Over the last 15 years, Marvel Studios’ MCU has become a box office juggernaut.
Not only does it tout the title as the biggest comic book movie franchise ever but the series of 30 films also ranks as the biggest movie franchise of all time.
In its decade-and-a-half run thus far, the MCU has raked in nearly $30 billion across its theatrical projects and shows no sign of stopping with the incoming Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania expected to have a hefty payday at the ticket window.
So with Ant-Man 3 on the horizon, here are the 5 worst MCU movies ranked by box office returns up to this point.
1.) The Incredible Hulk
Worldwide gross: $265,573,859
Sitting firmly in the last place spot is the second MCU film ever, The Incredible Hulk. The film marks Hulk’s only solo Marvel Studios movie (at least for now) and is largely seen as a disappointment for the franchise, bringing in just over $260 million at the box office.
This 2008 movie came out in the early days of the MCU, releasing a mere six weeks after the smash-hit, Iron Man. Because of its jarringly non-MCU tone and lackluster/disappointing story, The Incredible Hulk comes in at 30 on the list.
2.) Captain America: The First Avenger
Worldwide gross: $370,569,776
Next up is another Phase 1 origin story in Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans’ World War II adventure garnered a third of a billion dollars at the box office, doing so on a measly $140 million budget.
While the other Captain America films would go on to be massive financial successes, The First Avenger sits so low simply because of the relative unfamiliarity audiences had with this character and the overall MCU back in 2011 (aside from the Iron Man movies).
3.) Black Widow
Worldwide gross: $379,751,131
Starting a string of films on this list that released under unprecedented circumstances is Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson’s first solo story for her MCU hero had the burden of being the first Marvel Studios film to release during the COVID-19 pandemic placed upon it.
The film grossed just under $380 million at the box office, as a large swatch of moviegoers were still hesitant to head back to the theaters. After multiple delays and a ground-breaking hybrid release both in theaters and at home, Black Widow ultimately fell a little flat financially.
Worldwide gross: $401,731,759
Another mid-pandemic release came in November 2021 with Chloé Zhao’s Eternals. The film grossed a little over $400 million at the box office, and while the movie came amid COVID-19 concerns, audience hesitancy (at least stateside) was nowhere near where it was for Black Widow or even Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
That is why this movie can be seen as a disappointment at least from a numbers perspective. It should have been Marvel Studios’ big return to the big screen, yet due to dismal reviews and weak word of mouth, this film did not hit at the movie theater, raking in the second-worst domestic box office return in MCU history.
5.) Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Worldwide gross: $432,224,634
At 26 is the most significant success of Marvel Studios’ COVID-19 era (aside from the juggernaut known as Spider-Man: No Way Home), aka Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This film broke pandemic records for the studio, making $432 million on a $150 million budget.
Introducing the world to Simu Liu’s Shaun (Shang-Chi) as he rediscovered his family heritage and became a Marvel superhero. Being another origin story, Shang-Chi did not rake in the enormous numbers some of the other MCU films have, but its return is still nothing to be ashamed of, especially considering the extenuating circumstances.