For well over 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise that has simply refused to let the superhero era come to a natural end, has dominated the global box office. Last year, just as movie theaters were getting back on their feet after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) caught $1.9 billion in its enormous web.
But while this year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) remains the highest-grossing movie of 2022, having conjured up over $942 million worldwide, it seems that the MCU is now under threat from other major blockbuster franchises that are currently set to de-throne the Doctor Strange sequel — which is just a matter of time.
Top Gun: Maverick (2022) has soared to second place, where it threatens to knock the MCU film off the top spot, having grossed over $885 million, while The Batman (2022) is currently the third most successful film of 2022, with over $770 million under its utility belt. Meanwhile, Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) has defied critics by eating $623 million and now sits at fifth place.
Should Jurassic World: Dominion claw its way to the top, it wouldn’t be the first time a Jurassic World movie has beaten an MCU movie at the box office. Back in 2015, Jurassic World (2015) devoured $1.6 billion worldwide, while Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) took in over $1.4 billion at the global box office, placing it two places behind Jurassic World.
In 2018, however, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), which was the third highest-grossing film of that year, lost to Black Panther (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), which stormed to the top. Nevertheless, it’s looking very possible that Jurassic World: Dominion will make it to the top, or perhaps Top Gun: Maverick will win the race.
Either way, it looks like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is on borrowed time. In fact, can the same can be said about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole? While the franchise has enjoyed an incredible amount of success since its inception in 2008 with Iron Man (2008), perhaps its now in its very own “endgame” phase.
Elsewhere in the MCU, Disney+ show Ms. Marvel (2022) fails to wow audiences, while the ratings speak for themselves, with its premiership being the lowest of any MCU show to date. Ms. Marvel stars Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, a Captain Marvel super-fan (emphasis on the “super”), and is the sixth live-action MCU show to have premiered on Disney+.
But it doesn’t all rest on Doctor Strange‘s shoulders, or on Kamala Khan’s, for that matter, as the highly-anticipated Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), which is directed by Taika Waititi, is set for release on July 7, 2022, which sees Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the God of Thunder, this time alongside Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor/Jane Foster.
While its predecessor Thor: Ragnarok (2017) was only the ninth highest-grossing film of 2017, it was surpassed by fellow MCU movies Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), although both were beaten by Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi (2017) and the Disney live-action reboot Beauty and the Beast (2017).
However, later this year, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) will arrive in theaters (November 11), so not all hope is lost for the MCU. With that said, the long-awaited Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), which releases on December 16, 2022, could wipe the floor with every film we’ve talked about, whether it’s MCU, Jurassic World: Dominion, or Top Gun: Maverick.
And whether or not this could be the beginning of the end of the MCU era in terms of dominating movie theaters, there are still a lot of projects in the pipeline, from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) and beyond. For now, though, it looks like Tom Cruise and genetically-engineered dinosaurs are having their day.
Do you think the MCU’s long-running success will soon come to an end? Let us know in the comments down below!