War – the best movie, but no Infinity Stones.
  5. Doctor Strange The Time Stone makes an appearance
  6. Black Panther – YES, go see Black Panther, again if you haven’t seen it yet. With a large portion of the action likely happening in Wakanda, you’d do yourself a big favor to check it out. Why see this instead of Thor: Ragnarok? For the same reason Cap: Civil War is on this list. Character over plot, and because Okoye, Shuri, and Wakanda’s fighting prowess isn’t in any other movie. We have several other movies with Thor and Hulk.

What are you missing? “The Aether” aka The Reality Stone was in Thor: The Dark World, and at the end of that movie, Odin decided it wasn’t smart to keep two Infinity Stones in the same place, so he gave it to Taneleer Tevan, The Collector, who you meet in Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s still holding on the Reality Stone as far as we know. Also, Hulk, Thor and Loki (and presumably the Space Stone) and what’s left of Asgard encounter Thanos at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. 

If you only watch ELEVEN movies

This is the most essentially complete you can get without watching all of the movies. This gives us the final locations of all of the Infinity Stones, all of our major characters, all appearances of Thanos, plus adds back in the best movie of the MCU, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (fight me).

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. The Avengers
  3. Thor: The Dark World
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  7. Captain America: Civil War
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  9. Doctor Strange
  10. Thor: Ragnarok
  11. Black Panther

What am I missing? Iron Man, Spider-Man, Ant Man, Ed Norton as The Hulk. I recognize for a lot of people these are their favorite parts. If so, sprinkle in your favorite bits where they fit, as a commitment to watch 11 movies, welp, you may as well make it a baker’s dozen, amirite? But watching all of these you will know everything you (likely) need before watching Avengers: Infinity War.

If you watch ALL of the MCU

There’s two ways to do this: chronological order by release date, or chronological order by where the majority of the events of the film happen (majority, as in, not counting opening flashbacks like in Ant Man or Guardians of the Galaxy). I prefer release date, just because I think the way things play out is a little more even. Chronologically, you get both of your Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the first two Iron Man movies back to back. A little separation is not a bad thing.

Release date order:

  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  4. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – First appearance of “The Tesseract” aka The Space Stone
  5. Thor (2011)
  6. The Avengers (2012) – Second appearance of The Tesseract, First appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, First appearance of Thanos
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013) – First appearance of The Aether aka The Reality Stone, first appearance of Taneleer Tevan aka The Collector, who takes The Aether in an aftercredits scene and remarks “One down.”
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – First appearance of “The Orb” aka The Power Stone, explanation of the origin of The Infinity Stones by Taneleer Tevan, second appearance of Thanos
  11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Second appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, which provided the powers for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, spawns Ultron and then ends up in Vision’s head, and Thor takes a bath and sees a vision about the Infinity Stones and the destruction of Asgard. Third appearance of Thanos, who, in an after credits scene, announces, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
  12. Ant Man (2015)
  13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  14. Doctor Strange (2016) – First appearance of The Eye of Agamato, which contains The Time Stone.
  15. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 (2017)
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Third appearance of The Tesseract, which it is implied Loki steals before Asgard is destroyed. Fourth appearance of Thanos, or at least his ship, as it encounters the refugee Asgardian ship in the after credits scene.
  18. Black Panther (2018)

Chronological order:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger  – First appearance of “The Tesseract” aka The Space Stone
  2. Iron Man
  3. Iron Man 2 
  4. The Incredible Hulk
  5. Thor 
  6. The Avengers – Second appearance of The Tesseract, First appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, First appearance of Thanos
  7. Iron Man 3 
  8. Thor: The Dark World  – First appearance of The Aether aka The Reality Stone, first appearance of Taneleer Tevan aka The Collector, who takes The Aether in an aftercredits scene and remarks “One down.”
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy – First appearance of “The Orb” aka The Power Stone, explanation of the origin of The Infinity Stones by Taneleer Tevan, second appearance of Thanos
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron – Second appearance of The Mind Stone in Loki’s scepter, which provided the powers for Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, spawns Ultron and then ends up in Vision’s head, and Thor takes a bath and sees a vision about the Infinity Stones and the destruction of Asgard. Third appearance of Thanos, who, in an after credits scene, announces, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
  13. Ant Man 
  14. Captain America: Civil War
  15. Doctor Strange – First appearance of The Eye of Agamato, which contains The Time Stone.
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  17. Thor: Ragnarok – Third appearance of The Tesseract, which it is implied Loki steals before Asgard is destroyed. Fourth appearance of Thanos, or at least his ship, as it encounters the refugee Asgardian ship in the after credits scene.
  18. Black Panther

