Sam Raimi’s Biggest Movie Isn’t What Fans Think It Is

Sam Raimi is back at the helm of a Marvel movie. The director started out as a scrappy indie filmmaker mostly in the horror space before moving into blockbusters. Now Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be on the verge of becoming the biggest success of his career. But before it does, let’s look back at what Raimi’s most popular movie really is. Chances are good that some of his biggest fans might be surprised by the answer.

Sam Raimi waves on the red carpet
Sam Raimi | Dave J Hogan

Sam Raimi directed the ‘Evil Dead’ trilogy

Raimi made his directorial debut with a 1981 horror film called The Evil Dead. And for a long time, that movie was his calling card. Thanks to its cult success, Evil Dead II followed in 1987. And by the time Raimi made the third film — titled Army of Darkness — he got the chance to do so as a part of the studio system for the very first time.

The Evil Dead trilogy — and Raimi’s other horror movies, such as 2009’s Drag Me to Hell — are still often what fans think of when they consider Raimi’s filmmaking style. Alas, none of those films, particularly the early ones, come close to being the director’s biggest box office hits. Those came his way, thanks to a certain web-slinging hero.

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His biggest success was with ‘Spider-Man’

After Army of Darkness, Raimi spent most of the rest of the 1990s experimenting with different genres. From 1995 to 2000, he made Western The Quick and the Dead, crime film A Simple Plan, romantic drama For Love of the Game, and supernatural thriller The Gift. But none of them quite connected with audiences as some expected. Then came 2002’s Spider-Man. And Raimi’s voice proved perfect for bringing Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker to life.

Given the widespread love for the Marvel superhero, perhaps it’s no surprise that Raimi’s three Spider-Man films are his three biggest hits. The first film passed $400 million domestically, with each sequel making between $30 million and $40 million less. But according to, 2007’s Spider-Man 3 edges out its predecessors with $895 million worldwide. That’s ironic, seeing how fans and critics so tepidly received the film at the time.

Sam Raimi returns to Marvel in 2022

In fact, Raimi admitted he nearly turned down Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness because of how his last experience making a Marvel movie turned out. But his 2022 Marvel movie is earning positive reviews so far. In fact, Raimi’s triumphant return has some fans wondering if he’ll stick around to make another superhero movie.

After Maguire reprised the role in Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s possible Raimi could revive his plans for Spider-Man 4. At this point, that’s definitely a possibility, thanks to the multiverse. Clearly, the numbers show that Raimi shines his brightest at the box office when superheroes are involved.

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