10 Highest-Grossing Films Based On Steve Ditko Characters

Steve Ditko rarely granted interviews and retained the reputation of a reclusive creator all the way until his death in June 2018. However, he was a talented comics artist who created Doctor Strange and co-created Marvel’s most impactful hero, Spider-Man, with Stan Lee.

Related: 9 Times Spider-Man Teamed Up with Doctor Strange

With Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s astounding success and Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness set to feature inter-universal adventures seemingly ripped straight from Ditko’s run on the character in the ’60s, it’s time to take a look back at how his characters’ films have fared at the box office. (Note: numbers do not account for inflation.)

10 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – $375,540,831

Miles Morales wall crawls in Into The Spider-Verse

Although any film with “Spider-Man” in the title was bound to garner audience interest, there was much less of it for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse than any other cinematic run of the character. However, as soon as the film released, it garnered massive critical acclaim and eventually won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

There are several reasons behind audiences’ love for the characters, including how likable Into the Spider-Verse‘s characters are, the film’s heartwarming story, and the groundbreaking animation employed to bring the world to life. Even if Brian Michael Bendis created Miles Morales, there would be no Spider-Verse without Ditko’s original contributions.

9 Doctor Strange (2016) – $677,796,076

Doctor Strange 2016 Movie

It seems strange (pun intended) that there was a time Marvel’s Dr. Strange was a low-tier character, because Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in 2016’s Doctor Strange, along with his integral roles in Avengers: Infinity War and Spider-Man: No Way Home, have made the character a household name.

When Ditko first created the character, his stories found a home among college readers, and those tales opened up other dimensions in ways comics had never seen before. Although this film didn’t pass $700 million, its sequel is practically guaranteed to surpass this number.


8 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – $708,982,323

Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider Man 2 phone

Despite The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being one of IMDb’s lowest-ranked Spider-Man movies, and Sony deciding to reboot Spider-Man once again, this time within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Andrew Garfield-led sequel still managed to pull in impressive numbers at the box office.

Although Sony abandoned their plans for the franchise, Garfield would of course return in No Way Home, and Sony would create their own Spider-Man-based cinematic universe starting with 2018’s Venom. While the fate of this universe is still up in the air, it would be nice to see a conclusion of some sort.

7 The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – $757,930,663

Spider-Man in The Amazing Psier-Man (2012)

When Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 plans fell through, Sony rebooted the character with Andrew Garfield, taking inspiration from the original and the Ultimate comics, as well as contemporary culture with this new take on the iconic web-swinger.

Related: 10 Major Things That Would Need To Be In A Potential Amazing Spider-Man 3, According To Reddit

Although it didn’t hit the gross of any of Sam Raimi’s films, The Amazing Spider-Man did make enough for the studio to decide to greenlight a sequel, as well as look into creating its own expanded universe after the astronomical success of that year’s Avengers film.

6 Spider-Man 2 (2004) – $788,976,453

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2

Speaking of Sam Raimi, despite Spider-Man 2 generally being viewed as the best film in his trilogy, it actually performed the lowest at the box office of all three, although coming in at only $36 million less than the first film.

Featuring the classic Ditko villain Doc Ock in an origin story of his own, Spider-Man 2‘s Doctor Octopus differs from his comic counterpart by being a mentor figure to Peter. In the original comics, Doc Ock was already a villain with no previous relationship to the webslinger. This relationship, combined with Alfred Molina’s performance, is what made his return in No Way Home so satisfying.

5 Spider-Man (2002) – $825,025,036

Peter Parker climbs on the side of a building in Spider-Man (2002)

It isn’t as if Spider-Man weren’t a cultural figure before the release of Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man in 2002, but that film’s astronomical debut launched the comic-book hero into the stratosphere of pop culture, creating a template that would inform all subsequent Spider-Man movies.

Related: 10 Things Sam Raimi Brought To Spider-Man That He Could Bring To Doctor Strange

Taking a page from Spider-Man’s debut in Amazing Fantasy #15, Cliff Robertson delivers the “With great power…” speech in a way that would make the phrase iconic worldwide. Without Lee and Ditko, this scene couldn’t exist, and Spider-Man‘s success was due in no small part to their work.

4 Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – $880,166,924

An image of Spider-Man standing on a train in Spider-Man: Homecoming

After debuting as a side character in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland’s first star outing as the character breathed fresh air into the character and showed how being in the continuity-heavy Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t detract from delivering a smaller-scale, impactful story.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – named no doubt in part because Spider-Man would be coming “home” to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and because the film takes place around a homecoming dance – was the final Spider-Man film to release in Steve Ditko’s lifetime, and showed how his 1960s creation could still speak to film audiences around the world.

3 Spider-Man 3 (2007) – $894,983,373

spider-man-3 poster venom reflection

Considering the critical slamming Spider-Man 3 received from fans and critics alike, it’s amazing to think that it held the record as the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie for 12 years, but after two well-received, high-grossing films, audiences were beyond excited for the third installment.

However, there are scenes in Spider-Man 3 that have gotten better over time, with the one that sticks out most for fans being the scene in the bell-tower where Spider-Man uses Venom’s vulnerability to sound to get rid of the symbiote. It takes direct inspiration from Eddie Brock / Venom’s tortured origin from the comics, and does the source material proud.

2 Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – $1,131,927,996

Nick Fury, Peter Parker and Mysterio from Spider-Man: Far From Home

Riding in part off of the success of the then-highest-grossing film of all time, Avengers: Endgame, this Homecoming sequel was the first MCU movie to deal with the fallout of Thanos’ actions, while it also delved deeply into the legacy of Iron Man. It also become the first Spider-Man film to pass the billion-dollar mark.

Although having a villain be tied to Tony Stark once again made Far From Home a bit repetitive compared to Homecoming, Mysterio’s final act of revealing Spider-Man’s identity, and J.K. Simmons’ return as perennial Spider-Man rival J. Jonah Jameson, help it not only stand out, but also set up an incredible sequel.

1 Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – $1,852,418,859

Somehow, Spider-Man: No Way Home manages to juggle multiple universes, 5 villains, and the involvement of Steve Ditko’s other creation, Doctor Strange—and with all those pieces deliver an incredible cinematic experience. No Way Home is now, unadjusted for inflation, the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time.

In typical MCU fashion, the film also set up part of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and that, plus Doctor Strange’s central role in No Way Home, is fitting. Two of Steve Ditko’s most popular heroes not only shared the screen (with one having three versions!), but made an unforgettable cultural impact, as well.

NEXT: The 10 Best Marvel Movies Ever (According To Metacritic)

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