The Avengers: Age Of Ultron James Bond films have grossed just over $6 billion since they first appeared in 1962. That sounds very impressive, doesn't it? Until you compare it with the remarkable $8.92 billion grossed by the films under the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ banner - a figure that makes it the top-grossing franchise worldwide since the first release, ‘Iron Man,’ in 2008.

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Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ took $1.5 billion on its own to continue their astounding success, and the company is already responsible for three Marvel-character film franchises exceeding a $1 billion revenue; namely ‘Spider-Man’, ‘X-Men’, and ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’.

Hulk Vs Iron Man : Avengers
Marvel: Disney’s money machine

A subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios, which is in turn part of The Walt Disney Company, the Burbank California-based studio has this year released the twelfth film, ‘Ant Man’, of its ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ series. 

This meteoric rise shows no signs of abating, and it’s said there are some fourteen more films slated for release over the next four years up to mid-2019. They are in various stages of production with assorted big-name actors including Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr, and Scarlett Johansson contracted to appear in various titles. 

This is all good for Disney, and helps make it “the most attractive risk-reward proposition” for the next 6 to 12 months, according to Chris Beauchamp, a senior market analyst with shares trading company IG

Benefits of strong franchise and name characters

The benefits of a strong franchise in terms of popularity has already been demonstrated by Marvel with the three major successes as described above, but having more than one superhero to act as a film’s focus adds another dimension. 

Such well-known and beloved characters, like The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man, have always had legions of fans around them, and then there’s the timeless quality that ensures they endure through generations.

'The Avengers' is clearly the big hit of the franchise; two of the three films featuring this plot-line have taken well in excess of $1 billion worldwide as has one other, ‘Iron Man 3’, in 2013. 

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Huge production cycle

With different characters and ‘cycles’ all running alongside one another, it’s easy to see how multiple films can be released each year without any risk of over-exposure of a particular character or plot-line. This gives Marvel a tremendous advantage of course. You couldn’t really, for example, have three James Bond or three Jurassic Park-related films released in the same year, but there’s no problem with Marvel’s system. 

To illustrate what I mean by this: a Spider-Man film is scheduled for release in July 2017, then four months later in November a Thor movie hits the cinemas. Three months later it’s something different again -- a Black Panther film -- and then three months after that another ‘Avengers’ film will be released. It’s not just 2016 that Marvel fancies its chances of dominating, it’s well into the future too. 

Fresh releases regularly 

By being able to produce new ‘product’ on such a regular basis, it keeps the coffers flowing as movie goers flock to the cinemas. Marvel would appear to have the best of both worlds -- a popular franchise that keeps box office sales ticking over, but with a genuine blockbuster series emerging out of the sequence in the form of the ‘Avenger’ films that are hitting lofty financial heights. 

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Will Marvel dominate? 

With such a varied palette of options and the ability to release films regularly yet keep things fresh through cycling through their characters and plot-lines -- and with the establishment of huge blockbusters to their portfolio -- Marvel could be the dominant movie making force for Disney even with the return of the might light-sabre wileding Star Wars franchise. Ouch! May the force be with them!

This article was brought to you by Brighton’s very own, Louise Wood, who's an experienced journalist and blogger with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for writing. Bless her.

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