Marvel Doesn’t Hold the Record for the Most Expensive Superhero Movie

These days, the Marvel brand is automatically associated with superhero blockbusters. Thor, Avengers, Loki, WandaVision, Black Panther, and more come to mind as part of Marvel’s cinematic film and television universe.

As the world enters a new phase in the comic book giant’s storytelling realm, a look back reveals a decade of hit Marvel movies that made billions of dollars. But guess what? Marvel isn’t the studio behind the most expensive comic superhero movie ever made — so far.

Marvel Studio's Kevin Feige speaks onstage during Disney's D23 Expo in August, 2019.
Marvel’s Kevin Feige at Disney’s D23 Expo in August, 2019 | The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA via Getty Images

Marvel’s superhero movie catalog is impressive

Kevin Feige’s involvement with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has resulted in billions of dollars for the company. As of spring 2020, Marvel superhero movies grossed more than $25 billion stretching all the way back to 2002 when X-Men first hit the big screen.

Since then, fans have seen Doctor Strange cast spells across dimensions, Spider-Man in multiple incarnations, Thor’s expansive worlds, and more special effects than one can imagine. Marvel is an undeniable force on the big and small-screen, and they pour millions into their creative budgets.

In comparison, DC Comics has brought viewers the likes of Constantine, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Suicide Squad, and Aquaman. Fans celebrated Justice League, and several DCEU films killed it at the box office. More superhero screen time is to come from both American comic book titans.

RELATED: Kevin Feige Films Have Made More Than $26 Billion Worldwide

DC Comics broke 1 on-screen record that Marvel did not

When people think of Superman these days, they tend to think of Henry Cavill or even Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal in The CW’s TV series. However, other iterations of the Man of Steel existed before those actors, and one helped DC clinch a record that Marvel has yet to outdo. And it’s rather surprising.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Superman Returns ranks as the most expensive comic book movie ever made. Remember the 2006 flick that starred Brandon Routh in the lead role?

Bryan Singer directed it, and the budget was over $270 million. The film grossed $390 million, and five years after its release, Singer expressed one regret.

In a 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said he would have avoided religious undertones and gone more for action. “He gets the knife in the side and later he falls to the earth in the shape of a crucifix. It was kind of nailing you on the head, but I enjoyed that, because I’ve always found the myth of Christ compelling and moving. So I hoped to do my own take, which is heavy sh*t for a summer movie,” said Singer.

However, he remains proud of the movie and later went on to produce X-Men: First Class, a superhero story from Marvel canon.

In contrast, ‘Captain Marvel’ holds a different record

The Guinness Book recently recorded a new honor that goes to Marvel. Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson as the titular character, is the highest-grossing superhero movie with a female lead. As of March 2021, the film’s made more than $1 billion at the box office.

Released in March 2019, it follows Carol Danvers’ journey as she picks up her mantle. Following her in second place is none other than Wonder Woman, which earned more than $800 million.