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MCU Phase Four Movies, Ranked By Box Office Mojo

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The MCU just revealed everything up through Phase Six at San Diego Comic-Con, but the public’s not even through Phase Four yet. With the substantial number of Disney+ series making up at least half of Phase Four’s content, it was a two-year era of experimentation in formatting. The experiment has paid off overall, but there’s little doubt this has been the most controversial, mixed-bag phase thus far. When it comes to theatrical installments, that is.



Phase Four has resulted in what amounts to the MCU’s first bomb, but it also resulted in perhaps the most effective piece of fan wish fulfillment in the history of cinema. Although Phase Four still has a ways to go, how have its theatrical releases fared at the box office thus far?

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6 Black Widow (2021) — $379.8 Million

Black Widow is an entertaining little (for the MCU) espionage thriller, and it blessed fans with one of the MCU franchise’s best new additions: Yelena Belova (AKA Black Widow v.2). The film is really just as much hers as it is Natasha Romanoff’s, but it would take Hawkeye later in the same year for her to have her first through-and-through success in the Universe.

Black Widow is fairly small in scope compared to other MCU adventures, making its $200 million budget somewhat surprising, even with Johansson’s deservedly hefty salary. Furthermore, the film’s controversial simultaneous Disney+ release dinged the box office returns, resulting in just about $380 million worldwide per Box Office Mojo.

5 Eternals (2021) — $402 Million

The good thing about the MCU is that even if a character isn’t fleshed out in one installment, they’ll probably get a chance in another. However, Eternals probably won’t receive a sequel, as it’s arguably the Universe’s first major financial failure, and the film introduces the most new-to-the-big-screen characters of any MCU film to date. It ends up being overwhelming and Eternals is the least rewatchable movie of Phase Four so far.

In the end, Eternals would have worked far better as a Disney+ series, because the $200 million dollar movie barely doubled its price tag, according to Box Office Mojo. When factoring in marketing and other expenses, a movie needs to clear at least three times the cost to produce it in order to be a true success. Furthermore, unlike Black WidowEternals had theatrical exclusivity, making its slightly higher gross less impressive in context.

4 Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021) — $432.2 Million

In a way, three of the MCU’s four total 2021 films were risky endeavors. Black Widow was a solo venture for a character that’s already dead, Eternals was a star-studded galactic adventure focusing on characters even less known than the Guardians before their first movie, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was the on-screen introduction for a character no more widely known than Luke Cage or Jessica Jones. It was also the first film of the Marvel Universe set in the Martial Arts genre.

Shang-Chi was a much bigger success than either Black Widow or Eternals, whether it be critically or commercially. On the latter side, the film didn’t earn much more than its two MCU brethren (at $432 million, per Box Office Mojo), but it also carried a budget that was about $50 million lower.

3 Thor: Love And Thunder (2022) — $605.3 Million As Of 7/28

After less than a month in domestic theaters, Thor: Love and Thunder has amassed$283 million, which is impressive, but only is relatively on par with where the acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok was at the same point in its run. Given the fact that the preceding film was one of the MCU’s most beloved for multiple reasons (e.g. introducing Korg, one of the best comic relief performances in Marvel movies), Love and Thunder was always going to open high, but the fairly poor word of mouth is sinking it fast in comparison to Spider-Man: No Way Home or even Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

But Multiverse also had a Spidey bump working for it, and Love and Thunder‘s $598 million worldwide total (per Box Office Mojo) is still impressive even if it probably won’t end up crossing the $1 billion worldwide mark.

2 Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) — $954.4

Few MCU productions were as troubled as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and it shows in the final product. With a director change midway through the shoot, it was a film in search of its identity and still is. At least it gave America Chavez her big-screen debut, even if she is mostly limited to being a plot device.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was as much an MCU event film as it was a wider-scoped sequel to Scott Derrickson’s original. Many of those who saw and loved No Way Home returned for Multiverse, resulting in a domestic tally of $411 million (according to Box Office Mojo) and another $543 from international venues.

1 Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) — $1.9 Million

Jon Watts’ third Spidey adventure, Spider-Man: No Way Home, was arguably just as big an event as Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame. Fans of Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire’s and Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield’s takes on the character were clamoring for a reunion, so having all three iterations on the same screen at once was downright iconic.

The unique premise rewarded the film with cash, and a lot of it according to Box Office Mojo. Disney and Sony’s $200 million movie made about nine and a half times that across the globe, including $800 million from domestic screens alone.

NEXT: The 20 Best MCU Quotes

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