Next week, Marvel will release Black Widow, a superhero film that will be the 24th in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man debuted in 2008.
Star Wars and James Bond were nearly tied as the highest-grossing film series at the box office in 2007 (US inflation adjusted). It would have been difficult to envision a series that began in 2008 and went on to outperform them both - yet that is exactly what occurred with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The image above, courtesy of The Numbers, illustrates how Disney's $4.2 billion acquisition of Marvel has paid off handsomely since 2009. For much of the last decade, the house of mouse has cranked out Marvel movies like clockwork, at a rate of approximately two per year, raking in nearly $10 billion at the US box office and more than $20 billion worldwide.
In addition to revitalizing the superhero genre, the Marvel world has become the poster child for the "sequelitis" trend. That is the notion behind the rising popularity of sequels (or prequels), remakes, and spin-offs in Hollywood and the film industry in general.
Obtaining actual statistics on "sequelitis" is very dependent on how you classify a sequel or remake. For example, the 2019 film Joker may easily be considered a stand-alone film or as part of the Batman franchise (which it is in the chart above).
One simple test is to look at the top ten movies of each year. Using 2019 as an example (the final "regular year" for film) is useful. Every single film in the top ten is either a direct sequel (Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2), a remake (Aladdin, Lion King), or a spin-off (Aladdin, Lion King) (Joker).
Source: The Numbers, chartr