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Top 10 Most Expensive Superhero Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

They make a lot of money, but they also don’t come cheap. From The Avengers to The Dark Knight Rises, WatchMojo is counting down the superhero movies with the highest budgets of all time.

Special thanks to our user jhwoe6 for suggesting this idea! https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%20ten%20most%20expensive%20superhero%20movie

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Top 10 Most Expensive Superhero Movies


They make a lot of money, but they also don’t come cheap. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Expensive Superhero Movies.



For this list, we’ll be looking at ten of the most expensive superhero movies of all time. We won’t be accounting for inflation, so we’ll be ranking these movies based solely on their budgets at the time of filming.





#10: “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006)




“X-Men: The Last Stand” was quite the production. While most of it was filmed at Vancouver Film Studios, it also shot on location at Royal Roads University and Hatley Park. It was also a hectic and labor-intensive schedule, as director Brett Ratner was forced to send newly-filmed scenes to the editors so they could immediately begin work on the editing and visual effects, which were created in four countries by eleven different companies. When all was said and done, the movie was made for $210 million, making it the most expensive movie ever made at the time.





#9: “The Avengers” (2012)




Believe it or not, “The Avengers” is not one of the most expensive superhero movies ever made. Hell, it’s barely even in the top ten. “The Avengers” was obviously a huge production – not only did Marvel need to get all these A-list celebrities together, but they needed to create the most magnificent and elaborate action scenes ever seen. In fact, the film contains over 2,000 visual effects created by fourteen companies, including a complete digital recreation of New York City. As you can imagine, this didn’t come cheap, and the total budget reached $220 million. But no matter. They made that back within just twelve days.





#8: “Man of Steel” (2013)




“Man of Steel” served as a reboot of the Superman story and was set to kickstart the entire DCEU. As such, DC invested a lot of money in it. In fact, they put more money into it than Marvel did “The Avengers.” Granted, it was only $5 million more (for a total budget of $225 million) but still! It’s incredible to think that a single Superman movie cost more than “The Avengers.” That said, it didn’t do nearly as well. It received a lukewarm reception from fans and critics and earned just $668 million at the box office, compared to “The Avengers’” $1.5 billion.





#7: “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)




“The Dark Knight Rises” was one of the most anticipated movies of 2012, and Warner Bros. certainly didn’t want to disappoint their fans. As such, they put anywhere between $250 and $300 million into the movie. That said, the total came to $230 million after tax credits, barely edging out “Man of Steel.” Some of the more expensive things included dozens of 110-piece Batsuits, the Bat vehicle (which they had to make fly), and massive indoor sets like the 120-foot tall stone cell. Being Batman is not cheap, as Bruce Wayne could probably tell you.





#6: “Captain America: Civil War” (2016)




“Civil War” was a bigger “Avengers” movie than “The Avengers.” Like “The Avengers,” “Civil War” cast many of the biggest names in Hollywood, and these actors certainly don’t come cheap. They also filmed in many locations around the world, including the United States, Germany, Puerto Rico, and Norway. The airport sequence also employed fancy (and expensive) IMAX digital 2D cameras attached to drones, a dolly, and a telescopic crane. The entire production ended up costing Marvel $250 million. Deadline Hollywood later reported that Marvel earned nearly $200 million in profit after the movie grossed $1.1 billion at the global box office.





#5: “Spider-Man 3” (2007)




Say what you will about “Spider-Man 3,” but there’s no denying that it was an ambitious film. Some may say a little too ambitious. The cast was packed to the gills with big name actors, and the movie was chock-full of amazing special effects, including those for Venom and Sandman. Up to 200 programmers worked on the movie’s 900 visual effects, and they even created specific computer programs solely for the film. The movie ended up costing $258 million to produce, making it the most expensive movie ever made at the time. For those curious, that would be about $310 million in 2018.





#4: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)




You’d better believe that they would pump a ton of money into a Batman and Superman showdown. Aside from the numerous visual effects shots and actors, the movie was filmed around the United States, including Detroit, Chicago, Michigan State University, and New Mexico, which would certainly contribute to the bill. The movie ended up costing a massive $300 million to produce, although it was cut down to $263 million after tax incentives. The movie then needed to earn a massive $800 million simply to break even. Luckily, it ended up grossing $873 million, but while it was profitable for DC, it was considered a disappointment.





#3: “Justice League” (2017)




“Justice League” was poised to be DC’s big tentpole movie, and it came with a suitable, hefty price tag of $300 million. This included the massive cast, visual effects, filming locations like London, Scotland, and Iceland, $25 million worth of reshoots, and untold amounts of money spent digitally removing Henry Cavill’s moustache. Unfortunately, the movie scrounged up only $657 million, well below the break-even point of $750 million. This made “Justice League” not only a box office bomb, but the lowest-grossing entry in the DCEU.





#2: “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)




Talk about an event movie. But believe it or not, “Infinity War” is not the most expensive superhero movie ever made. No exact budget has been released for the movie, although estimates place it between $316 and $400 million, with the former being much more likely, according to Deadline Hollywood. It is absolutely absurd to think of a movie costing $316 million, but when you account for the numerous visual effects, filming locations, and cast members, it’s easy to see how the costs would keep piling up. But no matter; The film broke even after just two weeks and has since passed the $2 billion mark. We’d consider it money well spent.





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.



“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014)

$200-293 million





“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)

$205 million





“Superman Returns” (2006)

$223 million gross, $204 million net





#1: “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)




While the budget for “Infinity War” is hard to pin down, “Age of Ultron’s” is definitive, and it is high. “Infinity War’s” budget is estimated to be as low as $316 million, whereas “Age of Ultron” cost a whopping $444 million before taxes. Its net budget of $365 million makes “Age of Ultron” the second most expensive movie ever made, behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which cost $378 million after taxes. We can only imagine what the climactic Sokovia battle cost to create. Probably more than you’ll make in your entire life. What can we say? Movies are expensive.

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