Even before you factor in the hundreds of millions of dollars brought in by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the greatest financial success stories in the history of cinema, with over $28 trillion in worldwide grosses. To put that number into perspective, Disney paid just $4 billion to buy entire Marvel’s entire company back in 2009. Yeah. That was a good call.
The MCU itself has produced almost no actual flops; its consistency in terms of ticket sales is truly incredible. Even its least successful movies have managed to clear upwards of $300 to $400 million at the box office. But the reason Disney was able to buy Marvel for just $4 billion in the first place was because the company was, for a while, in dire financial straits. Despite its library of classic characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, Marvel went bankrupt in the mid-’90s.
READ MORE: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
In the early 2000s, the company’s fortunes began to turn around, thanks in part to the success of movies like X-Men and Spiderman. But even then, those movies were made by outside companies who licensed Marvel’s characters for the big screen, and a lot of the other movies made before and after those blockbusters were big flops. Below are ten of the biggest financial disappointments to emerge from the Marvel universe of comics — although there’s really only one actual Marvel Cinematic Universe entry in there, and even that comes with a very large asterisk.
The Biggest Marvel Box Office Bombs
These movies, based on comics released by Marvel, were not hits — and that’s putting it mildly.
The Most Shocking Marvel Cameos
The biggest surprise appearances by Marvel characters (and A-list stars) in the MCU.