Marvel Cinematic Universe – Budget vs Box Office

So the MCU has been a money making machine, we all know that…

But which films have been the big winners and losers in the context of their budgets and when compared to other films?

So, to try and look into this, I’ve taken all of the films and plotted their positions in terms of budget and gross revenues. In effect the table below;

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 21.51.21

And here’s what we see,

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 21.4cc6.00

There’s a relatively similar pattern across a number of films, in short, spend around $150m and you can gross around $500m. Quite a few films fall into that category and when you increase the spend to around $175m, you see gross levels nearer $700m (Thor 2 and Captain America 2). Although it’s worth noting that the Incredible Hulk with $150m, only returned $263m (which is the lowest ratio between the 2 numbers across the series, with a ratio of 1.75).

But as you go higher, you start to see some interesting shifts away from a pattern. Firstly with the Avengers, the gross was extraordinary compared to the budget. With a budget of $220m, we see gross shift to $1.5bn (the highest ratio of 6.9). Likewise with Age of Ultron, a budget now of $250m returns a gross of $1.4bn. Huge amounts.

Two other films to note in this that I thought was interesting. Firstly, Iron Man 2, with a budget of $200m compared to the original of $140m, the gross only shifted by $40m. (Then with the same budget, on a post Avengers high, the 3rd smashed it and grossed over $1.2bn!).

Secondly, Guardians of the Galaxy. Which is one of my favourites in the whole series. However with a budget greater than the first Avengers film, it grossed $773m. Now Im sure not many people are complaining about that, but in terms of previous performance in the series, that is one of the lower rates of return.

Now, Im not saying that budget always equates to gross. In fact, my view is that it absolutely doesn’t and these things hang on far more complex equations. However, I found it interesting comparing the different films in this way.

What do you think?


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