11 Things to Check Out Before Black Panther

The hype is strong out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s newest addition — and not without reason. While I am prohibited from revealing major plot points or spoilers from Black Pantherwhat I would like to provide is a sort of guide to what you’re getting into. Think of it like a wine and cheese pairing list to prepare your appetite before you go into see this next film.

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron / Captain America: Civil War.

The second one may seem obvious — it was the first time we saw Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa on screen, and it tells us at least a little bit about his home country of Wakanda. But we’re also introduced for the first time to Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, who shows up a lot in Black Panther. 

But many of us will have forgotten (or tried to forget?) that Andy Serkis showed up for about 10 minutes in Age of Ultron as Ullyses Klaue, a South African arms dealer who stole vibranium from Wakanda, which Ultron then took from Klaue, along with a sizeable portion of his arm. This becomes important, so it’s worth revisiting at least that scene from Age of Ultron, and then watching Civil War, because Civil War is just so. dang. good.

It’s also worth noting T’Challa’s character arc in the film, especially as it relates to him being on Team Iron Man. In Black Panther, we’re treated to seeing just how much he respects international law and being subject to the Sokovia Accords. . . which is not at all, as we first see him in the film running an operation outside of Wakanda’s borders to rescue a colleague.

Also, note the final scenes he’s in with Zemo, and with Cap and Bucky in Wakanda. Boseman’s character work and scripting is excellent here, and this carries over into our film here.

Oh, and anyone who felt teased by this scene where a Dora Milaje is about to throw down with Black Widow?

“As entertaining as that would be. . .” Well, we get that entertainment in Black Panther. And the wait is worth it.

2. An Encomium To The Black Experience: Why I Am Excited To See Black Panther

This article by our own Troy Powell is a must-read. This is an incredibly thoughtful take on why Black Panther’s vision of afro-futurism is refreshing and exciting. Just go read it. I’ll wait.

3. Fruitvale Station and Creed

Director Ryan Coogler‘s career so far has been pretty well entangled with that of actor Michael B. Jordan and it’s great to see Jordan stretch his wings as the villain of Black Panther, Eric Killmonger. The MCU has often been faulted for relatively weak on-screen villains, but Killmonger is a rare exception.

To see their first collaboration, go back to Coogler’s first film, Fruitvale Station, which he both wrote and directed. It tells the true story of Oscar Grant who was shot by a San Francisco Transit Officer on New Year’s Day in 2009. It’s a heartbreaking story of hope and tragedy, and a film which I first reviewed as being “the best and most important film of 2013 that everyone who truly needs to see it never will.”

Coogler followed this up with the most unlikely of films– the Rocky franchise reboot/sequel Creed, also starring Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed who seeks out the aging champ Balboa to train him. The single shot of the young Creed’s first fight is such a masterwork of filmmaking it’s worth the price of admission alone.

You add onto that really brilliant character work and an intense understanding of the franchise, and you can understand why Coogler was a great choice to take on the MCU. Coogler grows as a visual director, and it’s great to see his growth from a low budget film to a medium budget studio film to using Disney/Marvel money.

4. That Kendrick Lamar soundtrack

black panther soundtrackAnother common complaint about the MCU is lack of memorable music. And especially where the films have tried to pair up with popular music, results have been. . .  mixed. Yes, I love hearing Foo Fighters play Walk in the bar in Thor (and over the credits), but it doesn’t quite mesh with the film overall. And then you have Soundgarden playing some nonsense over the credits to The Avengers — in my mind, the only problem with that film at all. They should’ve just licensed a good Soundgarden song and called it good. (How much better — and more fitting — would “Rusty Cage” have been there?)

But from the moment we heard a hip hop sample of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” in the first trailer for Black Panther, we knew we were getting something different.

You can listen to the album streaming on Spotify here and now.

