Box Office Origins: The Top 15 Superhero Movies Ranked On Box Office Earnings

Box Office earnings and Images via

Origins, everyone has them, even you, but who has the best? Today we look at the Top 15 highest grosser origin superhero movies.

With everything going on in the world right now, it is the perfect time to catch up on some of these films if you missed them in theaters, as a bonus I will list where you can legally watch these films.

Once you read this list, sound off in the comments section below and tell us about your favorite Superhero origin stories, which films you were surprised didn’t make the list, and which Superhero origins movie you’re most looking forward to coming out.


15.) Ant-Man (Disney+)

Ant-Man is a fun film with a lot of heart and just one of the many films that is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to make this list.

I remember when I first saw Ant-Man, the recap of events by Luis played by Michael Peña made me laugh, the insight into the world built by the MCU was expanded, with callbacks to a younger Hank Pym, played by an amazingly de-aged Michael Douglas, which brings me to the  casting. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang was brilliant and something Marvel seems to have down as most of the actors who portray these characters on screen go on to inform how the characters are then later drawn in the comics.

Everything came together on this film, which I was worried about at first since original Director Edgar Wright left the production, but replacement Director Peyton Reed ultimately gave viewers an Ant-Man origin that was better than expected. I also Enjoy the final fight in this film way too much.


14.) Iron Man (Disney+)

Iron Man, the one that started it all, would the Marvel Cinematic Universe be as successful as it is today without the success of this film? This is the film that gave the world Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Kevin Feige.

Without Kevin Feige’s leadership and overall vision I don’t think we would have the 23-film spanning Infinity Saga we have now or the MCU’s continued success. It was in 2005 when Marvel had planned to produce its own films based on properties, they still owned but it was Kevin Feige who wanted to create the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe after realizing that Marvel still owned the rights to most of the core Avengers characters. In 2008 we would see Iron Man on the big screen for the first time, as well as Samuel L. Jackson as Nick fury, and a hint of what was to come with that first post-credits scene. 49 seconds of extra footage has never gotten me more excited.

“I am Iron Man” You think you’re the only superhero in world? Mr. Stark you’ve just become part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet.”


13.) Man of Steel

Zack Snyder’s answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the return of Superman, if you don’t count Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns from 2006. I remember being really excited for this movie to the point that I stayed in line at a Wal Mart for an advance screening in 3D, 2013 was a weird time. But I ultimately really enjoyed this film, it’s not as chipper as the Christopher Reeve Superman films, and as long as you don’t go in expecting that I think you will really enjoy Zack Snyder’s take on the Superman Mythos.

From Casting Henry Cavill in the lead, to the great supporting cast everyone in this film brings their all, it might be blasphemy, but I actually prefer Russel Crowe’s interpretation of Jor-El to Marlon Brando’s. I also love how Zack Snyder reimagined Kryptonian technology and what it means to be Superman in modern times, a concept that Snyder explores more in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a movie that made my list a lot harder to write thanks to that film kind of being another Batman origin film.

His parents were shot again, we start the film from Bruce’s / Batman’s point of view of the events from Man of Steel, he’s the protagonist in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? It’s such a weird semi-sequel / origin film that I am not including it in my list due to this Batman having had a long established career of fighting crime by the time we meet him in this film.


12.) Doctor Strange (Disney+)

Doctor Strange worldwide collections

Remember earlier when I said one thing that Marvel has down is casting, well let me introduce another piece of evidence for that argument. Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play this role; my wife is a huge fan of Doctor Strange and to see her old Stan Lee and Steve Ditko comics, it looks like Stephen Vincent Strange leapt off the pages of the comics and onto the film screen.

This Movie has a lot of great visuals and I would highly recommend this movie on 4k as the reality bending imagery and encounter with Dormammu look amazing in High Definition. Though this movie does suffer a bit from Iron Man syndrome; rich guy gets hurt,  hero goes on journey of self-discovery, and mentor dies and or friend becomes enemy motions those films have gone through they are presented in a new enough way that makes Doctor Strange stand out from its peers, plus Mads Mikkelsen is a treat to see in anything.


11.) Suicide Squad (HBO Max)

Spoiler Alert Guardians of the Galaxy is also on this list so in order to be fair I will allow these two team ensemble movies to qualify as origin films, since the teams these characters make up are just as iconic as the heroes, or villains in this case, that make them up.

In this very divisive film, we are introduced to Harley Quinn, with Margot Robbie bringing the character to the screen for the first time, we are shown her transformation at the hands of Jared Leto’s Joker. You are also shown Enchantress’ origin, as well as those of the other inmates that make up Task Force X better known as the Suicide Squad.

As much as I do not like this movie there are things I do enjoy about it, and if the rumors are true and HBO Max does intend to release the film as the Director David Ayer intended I believe there will be a lot more to enjoy. As this film currently is, it is still worth watching once at least once to see Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Amanda Waller, Deadshot and many others brought to live action for the first time.


10.) The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man, another movie that is generally poorly received that I found some enjoyment in. I don’t think anything is ever going to change my opinion on the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, and I do know that is a tough act to follow, so I am pretty lenient when it comes to this film.

