With the ongoing pandemic still affecting the film industry, Scarlett Johansson’s first solo Marvel outing, Black Widow, has been delayed until November 2020. While we wait for one of ScarJo’s biggest films yet, now is the perfect time to look at her previous work, and see which of her films have made the most money – and just like Chris Hemsworth, there’s no prizes for guessing which film is at #1. As always, our box office statistics are from the-numbers.com, and we’re looking at worldwide, not domestic figures.
#10 – Lucy (2014)
First up is one of Scarlett Johansson’s most high-profile lead roles, starring in Luc Besson’s 2014 action romp Lucy. Here, she plays Lucy, a woman who acquires a drug that increases her brain capacity, giving her powers including telekinesis and the removal of her pain threshold. Pitted against Choi Min-sik’s Mr. Jang, Lucy was praised for its lead performance, but the concept was ripped apart. Nonetheless, it made a cool $457m at the worldwide box office – more than eleven times its production budget.
#9 – Iron Man 2 (2010)
The second entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Johansson’s first appearance in the super-franchise, here audiences were introduced to Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow, a S.H.I.E.L.D. spy tasked with tracking Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) as he is assessed for his suitability in the newly-formed Avengers initiative. While Johansson’s role was much smaller than it would go on to become, her action scenes were a stand-out in a pretty divisive sequel, which grossed $621m worldwide nonetheless.
#8 – Sing (2016)
A Universal animated family film, Johansson here plays Ash, a porcupine with a penchant for rock music, who is one of the opposing acts in the film’s titular singing competition. Here, Scarlett Johansson ranks alongside fellow A-listers such as Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, in a family caper that was well-received by audiences (with a sequel due next year) and did well at the box office, making an impressive $634m.
#7 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Considered by many to be one of the MCU’s most outstanding entries, The Winter Soldier takes place in a post-Avengers landscape where Natasha Romanoff’s former employer S.H.I.E.L.D. can no longer be trusted. Her chemistry with co-star Chris Evans really clicks in this spy-espionage thriller, which introduced the Russo Brothers to the MCU, paving the way for their work on Civil War and the most recent Avengers movies. Its critical reception was unheard of for an MCU at the time, and it did well financially, earning $714m worldwide.
#6 – The Jungle Book (2016)
The first of director Jon Favreau’s live-action Disney reboots, his re-imagining of the 1967 Disney classic had Scarlett Johansson playing the python Kaa, whose interactions with Mowgli form a key part of the story. Better-received than last year’s The Lion King, this film was seen as a welcome revival of the classic story, praised for its convincing CGI and motion-capture, while also grossing just under $1 billion, at $962m worldwide.
#5 – Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Another 2016 release, Johansson once again plays Black Widow, who this time is caught between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) as tensions arise between the Avengers over the superhero-monitoring Sokovia Accords. While considered a step down from The Winter Soldier, it was still widely praised by critics and fans alike for its interesting story, and the introduction of fan-favourite Marvel characters Black Panther and Spider-Man. This was where the MCU began to reach unprecedented heights, with Civil War earning $1.15bn worldwide.
#4 – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The much-anticipated sequel to 2012’s The Avengers, Age of Ultron saw the team reunite to battle the artificial intelligence Ultron, created by Iron Man and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). An entertaining watch that teased a romance between Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner, this was a solid, if slightly safe, MCU entry, which tore apart the box office nonetheless, grossing $1.39bn.
#3 – The Avengers (2012)
Beginning to see a trend?
Here, Black Widow played a crucial role in bringing the team together, with Natasha travelling to Kolkata, India to recruit Bruce Banner to the team, as their efforts to defeat Asgardian God of Mischief Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ramped up. Widely considered a game-changer in the superhero genre – and in cinema broadly, as the first sign of success for shared universes – The Avengers was a smash-hit with fans and grossed $1.51bn worldwide.
#2 – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This was where the MCU took off from this planet and reached a different level of stratospheric popularity. While Black Widow’s role in this film was minimal – mostly functioning as an asset to the rogue Captain America – Infinity War changed superhero filmmaking by proving how many characters could be used together in one coherent experience, and its Empire Strikes Back-inflected ending proved the Russo Brothers weren’t afraid to take bold creative decisions. A really enjoyable watch, this one grossed $2.04bn worldwide.
#1 – Avengers: Endgame (2019)
No surprise which film made #1 – this is the highest-grossing film of all-time, eclipsing both Titanic and Avatar to take the top spot, that will surely be hard to beat. Black Widow’s role was significantly increased in this planet-hopping, time-travelling caper, with audiences treated to a truly gripping superhero climax that completely dominated the cultural landscape for a long time after its enormous release. Grossing an astonishing $2.79bn worldwide, it will surely take a lot to top the financial feat that is Avengers: Endgame.
There you have it, Scarlett Johansson’s ten highest-grossing films so far. Do you think Black Widow will reach the same success as her previous work – once it is actually released? We’ll have to wait and see – thanks for reading!