5. A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates

a nation under our feet 1

While this current run on Black Panther may not have a lot to do with the movie from a narrative or character standpoint, it shares something incredibly important which is a social commentary. Coates’ opening run on Black Panther may have been set in Wakanda and been about the politics of Wakanda, but it wasn’t hard to see parallels to our current political situation in the US.

This is completely true of the film as well. It’s also clear that Coogler and Coates are of similar minds about presenting a critique of colonialism (and our current neo-colonialist attitudes towards Africa). Our film also hits hard on the oppression faced by black Americans, a struggle Coates has written on extensively and which finds itself woven into the philosophical discussions of A Nation Under Our Feet.

Beyond that, the basic premise of this run is whether T’Challa and Wakanda have some duty to the larger world or only to their country and their throne. That resonates thematically with T’Challa’s growth in the film. It’s also paced similarly– with lots of dialogue and character and less action.

Please also check out our video review of this on Facebook.

On a side note, a quick shout out to one of my favorite podcasts, Funnybooks and Firewater, which covers comics and offers drinking games and custom cocktails to go with your reading. They covered this a few weeks ago, and if you ever wanted to hear four white guys from Utah and California struggle with their privilege and talk about why they love this book so much, this is worth a listen. Also, they’re currently halfway through Watchmen and inching up on their 100th episode, so check them out.

6. Black Panther by Christopher Priest

h/t to my colleague Jon Carroll, who recommended this to me. Starting in his 1998 run on Black Panther, Christopher Priest introduced the Dora Milaje and the character of Everett Ross, whom we see a lot of in this film.

7. Static Shock

Speaking of Christopher Priest, it’s worth mentioning and recommending Static Shock, which he co-created with Dwayne McDuffie (Rest in Power– we miss you still), Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, and Michael Davis.

For kids of a certain age who will remember this fondly from the Kids WB lineup of cartoons, this was simply the height of early 00’s superhero awesomeness. It was also important to remember how groundbreaking this was at the time to have a superhero show led by a young black hero. Sure, Storm had been on the X-Men cartoon, but only as a part of a team that also included a fuzzy purple demon.

But this was the impetus for creating the character in the first place– greater representation and diversity in the world of comics and tv. Here’s hoping we also see more of him with the upcoming Young Justice continuation on Netflix as his inclusion was a highlight of Season 2.

8. Blade II 

Yes, for all the hype about this being the first time we’ve had a black comic book superhero in a big budget Hollywood movie, we’ve forgotten that Blade was a Marvel comics character before Wesley Snipes took on the role. However, in my opinion, the first film was good, not great. But Blade II is the far superior film.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, contender for Best Director this year for The Shape of Water, we get Blade teaming up with a vampire clan to take out the Reapers, new creatures that feed on vampires. This also reunites Del Toro with Ron Perlman from their previous work on Cronos, but perhaps more importantly, set up Del Toro and Perlman to make Hellboy. 

The major difference between the Blade movies and Black Panther? It’s missing a broader social conscience. This is something the Blade franchise always seemed to approach but never quite executed on, using vampires as stand-ins for parasitic and oppressive capitalism and the resulting income inequality. You can read that into the first two Blade movies (we dare not speak about the third one), but it isn’t quite there in the same way Black Panther wears its social commentary on its sleeve.

Some have suggested along with Blade, I should also recommend Spawn, which also starred a black superhero. But then I would be recommending Spawn. And I just can’t bring myself to do that. The Summer of 1997 was very cruel to comic books at the movies. I’m still not sure what is the bigger ignominy– nipples on the batsuit or the entirety of Spawn. 

9. Ultimates II

A Marvel animated film based off the second arc of The Ultimates, or the comics themselves, in which the Ultimate Universe versions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (which became a sort of meta-blueprint for a lot of the MCU) enter Wakanda and meet Black Panther.

10. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Because one good cartoon deserves another, this cartoon series for some reason met an early death after only two seasons despite some amazing work. Klaue shows up fairly early, and T’Challa shows himself the equal or superior of all of our Avengers.

11. Luke Cage and Black Lightning

Last but certainly not least, these are great tv shows, and certainly Luke Cage is set in the same universe. But I didn’t want to just fall into a trap of just listing every superhero adaptation with a black protagonist. What sets these apart is a clear connection with a strong social commentary on what it is to be black in America right now. It should go without saying that if you aren’t watching Black Lightning every week on the CW, you should be. And if you somehow skipped Luke Cage on Netflix, it’s a good time to catch up, especially before the next season of Jessica Jones comes out in a few weeks.

