The words "superhero film" are now synonymous with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that there are plenty of superhero movies outside of the large MCU umbrella. Beyond the 21 films that compose the MCU (and counting), there are plenty of other franchises to consider; mainly, the DC Extended Universe, X-Men, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and more!
We all know that the MCU dominates at the box office, with Avengers: Endgame even surpassing Titanic at the box office. Still, what about all the other superhero movies out there? How do they stack up at the box office? This list showcases the most profitable of the non-MCU superhero films out there.
Along with utilizing Box Office Mojo as a reference, in order to keep things interesting, each specific series is going to be limited to one entry. The worldwide gross will be considered.
10 Man Of Steel (2013) - $668 Million
Released in 2013, Man of Steel kicked off the DCEU and created an army of passionate Zack Snyder fans. The movie introduced Henry Cavill as the newest interpreter of Clark Kent aka Superman. This film mostly served as an origin story of Superman, beginning with his father, Jor-El sending Clark to Earth to protect him from the destruction of Krypton.
Despite premiering to lukewarm critical reception, Man of Steel performed pretty well at the box office. Overall, it raked in a worldwide box office of $668,045,518. An official sequel to the film has yet to be made, and it remains to be seen if one ever will now that Cavill has supposedly exited the role.
9 Suicide Squad (2016) - $746 Million
In 2016, all anyone could talk about was DC's Suicide Squad. The highly-anticipated villain team-up introduced the first live-action version of Harley Quinn to the big screen with Margot Robbie. She and Will Smith (who played Deadshot) were the break-out hits from a movie that otherwise failed abysmally in terms of critical praise.
It still is regarded as a joke online. DC is hoping to fix their mistakes with the upcoming sequel, even enlisting Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, to get it back on track. But even though Suicide Squad didn't garner the praise DC hoped for, it still raked in loads of cash with a final box office score of $746,846,894.
8 X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) - $747 Million
This time-traveling film in the X-Men franchise is largely regarded as one of the best out of all the X-Men films, so it's no surprise that it became the highest-grossing (outside of Deadpool). Altogether, X-Men Days of Future Past brought home $747,862,775 worldwide on a $200 million budget.
The movie follows the X-Men as they travel into the past to gather their younger counterparts and other X-Men so they can defeat the Sentinels of the future. Fans went crazy for the number of easter eggs in this film along with the fact old generation X-Men were fighting alongside the newer generation.
7 Deadpool 2 (2016) - $785 Million
When Deadpool came out and broke the box office in 2016, plenty of people were shocked, particularly the studios who had shelved the live-action Deadpool idea for years. When the sequel came out in 2018, it exceeded the original's box office return with a total of $785,046,920.
The Deadpool sequel featured the debut of Josh Brolin's Cable and Zazie Beetz's character Domino. Overall, Deadpool 2 featured even more 4th wall breaking and raunchy R-rated humor. The film proved to be such a runaway success, it even got a second - slightly sanitized - fairy tale version released titled Once Upon a Deadpool.
6 Wonder Woman (2017) - $821 Million
As the first live-action superhero movie starring a woman, Wonder Woman was always guaranteed to make waves. Not only did the film feature a female superhero, but it had a woman at the helm. Unfortunately, in Hollywood, women directing movies with blockbuster budgets is a rare thing, especially in the superhero genre.
Besides earning almost $1 billion at the box office, Wonder Woman changed the reputation of the entire DCEU, which, up until this film's release, had been poorly received by audiences and critics alike. Wonder Woman earned the DCEU its first certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and finished its box office run with a whopping $821,847,012.
5 Venom (2018) - $855 Million
When news broke about Tom Hardy being cast to play Venom in a spin-off film for Sony, the internet was abuzz with the possibility of him joining the MCU or theorizing about a Spider-Man versus Venom fight or even just a cameo from the friendly neighborhood web-slinger. Sadly for fans who were hoping for a crossover, Venom was very much its own entity.
But that didn't stop it from earning more than $800 million at the worldwide box office. Venom's success shocked a lot of people due to its low critical score. It has gained a significant cult following by people who loved the unorthodox story of the antihero Eddie Brock. Sony is planning to make a sequel due out in the fall of 2020.
4 Spider-Man 3 (2007) - $890 Million
Despite being the most divisive film in its trilogy, Spider-Man 3 still earned the most money out of all three of the Spider-Man movies in Sam Raimi's trilogy. Even if you have a preference between Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, and Tobey Maguire's portrayals of Peter Parker, no one can deny that Maguire will have a lasting impact as one of the first men to play the live-action version of Peter Parker on the big screen.
Spider-Man 3 earned $890,871,626 at the box office at the end of the day, no emo hair flip or awkward dancing could stop it from steam-rolling the competition. The Amazing Spider-Man films starring Garfield never quite reached the financial heights of Raimi's trilogy, but their box office returns weren't too shabby either considering both still broke $700 million.
3 The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - $1.08 Billion
Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe could legitimately kick off and become the monster franchise it is today; the most infamous superhero franchise was easily Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. The Dark Knight will likely go down in history as one of the most critically acclaimed superhero films of all time with special attention put on Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker.
It was the first superhero movie to receive prominent attention at the Academy Awards when Ledger took home a posthumous Oscar. It's not surprising then, that the sequel to The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, earned more than $1 billion at the box office. It just barely beats out its predecessor, The Dark Knight also broke the billion-dollar ceiling four years prior.
2 Aquaman (2018) - $1.14 Billion
Following on the heels of Wonder Woman, Aquaman debuted in December of 2018 to fantastic critical appraisal and an incredible box office return. Starring Jason Momoa, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, and Amber Heard; Aquaman is the origin story of Arthur Curry.
Directed by horror specialist James Wan, the film exceeded all expectations when it netted over $1 billion at the box office. Between Wonder Woman and Aquaman, the DCEU took a turn for the positive and went on to continue its winning streak with the certified fresh release of this year's Shazam! Given its success, Aquaman will be getting a sequel. At the moment, the sequel is tentatively scheduled for a 2022 debut.
1 Incredibles 2 (2018) - $1.24 Billion
If you were expecting the highest-grossing superhero film to be a DC movie, or even an X-Men film, then you might be shocked to discover it is actually none other than The Incredibles long-awaited sequel. Disney truly does dominate the box office! The first Incredibles film made more than $600 million, and the sequel doubled that amount.
Incredibles 2 was notable for its significant maturity, but it makes sense given there was a ten-year gap between the two movies. The original audience had aged up enough to welcome the darker tone Incredibles 2 brought. If The Incredibles franchise spawns another sequel, there is a chance it could even crack the top five highest-grossing superhero films of all-time.