As the Marvel Phase Two adventure Guardians of the Galaxy continues to thrill audiences around the world, the movie has helped the Marvel Cinematic Universe reach an incredible box office milestone, passing $7 billion worldwide on Wednesday.
Guardians of the Galaxy's current worldwide take of $618.4 million has pushed the MCU's global haul to $7.004 billion, although it still has some work to do before it becomes the biggest worldwide franchise of all time. Warner Bros.' Harry Potter franchise has earned just over $7.7 billion globally, although that tally will grow once the spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters in November 2016. The MCU already holds the domestic franchise record with $2.92 billion, surpassing Harry Potter's $2.39 billion mark in April.
Still, Marvel should have no trouble surpassing this worldwide franchise mark, most likely after Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters next summer, which will make it the first franchise to cross $8 billion. 2012's Marvel's The Avengers took in $1.5 billion worldwide during its box office run, a figure which the sequel will surely replicate or surpass. The James Bond franchise currently sits in third place with $6.2 billion worldwide, which will increase after Bond 24 hits theaters next year, but likely won't bring it anywhere near the MCU.
After Avengers: Age of Ultron closes out Marvel Phase Two next May, Marvel Phase Three starts just a few months later with Ant-Man, followed by Captain America 3 (May 6, 2016) and Doctor Strange, which will reportedly be released on July 8, 2016.
Perhaps the only franchise with a slight chance of catching Marvel is Star Wars, which currently sits in fifth place worldwide with $4.485 billion. Star Wars: Episode VII will kick off a new trilogy next December, with Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX following in 2017 and 2019, along with three spin-off movies. If each of these pulls in over $1 billion worldwide, and the Marvel universe inexplicably falters, there's an outside chance Star Wars could pass the MCU.