 

Well, there we go. While certainly not an exhaustive list, this should help you as you wait patiently to see this film later this week.

Did I miss anything? Have a favorite Black Panther tie-in? Leave it in the comments section. Wakanda Forever.

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films. Over $5 billion in 2016.

I had declared a few weeks ago that 2016’s comic adaptations had wrapped up, but was proven wrong. I’m officially declaring them done after a few weeks of no new dollars in.

2016’s comic adaptations earned over $5 billion worldwide, a record beating the previous record of $4.9 billion set in 2014. Nine films were released in 2016 earning on average $558.5 million. When the two limited release films are removed, the remaining seven earned $717.5 million.

In 2016 on average, DC films earned the most domestically and combined have earned the most domestically. Marvel films earn more on average and total internationally and by enough worldwide as well. What’s really interesting is due to the budgets for Fox’s “X” films the difference between gross and budget on the average is not that different from DC.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.022 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.812 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Lets look at how things have shifted since 1989, the year Batman came out. None of the below is adjusted for inflation or ticket prices.

Things have clearly changed over the 27 years. While 2016 didn’t have a record number of comic adaptations released (that was 2014), it did set a record of worldwide gross and difference between gross and budget. 2016 also saw a record domestic gross of $1.9 billion (beating 2014’s $1.7 billion), but it only had the second highest international gross of $3.1 billion. 2014 holds the record of $3.2 billion. 2016 also saw budgets of roughly $1.2 billion (two films’ estimated budgets are not available). That was the fourth-highest total, the record being 2014’s $1.5 billion for 13 films (2016 had 8).

But, how did the average film do?

Things are a bit mixed when you look at the average earning in 2016 (in this case all nine films released). On average the films earned $211.2 million domestically, the second highest amount ever. The record was set in 2012 with $263 million. That year saw 6 films released. Internationally, 2016 saw a record set with $446.5 million on average earned. The second highest amount was 2012 with $429.5 million. Worldwide, 2016 saw the second highest average amount earned with $558.5 million. The record was set in 2012 with $692.4 million. While budget in 2016 were high with the films costing $151.8 million on average, that’s only the third highest amount. The record was set in 2006 wiht $178 million and 2012 saw the average being $172 million. 2016 was also only the second most profitable on average for films. In 2016 the average film earned $476.5 million and the record was set in 2012 with $520.4 million.

2017 is already off to an interesting start and we’ll begin our focus on the year beginning next week.

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

After a declaration that 2016’s films had stopped earning money, Doctor Strange surprised me and brought in some more. This week there has been no additional earnings, so it’s likely things have wrapped up. We’ll give it one more week before making things final.

In 2016 seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will focus on the 2016 releases until all the dollars are in, then I’ve got something special planned as we shift focus to 2017.

While we’ve looked at how individual movies have done compared to the average, here’s it by property. Marvel, DC, and Fox have all released two films.

On average, DC films earn the most domestically and combined have earned the most domestically. Marvel films earn more on average and total internationally and by enough worldwide as well. What’s really interesting is due to the budgets for Fox’s “X” films the difference between gross and budget on the average is not that different from DC.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange looks to have ended its run completely (we’ll give it another week). The film has earned $677.7 million worldwide. That puts the film at 18th of all time for comic films and right in the middle of the pack for 2016’s releases. It’s a bit mixed when it comes to Marvel films as it was below the average domestic, international, and worldwide totals, but that’s largely due to 4 films skewing things and making it a high hurdle. Compared to other “debut” films for characters, this one did about as expected.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, about $98 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $98 million to go and that film’s run winding down. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.5 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $477.2 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.022 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.812 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

Last week I had declared that the 2016 comic adaptation releases looked to have stopped earning money, but that was premature. Doctor Strange went and messed that up earning $100,000 since last week. So, back to what we’ve been doing and will do this until all the numbers are in. After that we’ll really dive in and look at how 2016 compares to previous years and then after that dive into 2017’s releases.

