Everyday trains pull out of the station, planes take off and land, ships sail from port and at the end of everyday people leave their cars in parking garages and walk to movie theaters, buy a box of popcorn and a drink and watch a movie. Some movies are low budget hits that grab awards on Oscar night, some are big budget flops that have their best shot at an award for most trash left on the floor in the theater, and then there is The Avengers.
I have been saying from day one that Avengers changed the face of movie making, and maybe how we look at movies as well. Where trains leave and pull into stations every day, all day long with little if any fanfare, Avengers exploded out of the station and one might imagine that people couldn't pull money from purses and wallets fast enough to get tickets, and many of them on more than just one outing. There is nothing about the movie that isn't perfect and people can't help but fall in love with the cast and shovel money into cash registers for more and more tickets.
So okay, in terms of dollars and cents, what is it that makes the Avengers a moneymaker like no other before.
Have you ever wondered what the cast of a movie does after a days work, or after they have finished work on a movie and are moving on to their next project? You would think they go home, have families, pack up and say goodbye to the people they have worked with and connect with members of the cast on their next film. This is not why you see so many pictures of the cast of the Avengers together on locations around the world at play when there is no connection whatever to work.
At the end, after the movie has ended and the credits have rolled there is the shawarma scene. Near the end of the film when Iron Man is down in the street and he says "after wards, lets get some shawarma", that was something he had written in to the script to replace something else that was said. Later, after the release of the movie in Europe the entire cast was contacted and told to get their gear and meet over at this restaurant in San Francisco and boom, they were eating shawarma and it was epic what happened, and the film was then added to the finished movie. I've eaten shawarma with a few of my Regulators mates and for some reason it works naturally just as it did in the movie, a lot of no-talk chewing and a feeling of closeness like a family. The food is that good, but you have to eat it with team mates to appreciate the moment.
Okay, but then you can go back to Robert Downy again when he got the huge payday contract and the rest of the cast was somewhat under paid and he went to Warner Brothers and brokered a deal that kept him at work in exchange for new contracts for his team mates. How many times do you read about something like that happening? Actors get contracts, get paid and go home with what they got and work toward better deals next time around, that is the nature of the business, that is until Iron man offered to bow out unless the rest of the Avengers got some real money for their efforts.
The bottom line is the cast managed to develop a special chemistry, a look, and a bond you don't see a lot of, particularly in team-up movies. Watchmen, for example, was your comic book hero offering form DC Comics and like Avengers, had six lead characters but you got numerous differences.
One huge difference was when Ozymandias, played by Matthew Goode, killed the Comedian, played by Edward Blake. Killing each other kind of ruins the whole bonding idea that the Avengers have going on even now. Then too, it is one of the members of the Watchmen team who ends up being the villain so you don't get that nice clean, wholesome stand together group that will fight to the death for the people of the Earth. With Watchmen, aside from a physical attraction by one or two male characters to Malin Ackerman's character, you don't even get the feeling that they like each other.
Then you have Fantastic Four two times and the first X-Men movies three times and you don't get that nice clean united team feeling in either of those movies either. Fantastic Four had too much of an unfocused amateur feel to it and X-Men had too much internal conflict that you could never resolve, and a rotation of characters in and out so you couldn't get attached to a real group.
At The Box Office
The true measure of success for a movie is always going to be the box office receipts. Awards are nice too, but in the end what people are going to look at when they argue what movie is the best all comes down to dollars and cents. The list of money makers is enormous, and there are some comic book hero movies that are among those that have made a lot of money, but when The Avengers opened what happened was phenomenal and the film immediately crushed previous records and Avengers were the center of attention. You couldn't get through a day without talk of what scenes were the best, what was your favorite, how incredible the effects were, and of course, how loveable the characters are. But now here is a question. How do some of the other movies stack up against Avengers.
In 1978 Warner Brothers hit the movie screen for the first time with a hero from a comic book, the all time king of the icons, Superman. Ticket prices back then averaged about $2.34 and the movie grossed $134,218,018.00. By comparison, Avengers grossed $623,357,910.00, but that was with an average ticket price of $8.12 so realistically, if you put that first Superman movie in a theater today it comes pretty close to Avengers, but ah, not quite.
In 1989 Warner Brothers unleashed the only icon that can match Superman with moviegoers and average ticket prices were now up to $3.00 and the movie made $251,188,924.00, which is pretty good, and then if you adjust the total to account for the difference in ticket prices the amount would look more like $511,191,500.00. That isn't so far off of Avengers but still, not quite in the ballpark. Oh sure, you can look at newer movies like The Dark Knight Rises or the other two movies from the Dark Knight trilogy and get a favorable comparison, or maybe Man of Steel, but not even the most legendary heroes of the comic book world can match the attraction of Avengers at the box office.
Superman and Batman, historic in longevity, iconic in terms of popularity, but not a team, and again, there is the whole chemistry thing. Lets not leave out that Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk are icons in their own right and instead of a Batman, or a Superman you get four characters of stature and two more who are not slouches if you know anything of comic book lore so multiply the attraction by six and you get a movie that is overwhelming.
It might be worth dragging the Green Lantern movie in for some consideration too, as special effects is important when you are making a movie about beings with super powers. The expectation for Green Lantern was big but the script went to far with what was included and the director chose to overload the movie with CGI graphic effects and the result was something that was stuffy and hard to digest.
Avengers on the other hand has to have a certain amount of effects to make a Hulk work on screen, and you have an armored suit that has to fly and a shield and hammer situation going on but what Marvel accomplished was more action without the effects overload and the result was dazzling. It is my gut feeling that moviegoers are now at a point where they can't get enough of the team oriented movie, and proof of that might be in the reaction to Guardians of The Galaxy and expectations for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the follow up to that movie, Justice League.
Avengers has given birth to, shall we say, a new genre of films that are team oriented and with the team oriented theme has raised the bar at the box office on what is considered a success and fans are ready to lineup for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron weeks ago. So can we honestly say that The Avengers first movie is now king and the measure by which movies will be judged from this point forward?
Please leave your comments and thoughts on the subject, and cast a vote in the poll if you are of a mind to and thanks for taking time out for a look at my thoughts on Avengers.