The 10 Most Expensive Marvel Movies Ever Made

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios logo, cash money flying in background

Marvel movies are often highly expensive affairs, with production budgets frequently ballooning. 

Marvel Studios has been in the moviemaking game since 2008 when it released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Ol’ Shellhead’s debut film was a smash hit, while the Jade Giant didn’t fare as well.

Fast-forward more than a decade and a half, and Marvel is still chugging along with various live-action films (as well as series and other forms of content). But because recent projects have failed to move mountains as in the past, the studio is in a rebuilding period and is expected to come back strong.

Which Marvel Movies Cost the Most To Make?

An important note before diving into the list: The production costs detailed below are after all tax reimbursements are applied to the film’s spending. 

When studios elect to shoot projects in certain parts of the globe (Atlanta, Georgia, for example), a tax credit is applied, resulting in a final budget that is factored downward.

Avengers: Endgame - $500+ million

The Avengers in Avengers: Endgame
Marvel Studios

For a few years, the MCU went mainstream and captured the zeitgeist in huge ways, film after film. This all culminated in the immensely popular Avengers: Endgame in 2019. 

While Deadline reported the cost behind Endgame as $356 million, the actor cost appears to be far higher. Speaking at the Sands International Film Festival of St. Andrews in March 2022, co-director Joe Russo confirmed both Endgame and Infinity War each cost "$500 million plus" to produce:

"I don’t know if these numbers have ever been accurately reported but in the case of Avengers: Endgame or Infinity War, each of those movies was $500 million plus. So this is an incredible amount of money that is being spent on these films."

The Infinity Saga-culminating event proved to be an absolute juggernaut as die-hards, casual fans, and general audience members alike flocked to cinemas to witness the Avengers’ climactic battle with Thanos

The worldwide box office was an astonishing $2.799 billion, and Endgame is currently the second-highest-grossing film ever.

Avengers: Infinity War - $325 million

The Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studios

The third cinematic outing for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Avengers: Infinity War from 2018, featured a huge cast and a shocking cliffhanger ending. 

Deadline previously stated the production cost behind Infinity War was $325 million. But as discussed earlier, co-director Joe Russo has estimated its actual cost to be "$500 million plus," although it's unclear if that figure includes marketing which is usually considered separately in movie expenses.

Infinity War was part one of Marvel’s sweeping, epic conclusion to the Infinity Saga, and the follow-up wouldn’t materialize until the following year. Still, audiences packed into theaters for Avengers 3, many for repeat viewings, allowing it to bring in $2.052 billion worldwide.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - $365 million

The Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel Studios

Kicking things off with the most expensive Marvel movie of all time, this particular distinction is held by 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron which cost a whopping $365 million to make (via FilmLA).

After Ultron’s predecessor, The Avengers, broke major box office records three years earlier, anticipation for the sequel was white hot. And although this follow-up didn’t earn quite as much as the original, Age of Ultron still raked in $1.5 billion worldwide, surely to the delight of Walt Disney shareholders.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - $351 million

Zombie Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Marvel Studios

Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) hotly-anticipated sequel might not have pleased everyone, but the 2022 film moved the sorcerer’s story forward. The budget for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sat at $351 million (via Forbes).

After Multiverse of Madness’s theatrical run, the movie had accumulated $955.8 million, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film that year. But it also arrived at a time when general audience interest in the MCU was beginning to wane.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - $276 million

Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
Marvel Studios

There is much to be said about 2023’s Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. Marvel Studios reportedly believed it had a “banger” on its hands, only for the movie to hit the ground with a thud after its opening weekend. 

Unfortunately, Quantumania wasn’t cheap either, with a budget of $276 million (via Forbes). The film’s final take-home from the box office was a far-less-than-stellar $476.1 million.

Spider-Man 3 - $258 million 

Spider-Man and Sandman in Spider-Man 3
Sony Pictures

The oldest movie on this list, as well as the only non-Marvel-Studios-produced offering, is none other than Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 from 2007. 

Marred by studio interference, Tobey Maguire’s third turn as the Web-Slinger is largely considered the black sheep of the trilogy. It cost $258 million to make (via Variety).

Spider-Man 3 made $896 million worldwide, and a sequel was green-lit. However, Raimi and Maguire were dropped, and the franchise was rebooted in 2012.

Eternals - $254 million

Ikaris and Thena in Eternals
Marvel Studios

One of the most ambitious projects in Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 slate, Eternals from director Chloé Zhao, chronicled the story of an immortal group of superpowered beings on a budget of $254 million (via Forbes).

Eternals was panned by critics and is widely considered the studio’s first major flop when it only brought in $402 million worldwide. Many fans believe that the release of Eternals in 2021 was when the cracks began to form in Marvel’s then-sterling reputation.

Thor: Love and Thunder  - $250 million

Thor and Gorr in Thor: Love and Thunder
Marvel Studios

 When Taika Waititi delivered Thor: Ragnarok in 2017 to great acclaim, all eyes were on the Asgardian thunderer. Waititi’s 2022 follow-up, Thor: Love and Thunder, occurred after Thor’s fall from grace in Avengers: Endgame.

Unfortunately for Marvel, it had its fall from grace during Love and Thunder’s run in cinemas. The $250 million-budgeted movie (via IndieWire) wound up short of expectations at the worldwide box office, netting $760.9 million amid critical and fan disappointment. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - $250 million

Shuri and Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Marvel Studios

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had its work cut out after King T’Challa actor and franchise star Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away in 2020. Director Ryan Coogler, cast, and crew made the 2022 sequel in the shadow of Boseman’s untimely death.

Wakanda Forever cost $250 million (via Variety) and was a success, grossing $859.2 million worldwide. This was far less than the original Black Panther made in 2018, but that came out during a much different time for Marvel Studios.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - $250 million

The Guardians of the Galaxy in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Marvel Studios

The final installment in the Guardians trilogy and James Gunn’s last project under the auspices of the Red Brand, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 brought the story of the ragtag spacefarers to an emotional resolution with a budget of $250 million (via Variety).

Vol. 3 didn’t quite crack the billion-dollar mark with a global gross of 845.6 million, but it was successful and well-reviewed. Moreover, the movie had legs and continued making money throughout Summer 2023.

All these films and more are streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.