In 2016 seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will focus on the 2016 releases until all the dollars are in, then I’ve got something special planned as we shift focus to 2017.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange is still chugging along earning another $100,000 since last week. The film has earned $677.7 million worldwide so far and will probably stop somewhere shy of $678. That puts the film at 18th of all time for comic films and right in the middle of the pack for 2016’s releases. It’s a bit mixed when it comes to Marvel films as it was below the average domestic, international, and worldwide totals, but that’s largely due to 4 films skewing things and making it a high hurdle. Compared to other “debut” films for characters, this one did about as expected.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, about $98 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $98 million to go and that film’s run winding down. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.5 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $477.2 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.022 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.812 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films. Brings in Over $5 billion

It doesn’t look like Doctor Strange has earned any more money since last week’s report so with that, I’m calling the 2016 comic movie run complete. Now, that means we can do a final look at 2016 and how the year compare’s to years past before moving on to 2017 next week!

Winners

  • Captain America: Civil War ruled the year earning $1.15 billion to be the top grossing film of 2016. That’s the highest grossing Captain America film so far.
  • Deadpool was one of the must successful films of the year earning $783 million it had a 13.5 multiplier for its budget. With a budget of just $58 million, the film shows you don’t need to spend a lot of money to find success.

Mixed

  • DC Comics films – For as much shit thrown at Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, the films earned $873 million and $745 million and beat the average Marvel film at the domestic box office. Those are impressive numbers they just didn’t meet random expectations. Still, mixed reviews clearly didn’t sink these films. Where DC/Warner Bros. needs to work is at the foreign box office where their films lag Marvel’s. Boost earnings there and it’s a whole new ball game.
  • Doctor Strange – The film earned $232.6 million domestically and $444.9 internationally, both are well below Marvel’s averages. But, when you take out the universe’s billion dollar films and look at other debuts, this movie was right where you’d expect.

Losers

  • X-Men: Apocalypse – The film was a dud domestically earning $155 million and 71.42% of its earnings coming from the international box office. It earned $200 million less than X-Men: Days of Future Past. While a lot did come in, this film definitely placed the franchise on shakier ground. When Deadpool crushed this film with 1/3 the budget, it’s time to rethink the X franchise.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – The film earned half of what 2014’s film earned and didn’t even cross $100 million domestically. Adjusting for inflation this film was the second worst film when it comes to domestic earnings.

How does 2016 compare to previous years?

2016 saw more than $5 billion dollars in earnings for the 8 comic adaptations that were released, the most money ever earned. That beats 2012 which saw $4.1 billion. But, what’s interesting is that record was driven by domestic earnings which saw a record $1.9 billion. Internationally, the year was the second highest earnings of $3.1 billion. The record was $3.2 billion in 2014.

You can see from below how much the adaptation of comic films has exploded in recent years, not just in the volume, but also how much money is being earned.

We’ll have a deeper examination of the year that was in an upcoming article.

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

The summer movie season is over and we’ve seen an interesting year when it comes to comic book films. For months debates have raged as to who is more successful, Marvel or DC, which movies were successes, and which were flops. The answers aren’t so simple and black and white, which is why I like to turn to data to give actual rankings as to who were winners and losers.

So far this year, seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will focus on the 2016 releases until all the dollars are in, then I’ve got something special planned as we shift focus to 2017.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange is slowing down but still bringing in international dollars, a few thousand this past week. The film has earned $677.6 million worldwide so far and will probably stop somewhere shy of $678. That puts the film at 18th of all time for comic films and right in the middle of the pack for 2016’s releases. It’s a bit mixed when it comes to Marvel films as it was below the average domestic, international, and worldwide totals, but that’s largely due to 4 films skewing things and making it a high hurdle. Compared to other “debut” films for characters, this one did about as expected.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, about $98 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $98 million to go and that film’s run winding down. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.5 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $477.2 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.022 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.811 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

The summer movie season is over and we’ve seen an interesting year when it comes to comic book films. For months debates have raged as to who is more successful, Marvel or DC, which movies were successes, and which were flops. The answers aren’t so simple and black and white, which is why I like to turn to data to give actual rankings as to who were winners and losers.

