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Marvel cinematic universe

The meaning of «marvel cinematic universe»

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films produced by Marvel Studios. The films are based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The franchise also includes television series, short films, digital series, and literature. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.

The first MCU film is Iron Man (2008), which began the films of Phase One culminating in the crossover film The Avengers (2012). Phase Two began with Iron Man 3 (2013) and concluded with Ant-Man (2015). Phase Three began with Captain America: Civil War (2016) and concluded with Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). The first three phases in the franchise are collectively known as "The Infinity Saga". The films of Phase Four began with Black Widow (2021).

Marvel Television expanded the universe to network television with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC in 2013, before further expanding to streaming television on Netflix and Hulu, and cable television on Freeform. They also produced the digital series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot. Marvel Studios began producing their own television series for streaming on Disney+, starting with WandaVision in 2021 as the beginning of Phase Four. The MCU also includes tie-in comics published by Marvel Comics, a series of direct-to-video short films called Marvel One-Shots, and a viral marketing campaign for the films featuring the faux news program WHIH Newsfront.

The franchise has been commercially successful and has generally received positive reviews. It has inspired other film and television studios to attempt to create similar shared universes with comic book character adaptations. The MCU has also inspired several themed attractions, an art exhibit, two television specials, guidebooks for each film, multiple tie-in video games, and commercials.

—Kevin Feige, President of Production for Marvel Studios, on constructing a shared film universe.[1]

By 2005, Marvel Entertainment had begun planning to produce its own films independently and distribute them through Paramount Pictures.[2] Previously, Marvel had co-produced several superhero films with Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinema and others, including a seven-year development deal with 20th Century Fox.[3] Marvel made relatively little profit from its licensing deals with other studios and wanted to get more money out of its films while maintaining artistic control of the projects and distribution.[4] Avi Arad, head of Marvel's film division, was pleased with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films at Sony Pictures, but was less pleased with others. As a result, Arad decided to form Marvel Studios, Hollywood's first major independent film studio since DreamWorks.[5]

Kevin Feige, Arad's second-in-command,[5] realized that unlike Spider-Man and the X-Men, whose film rights were licensed to Sony and Fox, respectively, Marvel still owned the rights to the core members of the Avengers. Feige, a self-described "fanboy", envisioned creating a shared universe, just as creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had done with their comic books in the early 1960s.[6] To raise capital, the studio secured funding from a seven-year, $525 million revolving credit facility with Merrill Lynch.[4] Marvel's plan was to release individual films for their main characters and then merge them in a crossover film.[7] Arad, who doubted the strategy yet insisted that it was his reputation that helped secure the initial financing, resigned the following year.[5][8]

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