When it comes to things I like about The Amazing Spider-Man the immediate thing that comes to mind that I enjoyed leagues above the Rami trilogy was the romance between the two leads. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy were far more believable than Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst respectively, and that is coming from a Mary Jane Watson fan. Mechanical web shooters, a fun jokey Spider-Man, a streamlined Uncle Ben death all good things I remember liking from The Amazing Spider-Man.

It was everything else that I really didn’t enjoy unfortunately, and it seems like I’m not alone when it comes to not liking this version of the character, so much so that this series ended with its sequel.


9.) Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney+)

I’m hooked on a feeling, I’m high on believing, that this one of my favorite MCU entries. If you sang that you have to let me know in the comments bellow, seriously I know so many people that bought Awesome Mix Vol. 1 on cd or Vinyl once they saw this movie. It is such a good soundtrack.

I think that is in itself a testament to the film created by James Gunn, this is his vision of the Guardians and something that could only come from his mind.

The soundtrack is great and like another one of my favorite Marvel films mentioned earlier on this list the soundtrack is accompanied by gorgeous visuals. The visuals in the Guardians films are honestly a highlight for this franchise as they are much more striking than the grey earthly tones, we see in the something like Captain America: Winter Soldier, no offense to that film as it is also another one of my favorite MCU films.

Guardians combines an engrossing plot, great characters, an amazing soundtrack and fantastic visuals to create one of the best MCU movies I’ve seen, and I can’t wait for James Gunn to come back and finish his Guardians trilogy with Vol.3.


8.) Deadpool

Now this is how you make an entrance, Deadpool stuck his superhero landing for sure. After a tumultuous start the Deadpool movie finally got made and Ryan Reynolds got to play the second role he was born to play. The first role is obviously Van Wilder from the film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, if you find Deadpool funny and haven’t seen this movie you’ll enjoy it.

Back to Deadpool though, it is amazing I can’t recommend it enough, after the abomination that was Deadpool featured in X-Men Origins: Wolverine it was amazing to see the character fans have loved for years be brought to the screen properly.

It is the R rated superhero movie that helped pave the way for Logan, Joker and the upcoming reboot of Spawn and for that I will always be happy that this film got the success it deserved.

Also, can we talk about how good the Deadpool marketing team is, bravo Deadpool marketing team, bravo.


7.) Spider-Man

If you would have told 12-year-old me I would be writing about a movie I loved when I was a kid, I don’t think I would’ve believed you. This film came out in 2002 and is commonly thought of as the beginning of the modern superhero film boom and what a start it was. This is Sam Rami’s best directorial effort since the Evil Dead films, that Bruce Campbell cameo; say what you want about the Stan Lee cameos but when it came to Rami’s Spider-Man films it was always Bruce I couldn’t wait to see show up.

This was Marvel’s first huge Superhero franchise and it was all thanks to Spider-Man a character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, a character that has had two reboots since his original film trilogy and continues to draw in new fans every time.

I love Spider-Man and watch the Rami trilogy about once a year, yes, I even watch the third film in its entirety which pains me as fan of the character Venom, but that particular character will get its redemption later on in our list.


6.) Wonder Woman (HBO Max)

Gal Gadot is stunning in this role, though making an appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice this solo film takes us to Themyscira and shows us how a young Diana grows into the woman that will go onto become Wonder Woman. DC fans breathed a sigh of relief as the those who watched the film enjoyed it after the lukewarm reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, this was the first glimmer of hope that there was some good to come from the DC Extended Universe or DCEU.

Setting the film during World War 1 was refreshing as many thought it would be set during World War 2 initially and retread ground already covered by the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Thankfully we were treated to a character driven war story that did not glorify war, as well as character that was not afraid to show compassion as well as naivete. I loved Wonder Woman’s thought process that if she could stop Ares there would be no more war, I truly wish that were the case in real life.

This film is great and lead the way for another female lead superhero franchise to rise even higher.


5.) Venom

Look, I’m just as surprised as you, I loved this movie, as I am both a huge fan of Tom Hardy and the character of Venom so once this was announced I was already going to buy a ticket and it looks like I wasn’t the only one since this film cracked our top five.

This was a really fun and action-packed movie, directed by Ruben Fleischer of Zombieland fame and it laid the groundwork for a Spider-Man less Spider-Man universe of characters Sony has the rights to use. Don’t worry it gets much more complicated by what Sony calls this universe, the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters or SPUMC for short, but this universe might soon be joining the MCU proper if we are to believe the trailers of another SPUMC film Morbius that is. In the trailer we see Morbius talking with the villain of our fourth entry on this list.


4.) Spider-Man: Homecoming

The third Spider-Man origin film on this list, I’m starting to think people like this spider fellow. In all seriousness though I am shocked every iteration of Spider-Man that has graced the big screen has made it into the top 10 as of now that could always change but it just goes to show how endearing Spider-Man is as a character.

I will say Tom Holland has definitely grown on me as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, and after making his brief appearance in Captain America: Civil War I like many others were eager to see more of this interpretation of character.