So far this year, seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will focus on the 2016 releases until all the dollars are in, then I’ve got something special planned as we shift focus to 2017.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange is slowing down but still bringing in international dollars, a few hundred this past week. The film has earned $677.6 million worldwide so far and will probably stop somewhere shy of $678. That puts the film at 18th of all time for comic films and right in the middle of the pack for 2016’s releases. It’s a bit mixed when it comes to Marvel films as it was below the average domestic, international, and worldwide totals, but that’s largely due to 4 films skewing things and making it a high hurdle. Compared to other “debut” films for characters, this one did about as expected.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, about $98 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $98 million to go and that film’s run winding down. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.5 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $477.2 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.022 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.811 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

The summer movie season is over and we’ve seen an interesting year when it comes to comic book films. For months debates have raged as to who is more successful, Marvel or DC, which movies were successes, and which were flops. The answers aren’t so simple and black and white, which is why I like to turn to data to give actual rankings as to who were winners and losers.

So far this year, seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will focus on the 2016 releases until all the dollars are in, then I’ve got something special planned as we shift focus to 2017.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange is slowing down but still bringing in international dollars. The film has earned $677.6 million worldwide so far and will probably stop somewhere shy of $678. That puts the film at 18th of all time for comic films and right in the middle of the pack for 2016’s releases. It’s a bit mixed when it comes to Marvel films as it was below the average domestic, international, and worldwide totals, but that’s largely due to 4 films skewing things and making it a high hurdle. Compared to other “debut” films for characters, this one did about as expected.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, about $98 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $98 million to go and that film’s run winding down. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.5 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $477.2 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.022 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.811 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

Where the Data Ranks 2016’s Comic Book Films

The summer movie season is over and we’ve seen an interesting year when it comes to comic book films. For months debates have raged as to who is more successful, Marvel or DC, which movies were successes, and which were flops. The answers aren’t so simple and black and white, which is why I like to turn to data to give actual rankings as to who were winners and losers.

So far this year, seven films have been released based on comic books (counting Batman: The Killing Joke). This feature will be weekly until the end of the year, as some films are still in the box-office and there’s till more to come.

Of note:

  • Doctor Strange looks like its worldwide total will be $677.6 million as it ramps down its run this past week. That puts the film at 18th of all time for comic films and right in the middle of the pack for 2016’s releases. It’s a bit mixed when it comes to Marvel films as it was below the average domestic, international, and worldwide totals, but that’s largely due to 4 films skewing things and making it a high hurdle. Compared to other “debut” films for characters, this one did about as expected.
  • Captain America: Civil War looks to be the top grossing film worldwide for 2016 though Rogue One is challenging that. The film earned $1.153 billion worldwide, about $98 million more than the next film. There’s still a chance that Rogue One catches up, but it’s unlikely to happen with $98 million to go and that film’s run winding down. Rogue One did pass the film when it comes to domestic earnings and is the top domestic film of the year. Civil War is third for the year, the best performing comic film.
  • Officer Downe continues to look like it hasn’t earned any more money. When it comes to the below stats, the film is being treated like Batman: The Killing Joke. The film is mostly a video on demand release, so it likely won’t see a wide release.
  • The Chair is currently not included in these stats. While the film is based on a comic, its release was done so through a service where receipts aren’t tracked in traditional ways.
  • DC’s films average $315.5 million a film domestically compared to Marvel’s $302.5 million. Internationally, Marvel earns $477.2 million and DC earns $446.8 million.

Here’s where this year’s movie crop stands as far as the actual numbers. Numbers are presented with and without The Killing Joke and Officer Downe which did not have an international run or wide release, so was not included in that average to start:

Total Domestic Gross: $1.901 billion ($1.897 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total International Gross: $3.126 billion
Worldwide Gross: $5.026 billion ($5.023 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total Reported Budgets: $1.215 billion ($1.211 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Total “Profit”: $3.812 billion ($3.811 billion without Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Average Domestic Gross: $271.0 million ($211.2 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average International Gross: $446.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $717.5 million ($558.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Budget: $173 million ($151.8 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)
Average Profit: $544.5 million ($476.5 million with Killing Joke and Officer Downe)

Now that we have those numbers down we can get a better idea as to how films have actually done this year. Below are various rankings of where films stand so far and if the films are above average (green), below average (red), or above the overall average but below the adjusted average (yellow):

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