Marvel spent over $1 billion on Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame

After an unplanned hiatus in 2020, the second year of Marvel’s MCU Phase 4 adventures…

After an unplanned hiatus in 2020, the second year of Marvel’s MCU Phase 4 adventures has finally begun. There are now a number of Marvel movies in theaters and new TV shows premiering on Disney Plus on a regular basis. Marvel is likely planning big crossovers in the near future as well. Several Avengers will surely have to work together again against a Thanos-level threat. But we have yet to see an Avengers 5 announcement from Marvel.

While we’re getting conflicting messages from Kevin Feige regarding this particular movie franchise, there’s one more reason why Marvel doesn’t want to hurry the next epic Avengers story. Avengers movies tend to have a larger budget than other MCU projects. Infinity War and Endgame might have cost Marvel more than $1 billion to make, according to new revelations from one of the films’ co-directors.

There have been four Avengers movies so far: The Avengers (2012), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Marvel’s initial cadence was to release a new Avengers movie every three years. But then the Infinity WarEndgame combo dropped back to back.

That’s because the last Avengers movies brought an end to the Infinity Saga, setting the stage for the Phase 4 reset.

Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) wearing the new Captain America suit revealed in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale. Image source: Marvel Studios

Is the Avengers series over?

Marvel will use this phase to replace some of the dead or retired heroes with new faces. The new heroes might one day join various Avengers teams. Phase 4 will also let the audience discover brand new villains, including massive Thanos-grade threats that might require multiple team-ups.

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Unlike the previous phases, the Avengers isn’t the only team Marvel is developing. The studio might offer us variations of the group, including the Young Avengers and the West Coast Avengers. Then we have the Thunderbolts, Eternals, Illuminati, Midnight Sons, Fantastic Four, and the X-Men to consider.

The seeds for all these crossovers are already being planted. And that is another reason why Marvel isn’t in a hurry to announce an Avengers 5 sequel.

Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl Trailer
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the Super Bowl trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

But there’s no denying that any MCU movie with “Avengers” in the title will do wonders at the box office. The Avengers made nearly $1.52 billion in theaters, while Age of Ultron topped $1.4 billion. Infinity War was the first to reach the next milestone, topping $2.04 billion.

Then Endgame shattered all records with nearly $2.8 billion in ticket sales. That’s almost $8 billion in theater revenue from only four MCU movies. Avengers 5 would absolutely kill at the box office. That’s something Marvel and Disney must be very well aware of.

Still, Kevin Feige isn’t ready to announce the next Avengers movies. Recent comments the top Marvel exec made seemed to imply that Marvel is done with the Avengers franchise. Here’s what he said during the Marvel Studios Assembled episode dedicated to Eternals:

Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now past their tenth anniversary and with the release of the final Avengers movie, we’ve finally completed a 22-movie Infinity Saga.

This seemed to contradict a previous remark from Feige from last year. He said in a different interview that a big crossover like Avengers 5 is already in the works, but it will need more time:

I think we want there to be a reasonable amount of time from the Endgame to start a new saga, which is already underway and already started. And then you need time, as you did in Phase 1, to build that saga before you start bringing everyone together.

However, there might be another reason why Marvel and Disney aren’t in a hurry to start working on a new Avengers movie. They’re very expensive to make. Joe Russo just revealed that Infinity War and Endgame cost Marvel more than $1 billion. The figure is well above the budget rumors that preceded Infinity War. Those reports said Marvel was spending around $400 million on the two movies.

Spider-Man: No Way Home still image
Spider-Man: No Way Home still image: First Spiderverse movie Image source: Sony

Avengers movies are expensive to make

Here’s what Russo said during a panel at the Sands International Film Festival of St. Andrews:

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. And you have responsibility, if you have a conscience to in some way deliver a return on that investment for the people that gave you that money. So it is risky to say ‘Hey we got a crazy idea, here’s how we can subvert expectations but we’re going to take your two most popular characters and we’re going to have them try to kill each other.’

Let’s also remember that it was a lot easier making movies before the pandemic. We’re still not out of the woods when it comes to the health crisis. New infection waves might hinder future production. With a continuously expanding roster of Avengers heroes, making another massive crossover would be even more challenging when you factor in the health crisis.

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Any new Marvel movie with “Avengers” in the title will likely cost Marvel hundreds of millions. The theatrical success seems guaranteed. But Marvel and Disney will probably want these movies to bring in the kind of money that Infinity War and Endgame made in theaters.

To hit those figures, Marvel might want to wait a while longer. After all, of the Phase 4 movies released so far, only Spider-Man: No Way Home reached Avengers territory, with $1.8 billion.


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