Marvel’s movie footprint is comically massive

Stan Lee is laughing all the way to the bank.
Stan Lee is laughing all the way to the bank.
Image: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
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Is it starting to seem like Marvel is everywhere? Marvel Comics has a massive library of more than 7,000 characters—maybe more than 50,000 if you count one-off and ancillary superheroes, villains, and other mutants—and it seems keen to feature as many of them as possible on the big screen.

There are six live-action films slated for this year, and seven in 2019, from three different studios—Disney’s Marvel Studios, Sony, and 20th Century Fox. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers: Infinity War, which will debut in May, may feature more than 70 characters. Marvel Studios is also looking beyond the Avengers in movies like Black Panther, which hits theaters this week. Sony, meanwhile, is delving deeper into the Spider-Man universe with its first Venom film, and Fox has franchises based on characters like Deadpool and Jean Grey.

Last year, live-action features based on Marvel Comics characters comprised roughly 12% of returns for all movies released in the US and Canada, based on an analysis of Box Office Mojo data by Quartz. That’s not including animated features like the Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, or movies tied to Marvel imprints like the Kingsman franchise. And there’s also numerous Marvel series on TV and streaming video services.

To get an idea for how much Marvel is poised to monopolize the movies, Quartz’s data scientists collected data on the rise of Marvel-based movies since 2000, and using finely tuned statistical models, gamma rays, and psionic powers they projected the group’s annual theatrical footprint over the next 20 years.

Based on current trends, our forecast suggests that there will be one Marvel movie hitting theaters every month in 2023, and one per week in the year 2036. There are only so many X-Men reboots that audiences can take. So what might future Marvel titles include?