Special Report

10 Most Valuable Comic Book Movie Franchises

4. Iron Man
>Franchise rank by worldwide gross receipts: 4 ($2.42 billion)
>Franchise rank by U.S. gross receipts: 4 ($1.04 billion)

>Number of movies in franchise: three
>Studio: Paramount for the first film, then Buena Vista

>Top grossing movie in franchise: “Iron Man 3” (2013) ($1.22 billion worldwide)
>Production budget: $200 million
>All-time domestic U.S. sales rank: 14
>All-time worldwide sales rank: 7

The Iron Man first appeared in the Marvel comic book series “Tales of Suspense” in March 1963, and Iron Man was also an original (September 1963) member of the superhero team, The Avengers. The character has become more popular overseas, with ticket sales rising from 45.6% foreign for the first movie to nearly 67% for the third. All three movies are included in the list of top 10 grossing movies of all time based on comic book characters. There are currently no future releases planned in the series, but Iron Man is included in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” which opens this Friday, and is also expected to appear in “Avengers: Infinity War Part 1,” which is currently scheduled for release in May 2018.

5. Marvel Avengers
>Franchise rank by worldwide gross receipts: 5 ($1.53 billion)
>Franchise rank by U.S. gross receipts: 6 ($623.36 million)
>Number of movies in franchise: one
>Studio: Buena Vista/Disney

>Top grossing movie in franchise: “Marvel’s The Avengers” (2012) ($1.52 billion worldwide)
>Production budget: $220 million
>All-time domestic U.S. sales rank: 3
>All-time worldwide sales rank: 3

In their comic book introduction in 1963, the Avengers consisted of Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Thor and the Hulk. Captain America joined up a few issues later. The Marvel comics team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby get the credit for this creation. Only “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” has had a bigger opening day in the United States than the first movie. This week’s opening of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is expected to open on about 4,200 screens in the United States, and opening weekend domestic sales could equal the $201 million the movie has earned since its release last Wednesday in several foreign markets.

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6. Superman
>Franchise rank by worldwide gross receipts: 6 ($1.36 billion)
>Franchise rank by U.S. gross receipts: 5 ($809.16 million)
>Number of movies in franchise: six
>Studio: Warner Bros.

>Top grossing movie in franchise: “Man of Steel” (2013) ($688 million worldwide)
>Production budget: $225 million
>All-time domestic U.S. sales rank: 60
>All-time worldwide sales rank: 79

Superman is America’s oldest comic book superhero, first created in 1933 by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster while they were still in high school. The Man of Steel made his first appearance in a DC comic book in June of 1938. “Superman,” the first movie in the franchise, was released in 1978 and starred the late Christopher Reeve. Adjusted for inflation, that film remains the top grossing domestic release in the series with $465.75 million in ticket sales, compared with 1981’s “Superman II,” which raked in $316 million inflation-adjusted dollars, and “Man of Steel,” which grossed $282.02 million. Foreign ticket sales are only available for three of the six films, so it is reasonable to assume that the franchise’s worldwide ranking would be higher if all six of the films were included.