When the weekend domestic figures were announced by Disney late on Sunday Night, a few within the industry thought that perhaps the House of Mouse was juking the stats. $207.4m in a weekend? The Avengers assembled and with them a million invitations to write “Avengers' Hulk-Smashes Box Office Records” headlines. But just how has the Assemblage generated quite so much success? Loki below as we try and figure it out.
Five years of publicity from the post credits of Iron Man, a couple of films that devoted more than their fare share of the running time to setting up The Avengers, and the fanbase from four separate entities... curiosity alone meant The Avengers was never going to bomb. While Marvel characters have a little tongue in cheek compared to their DC rivals, the fact that The Avengers embraced the comic of the comics like no instalment before it helped keep it fresh enough to entice audiences not exactly blown away by Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk. You can imagine the bods in control of Justice League over at Warner Bros clusterfucking their way to greenlight the DC equivalent as quickly as humanly possibly. Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, etc.
Comic book movies have historically been pitched at teenage boys but the times they are still a-changing. Just 60% of the US audience for The Avengers' opening weekend were male and a staggering 55% were couples. Scarlett's butt might be a draw for the penis brigade but outside of Johansson's quizzical stare and quivering lips the sexy was all brought by the guys. Whether you like your men beardy and long haired (Thor), clean cut and clean shaven (Captain America), arrogant and vibrating (Iron Man) or sensitive and green (Hulk) there was something for every vagina.
Considering how protective Americans are over their own it's a little astonishing that the UK, Finland and even Mexico got The Avengers before the Yanks. Why? There's no definitive answer but conjecture throws up some possibilities with piracy being top of the list. With the majority of films pirated in the US, a Europe and Asia-led release will counteract this nefarious trade. Less piracy, more bums on seats. Another reason could be hype. Let the rest of the world wax lyrical about the strengths and virtues of your film on Twitter and ratchet up the cock-tease of wanting what everyone else has. Our final fantasy hypothesis would be marketing bankroll. Release your film globally, make a pretty penny and you'll have more to spend on advertising back home where the US is still far and away the largest single territory.
As always – when scrutinising critical and fanboy acclaim against cash money earned - we need to remember the fact that Alice In Wonderland made a billion dollars worldwide. And Alice In Wonderland was a piece of shit. Quality and box office success do not always go hand in hand. But it certainly helps. Avengees are returning time and time again to watch the superhero supergroup because it a) contains some of the best action ever committed to celluloid, b) has genuine characters worth rooting for and c) it's piss-your-stretchy purple pants funny. We can think of at least five moments where we missed the next joke because we were laughing so hard at the previous.
That's why we'll be back in line soon. That's why The Avengers will pass a billion by this time next week. That's why if we had a single penny to invest we'd give it Kevin Feige and anyone involved in bringing Avengers 2 to our screens.