Hollywood had never seen anything like it: an interconnected movie franchise that absolutely dominates the box-office landscape.

Yet when you drill down and study the numbers, you can further appreciate just what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has accomplished across the past 11 years — having launched with 2008’s “Iron Man” and now bringing everyone together in the new “Avengers: Endgame.”

By the time “Endgame” ends its theatrical run, the total global gross for the MCU’s 22 films will surely top $20 billion. Each of the past 21 films has opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office.

Its actors have become global superstars. Its special effects have pushed the technical envelope. And its trailers have been some of the most-viewed teasers of all time, swarming social media.

As “Endgame” opens — picking up where the “Avengers: Infinity War” cliffhanger left off last year — here is a tale of the MCU tape, by the numbers.


  • Actor who has played Spider-Man in the universe: Tom Holland. The earlier Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are not part of the MCU.
  • Movie that topped $700 million at the domestic box office, not adjusting for inflation: last year’s zeitgeist-seizing “Black Panther,” which stars Chadwick Boseman as the title character.
  • Major superhero actor from this universe who is also credited as a screenwriter on an MCU film: Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man and was a writer on “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”


  • Actors who play major roles who have made more than 90 percent of their career film gross from MCU movies: Holland and Boseman.
  • Actors who have played War Machine/James Rhodes: Terrence Howard (in “Iron Man”) and Don Cheadle (who took over the role).
  • Actors who have played the Hulk in this universe (Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton). Akin to Maguire and Garfield’s Spider-Man, Eric Bana’s earlier “Hulk” is not part of the MCU.
  • People who have received prominent technical credits on all 22 movies: Stan Lee, the legendary Marvel Comics editor who co-created many of the Avengers and has had a cameo in each film, and Kevin Feige, the visionary president of Marvel Studios.
  • Captain America sidekicks. When the smoke clears from the “Endgame” madness, both the Winter Soldier/Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) will star in their own self-titled series on Disney+, Disney’s highly anticipated streaming service.
  • Actors who once played the Human Torch: Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan, who both starred as the Fantastic Four’s top hothead before finding MCU stardom as Captain America and “Black Panther’s” Killmonger, respectively.


  • Actors who have played Iron Man’s father, Howard Stark: Gerard Sanders, John Slattery and Dominic Cooper.
  • Oscars won. All three went to “Black Panther,” which took home trophies this year for original score, costume design and production design.


  • Films that Paramount distributed in this universe. Disney Studios began distributing the movies with 2012’s “Marvel’s The Avengers.”
  • Movies directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, including “Endgame.”
  • Films among the 10 highest-grossing movies ever, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, and not adjusting for inflation: “Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther” all made the cut (with “Infinity War” ranking the highest, at No. 4.)


  • Movies written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, including “Endgame.”
  • End-credits scenes that screened after “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2.”


  • Infinity Stones, which Thanos — a.k.a. the villainous Mad Titan with a certainty of higher purpose in the Russos’ “Avengers” movies — must possess to wipe out half of all living creatures.


  • Height of arguably the tallest major MCU actor, Winston Duke, who plays M’Baku in “Black Panther” and “Infinity War.” Dave Bautista (Drax in the “Guardians” films) and Paul Bettany (Vision in the “Avengers” movies) are said to be about 6-foot-3.
Marvel fans have waited 11 years and 22 films for "Avengers: Endgame." Where does it rank among the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies? (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)


  • Movies that have grossed more than $1 billion, including this year’s “Captain Marvel.”


  • Notable performers who have appeared in at least seven movies: Lee, Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Evans, Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Bettany and Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts).


  • Films that have credited legendary Marvel Comics creator Jack Kirby.


  • Years between the first movie, “Iron Man,” and “Endgame,” which was widely believed to conclude Phase 3 of the universe, although Feige threw everyone for a loop this month when he said July’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” would complete the phase instead.


  • Movies that have played on at least 4,000 domestic screens. Only one film — 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” — did not play on at least 3,700 screens.


  • Notable Oscar-winning actors who have appeared in the universe’s movies. They include Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Paltrow, Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Cate Blanchett (Hela) and Benicio Del Toro (the Collector). Actors Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper, of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” story line, have been nominated for seven Oscars each.
With the addition of Captain Marvel, the remaining heroes seek to avenge their friends snapped away by Thanos wielding the infinity gauntlet. (Walt Disney Pictures)


  • Films that have opened at No. 1, before “Endgame,” which should continue Marvel Studios’ perfect streak.


  • Movies in the MCU, including “Endgame.”
  • Appearances by Lee

$237 million

  • The total domestic video sales of “The Avengers” — No. 1 among all MCU movies.


  • Possible outcomes Doctor Strange saw in “Infinity War” as the Avengers on planet Titan tried to formulate a plan to defeat Thanos. In only one of them, he said, did the Avengers win.

$2 billion

  • Biggest global gross from a single movie, not adjusting for inflation: “Infinity War,” last year’s team-up smash that set up the events in “Endgame.”

$18.6 billion

  • Global gross of all the films, before “Endgame.”