Though this version of the Spider-Man forgoes some of the clichés normally associated with  the character it is refreshing, we don’t get the traditional Uncle Ben “Great Power” speech but a mentor in Tony Stark, and we get to see the growing pains of a new superhero and the struggle that comes with trying to live up to someone else’s standards. We also get a fun John Hughes coming of age style story as well as another one of the great MCU villains in Michael Keaton’s Vulture.

This film also had the added benefit of being the first Spider-Man film to be part of the MCU at a time where the MCU fanbase was rabid for any new content that moved the overarching narrative forward. Spider-Man: Homecoming released between two other MCU heavy hitters Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok.


3.) Captain Marvel (Disney+)

Speaking of films that benefitted from the success of the MCU I find it fitting we are talking about Captain Marvel this high on our list. Released after Avengers: Infinity War’s shocking cliffhanger ending and the sequel to Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel fans were excited for any insight into what was to come in the at the time unnamed Avengers Infinity War sequel.

People wanted to see this character in action, we had been told this character was going to be the key to defeating Thanos, and we were excited, then when the movie came out it was just okay.

Brie Larson did a great job bringing Captain Marvel to life and I would love to see what they do with a sequel but the inclusion of Captain Marvel into Avengers: Endgame felt rushed especially seeing as this character has been around in-universe since the 1990’s, I was expecting a lot from Captain Marvel since the moment Nick Fury dropped his space pager, I know this movie had a lot to live up to and if you judge it on its own merits it is a good origin movie.


2.) Aquaman (HBO Max)

At the number two spot we have another DCEU entry with Aquaman, I am once again as surprised as you are reader. After being the butt of jokes for so many years Jason Mamoa brings Arthur Curry / Aquaman to life in this visual spectacular of an origin story.

Though Aquaman made a cameo appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and fought alongside our other heroes against Steppenwolf in Justice League it wasn’t until after these team movies that Jason Mamoa finally got to star in his own solo movie, much like Wonder Woman before it this film became a huge success for the DCEU and has the honor of taking the number two spot on our list.

I am interested to see how Aquaman’s journey continues as we are going to see more of this character thanks to HBO Max releasing Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League.

In that cut of the film is apparently where Nuidis Vulko played by William Dafoe was originally supposed to make his first appearance, which if left in the film would have helped introduce this important character before making his appearance in Aquaman.

James Wan hit it out of the park with his first film, so I am looking forward to his Aquaman spinoff film The Trench, and Aquaman 2.

Before we get to our number one origin film ranked on box office earnings I would like to take a moment and give some appreciation to 3 computer animated Superhero films. Two of these films would have broken into the Top 15 if not for them being computer animated.


Honorable (Animated) Mentions:


Big Hero 6 (Disney+)

A Disney reimagining of a Marvel Comic Big Hero 6 is an amazing origin story with a lot of heart and amazing visuals, I enjoyed this one a lot when I saw it in theaters and the film even spawned a cartoon series after its release.


The Incredibles (Disney+)

When thinking of computer animated films Pixar is still king though and despite Disney’s best attempt with Big Hero 6 this is the movie that put Pixar in the same Superhero conversations as Marvel and DC. This is an original animated feature created by Pixar that barrows heavily from comic tropes but creates a uniquely original Superhero family origin story.

In my opinion this is the closest we have gotten to a truly great Fantastic Four film.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Netflix)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of my all-time favorite Superhero origin films and I am actually a little saddened it didn’t make the Top 15. Sony Pictures Animation absolutely amazed with their freshman outing with Miles Morales, I think that is in part due to Philip Lord and Christopher Miller as they showed the world how awesome Miles as Spider-Man can be.

I can’t wait for Into the Spider-Verse 2, or Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5 now thanks to this character finally getting the spotlight he deserves.

Now it is time to reveal the number one entry on our list.


1.) Black Panther (Disney+)

Black Panther worldwide collections

Black Panther is now the gold standard when creating a Superhero origin film. Marvel Studios did a great job in promoting this film, but it stands on its own thanks to an amazing cast. Since seeing T’Challa / Black Panther in the Civil War I was excited to see what Marvel was going to do with that character in their own movie and I was not disappointed.

Chadwick Boseman once again gives a great performance and that is highlighted by the ensemble cast, but Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger steals the show and gives us another example of a good Marvel villain, and like all good villains he is the hero of his own story.

Director Ryan Coogler did an amazing job bringing this character to the big screen and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the character, I was as shocked as everyone else when I saw Black Panther disappear in Thanos’ snap in Infinity War, but the second he reappeared leading an army to face Thanos and his troops in Endgame I remember it as one of the greatest moments in a film full of great moments.


That’s it you made it to number one, were you surprised at the number one spot, did you learn anything new? Comment in our comments section or like and share this article and see what else we have in store over at

Written by Steven Craighead

90's Nerd who enjoys Comics, Cartoons, Video Games, Anime and Movies.
Staff Writer for Fandom Wire, Army Veteran, Happy Husband and Dog Dad.

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